“Whoa, what is that thing?” is what you might be thinking right now. Don’t worry, we had the same reaction the first time we laid eyes on it. The shape is like nothing we’d ever seen before, and the only model designation is an emblem on the front that simply says “OLD”. It’s a completely unfamiliar animal – that is, until we realized that there’s a good ‘ole supercharged LSx poking out of the engine bay. It’s about then that we started to look beyond the beat up green paint, and realized just how awesome this “thing” really is.
Actually, this mean green machine is Roger Davis’ 1958 Volvo Duett. “I’ve always had non-traditional cars to some degree.” says Davis. “I started looking for a Volvo Sedan and found this wagon and thought it would be even more practical. They are actually a lot rarer, so that was an added bonus. I found it on eBay, and when it arrived on the semi, it was so hideous that I was seriously rethinking the whole idea.”
However, rather than giving up on the Volvo on the spot, Davis jumped into the project head first and started making the Volvo something very unique. The level of fabrication done to this thing is absolutely mind boggling. The front frame has a Heidts Mustang II front clip, and less than 3-feet of the stock frame remains in the middle of the car. The rear suspension is a triangulated 4-link that holds an Explorer 8.8 rear end with 3.73 gears and Moser axles, that Davis narrowed himself in his shop.
The custom fabrication on the Volvo doesn’t stop with the suspension. Davis channeled the entire car for an even more slammed stance with the airbags, and very little of the Volvo’s original floor remains. And of course, the looks just wouldn’t be complete without some fat rear tires, making it necessary to weld in rear tubs. The paint was left pretty much as it was when the Volvo first showed up at Davis’ house, but to complete the stance at set of Team 3 Gassers with Nitto tires were added to the front, and a pair of Ansen Sprints with 295-50-15 Mickey Thompson Sportsmans were fitted into the rear tubs.
Up front, Davis cut out the original firewall to fit the LSx mill and centered the engine as low as possible before welding up some custom motor mounts from round tubing. The engine is a 5.3L that Davis picked up from YatesEFI.com, along with all the necessary accessories to get it up and running. Davis even cut down the stock truck oil pan himself for better ground clearance. As for the performance modifications, Davis tells us, “The blower started off as a Magnacharger 2004 GTO kit. I dissembled and ported the blower and made a 1-inch spacer for the upper and lower intake manifolds I also changed the rear pulley to 1:1. It also has a little 230º cam in it.” Davis adds. “The transmission is a 4L60E that I installed a Vette servo and B&M shift kit into, with a 2800 stall lockup.”
The Volvo was tuned by Speed Inc . where it eventually made 484 horsepower and 540 pound-feet of torque at the rear wheels. The best time the Duett has managed at the drag strip thus far is an 11.2 at 123 MHP with a 2.1 60-foot. Davis is pretty sure that all it would take to get the Volvo in the 10’s is bolting on a set of slicks.
In a world overflowing with LS swapped muscle cars (even Mustangs) Davis’ Volvo Duett is something altogether different. You can call it “old”, and you can even call it “ugly” – but one thing this wagon could never be considered is “boring.”