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Car of the Month

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Car of the Month October 2006 belongs to Bart Bakke Clerens from Belgium.

... I know most of you aren't very keen on tuning, but I'll give it a try ...

My 480 story starts in early 1987. My dad worked as a technical engineer at Volvo Cars Belgium and had to test drive a lot of cars. One day he came home with a red 480 ES. Being only 6 years old, I already knew one day I had to own a car like that. Goldlocks is the second 480 I bought (in a current total of five 480's). Like Rome she wasn't build in a day. It took me 5 years to get her in her current condition, but I'm proud to say : I did it all my f*ckin' self !. From designing and manufacturing to the paintjob. When I bought her she was a complete wreck, but I managed to get her back on the streets.

At first I didn't intend to tune her. But as I opened a tuning shop together with friends and our tuning skills began to grow, I couldn't resist to make my own car my masterpiece. Most people have prejudices about tuners, and I do understand them. The main reason why we have such a bad name is because of all the Nova, Ibiza and Golf drivers with bodykits in basepaint, hard booming sounds and who don't give a f*ck about the road code. You must know that even among the real tuning community they aren't welcome because they give us also a bad name. We don't even consider them tuners but wannabees ...
From the start of the tuning project I had a few guidelines for myself, and I wasn't going to make any concessions. At first every change had to stay within the design lines of an original 480. Furthermore I only wanted to use original Volvo parts, I wasn't going to make any cheap solutions. And finally I wanted to do it all myself (with some help of friends. You know who you'all are. Thx!). And so I did.

So what has changed?

  • Rims : I always wanted the 850 T5 rims under the car, but as they doesn't exist for the 480 I had to search an alternative. I found my alternative in the 17 Massitaly President rims. They have the same looks and I painted them in an antracite grey to get them closer to the original T5 rims. The rims got covered with fresh 205/40/17 size Semperit Sportcontact tires.
  • Suspension : To improve suspension yellow Koni shocks were mounted together with -40mm Intrax lowering springs
  • Bodykit : The bodykit is the original Volvo 480 bodykit which I adapted to my own taste. The front got 4cm lowered, the rear got 18 cm lowered (still have to level the sideskirts). The entire body got covered with an Volvo Saffron Pearl paint (ref 438). White sidemarkers, white blinkers, white cornerlights, and new clearglas foglights were added. The antenna got removed.
  • Interiour : Lots of work has been put into the interiour. The original leather got changed with a 95 leather interiour, with the backseats having headrests. The doorpanels have been undone of all the textures, threated with polyester and resprayed in Volvo Titanium grey pearl (ref 455) to have it more suited to the Saffron gold exterieur. In addition to that, even the roof got done in Saffron Pearl. I changed the dials to white background and in front of em there is the Volvo Palmbeach steering wheel, mounted on a snapoff hub. It a nice steering wheel and together with the improved armrest with cupholder guaranties tons of joyful miles. While not driving it's always nice to watch a movie on the build in TFT monitor hooked up to a DVD player and a Sony Blackpanel with 10 cd changer. The sound comes from 2 16cm composets Caliber Kevlar front speakers in the front mounted in specially designed doorcards and 2 13 cm Caliber Kevlar compo sets in the rear trims. The composets are driven by a Caliber competition CA190 while the mean Caliber double coil CWX woofers in the back are hoocked up to a Caliber Competition CA510 ...
  • Engine : It isn't only show, there 's also a go. Starting with a full inox exhaust system with custom made twin muffler and a removed catalystor to have to turbo spinning up more quickly. At first I had the engine chipped by Rica. When I got it tested at a dynotest it popped 165 bhp out and a torque of 275 NM, but this was at 0,9 BAR. For the moment I even tweaked the turbo a little more to 1,1 bar so I think the current BHP should be around 170 -175 ... A dumpvalve was added to give her the sporty pssshht sound.

I've documented most of the changes I did on my personal photoserver. They can be seen at:
More pictures of the photoshoot at:
For those who are interested in putting the pics as desktop background : I also have them in very high quality (1600*1024), just give me a shoot if you would like em.

... and for the future

The future starts this winter when Im redoing some small cosmetic retouches and than she goes on a diet. All the mods made her to heavy, so Ill be recreating a lot of stuff (hood, bumpers, etc) in lightweight carbon fiber in the hope it'll all be finished by next spring.

Goldlocks at the moment of writing!

Bart Bakke Clerens, member 0566