We Asked For It
In "Shut Up!" et 6/06, you challenged readers who drive cars like the S40, 9-3 and C230 to send photos of their vehicles to prove there are more than a handful of readers who own these models. As an avid supporter, tuner and enthusiast in the small but active Volvo S40 community, I've decided to do just that, along with a brief summary of its amazing transformation - it's gone from what you described as a "safe, pretentious, baby-on-board, boring and predictable" ride to a high horsepower, 16psi, ultra-tuned and solid USACi World Champion sound quality car.
The selection of the Volvo S40 seemed an odd choice for a diehard... (there now followed a 700-word ramble that we'll save you from - Ed) ... being an audiophile I purchased MB Quart speakers and subs and put together a "nice" sound system. The following spring I entered a USACi car audio event and won a trophy. Over the next six months my little S40 went through four complete audio systems, installed by me. Each system was more elaborate and by the end of the season my S40 had the reputation as the car to beat. People started seeking my advice on how to tune their audio systems. It won seven events that year, including NOPI's Sport Compact and Mini-Truck nationals and earned a place at the World Championships in Kansas City.
The trip to Kansas proved to be a fun and exciting experience. After two days of competition my '01 Volvo won the World Championship. Throughout the season there had been over 1000 competitors in my class but the design of my S40 and the right equipment tuned the right way won the day.
I then joined a small group of S40 enthusiasts on s40concepts.net who helped me complete "the total package" by tuning my S40 to dominate the street. Over the next year I installed everything from new wheels and suspension to ported and polished manifolds, a larger Mitsubishi 14T turbocharger at 16psi, ECU, intake and exhaust, etc.
With upgrades in both sound and performance, I feel I have a well-rounded Euro that's evolved over several years into what it is today. My S40 has made amazing strides and any tuner would be proud. The S40 community is small but strong, and we've learned together how to unleash the potential of the Swedish compact that almost everybody ignores.
Tracy Richard Atkins
Well, I suppose we asked for it. We only have ourselves to blame!