Monday, 19 November 2012

Clio-powered 340

In the sphere of cheap, smallish, RWD trampdrifters, they don't come a lot more robust than the Volvo 340. What I particularly like about the recent enthusiasm for these sturdy little hatchbacks is that they were, almost without exception, originally bought by people with little or no interest in any kind of enthusiastic driving. I like to look at retro-styled, big-power 340s hurtling sideways around corners in plumes of tyresmoke, and imagine their original owners spotting such behaviour and making a double-take at the registration number: little old ladies, middle-aged parents, prissy school matrons, shocked at the behaviour of their supposedly sensible Swedish steed.
Now, the lesser-engined 340s came with a 1.4-litre Renault Clio engine. It logically follows, then, that the standard engine can be discarded and replaced with a more interesting Clio engine - the 1.8-litre 16v unit, say - which just bolts right in. And that's what's happened with the Volvo we see here - easy power, no fuss. Cheap car, ghetto engine swap, no pretensions, it's just a bit of fun. If he could get it a little closer to the ground, it'd be spot-on.
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