ONE BAD BRICK

ZAK DEN­MAN TAKES US TO SCHOOL FOR A LES­SON IN HOW TO BUILD A BADASS VOLVO

NZ Performance Car - - Contents -

We will be the first to ad­mit we know f***k all about the Volvo plat­form, and un­til we saw Zak Den­man’s 240 es­tate be­ing thrown around, we really had no idea you could do such a thing to the Swedish brick, nor — if we’re bru­tally hon­est — did we see why any­one would ever bother to. But when you have grown up around a cer­tain man­u­fac­turer then you’ll see things in those cars that oth­ers sim­ply can’t, so for Zak, who grew up rid­ing in the back seat of the ‘world’s safest fam­ily car’, mod­i­fy­ing a Volvo was never an odd thought.

Zak has owned and mod­i­fied a few ex­am­ples over the years, and this es­tate was pur­chased to use as his daily driver, while he built up a 240 sedan. A set of ag­gres­sive 15x10-inch Di­a­mond Rac­ing wheels with a good dose of low had the wagon look­ing good straight off the bat, but it was a year later that the project really started to go off-course down that all-too-fa­mil­iar spi­ralling path.

The very un­der­pow­ered Volvo lump was re­moved in favour of a built SR20. Thanks to the SR’s very sim­i­lar di­men­sions to the Volvo en­gine, the con­ver­sion was rather easy to achieve, al­though the real is­sues would sur­face a few years later when Zak de­cided to go all out on the project while he had no li­cence, com­mit­ting the es­tate to a path that would make it a ded­i­cated track car.

The plan in­cluded go­ing much lower, much wider, weld­ing in a cage and re­mov­ing any weight that wasn’t needed. The fact the SR sat so far for­ward had al­ways both­ered Zak, so ad­dress­ing that was added to the list, un­til the re­quire­ment for

new mounts prompted him to step up his game and drop a 1JZ-GTE in there in­stead. The same rules ap­plied for the 1J as they did the SR — keep it as far back as pos­si­ble and re­tain a full-sized wet sump. So­lu­tion, notch the fire­wall, gear­box tun­nel and cross­mem­ber. While they were at it, the front rad sup­port was re­moved and re­placed with a tube struc­ture for ease of re­pair should the un­think­able hap­pen.

As you would sus­pect, there aren’t a whole lot of offthe-shelf drift bolt-ons for any Volvo chas­sis, so when it came to achiev­ing that all-im­por­tant low stance, cus­tom was the only way to go. Coilovers were pieced to­gether us­ing Saab 900 shocks and HSD springs, top hats and plat­forms. The cross­mem­ber was raised 50mm, and both the steer­ing and LCA pickup points were moved. The rack has also been raised, and due to the ex­tended LCAs, longer Land Rover tie rods were used. Thank­fully there are a few off-the-shelf parts avail­able out of the States from a com­pany known as Kapl­henke. Zak was able to pick up a set of its quick-steer­ing stub axles, which al­low for steer­ing pickup ad­just­ments, while also act­ing like a drop axle. The com­bi­na­tion al­lows near par­al­lel arms at a ground-scrap­ing 10mm ride height.

On an untested, un­con­ven­tional ve­hi­cle like this, get­ting things like spring rates and sway bars per­fect straight off the bat will al­ways be a bit of a gam­ble. Af­ter a few changes Zak has set­tled on 12kg front springs, with a com­bi­na­tion of 10kg springs and a 30mm sway bar on the rear. “It has taken a while to get it set up, but now it really just goes where you want it to, with plenty of lock, and very smooth through tran­si­tions,” Zak ex­plained to NZPC.

The 1JZ isn’t overly mod­i­fied, al­though the KKK twin­turbo up­grade has net­ted close to 300kW at the wheels. That’s plenty of power to have the car do­ing its thing at events like the Queens­land Mat­suri, an event that has sort

Zak de­cided not to go through the com­plex­i­ties of a sin­gle turbo con­ver­sion, so a Blitz twin-turbo kit was sourced, with a pair of KKK K26 tur­bos. The kit also in­cludes twin Blitz waste­gates

of be­come the de­but for each of the Volvo’s trans­for­ma­tions over the years, and saw a huge push lead­ing up to the 2013 event. Af­ter a string of late nights, the car was tuned the night be­fore and a few teething is­sues like a seized waste­gate sur­faced. But Zak pushed on and got it to the track, man­ag­ing to sneak in a few laps on the Sun­day with­out power steer­ing and with­out an align­ment. “Sun­day woke up with a killer han­gover, but the guys talked me into try­ing to get it out there. We bled brakes and chucked in the har­ness and I went out … the car felt awesome to drive with the ex­tra power, and even though I had no power steer­ing it felt so rad. I did blow third straight away though, I knew it was go­ing to hap­pen even­tu­ally, but was hop­ing for at least a few track days out of it.”

The next year saw a ton of teething is­sues sorted, all of which had arisen at the 2013 Mat­suri, in­clud­ing re­build­ing the waste­gates and tur­bos and re­plac­ing the R154 with a bet­tergeared R155 from a later-model Hilux. Work con­tin­ued in or­der to per­fect things ahead of the 2014 Mat­suri, only this time the car made it there in a much more ready state, and look­ing a whole lot more badass thanks to the aero Zak had been chip­ping away at. This in­cluded a later-model Volvo 850 front bar, side skirts with cus­tom ex­ten­sions, a rear dif­fuser, large bolt-on flares and a shaved boot. Add in the chrome graph­ics and su­per-con­cave Su­per­lite wheels, and you have a recipe for an in­ter­net-break­ing Volvo.

Af­ter years with the build Zak has now de­cided it’s time to move on to new chal­lenges, and has parted out the run­ning gear and stashed the shell away for a rainy day. “I have stripped all the run­ning gear, fuel sys­tem, and ECU from it and it will go away in stor­age for a couple of years. I did plan on sell­ing it, but I think I would al­ways re­gret it. This way I can do other things and come back to it down the track for an­other re­build/rein­car­na­tion of it.”

Look­ing at it now, the mind bog­gles as to what Zak will dream up next. We do know he has some new wheels and mas­sive Katayama flares sit­ting there, but we doubt that is all he has planned. We just hope it’s not too long un­til the build kicks off again, as the drift world needs more out-of-the-box think­ing like this.

There is just so much de­tail we can’t cover off in this ar­ti­cle, so if you want to see more of this ma­chine, jump onto Zak’s blog, streetkar­nage. com, to check it out

040

POWER

290kW (389hp) tuned by Next Up Per­for­mance

SHOES WHEELS: (F) 15x10-inch Per­for­mance Wheels Su­per­lites (-26) (R) 15x10-inch Per­for­mance Wheels Su­per­lites TYRES: (F) 195/50R15 Fed­eral 595 RSR (R) 195/50R15 sup­plied by Gas Wheels and Tyres

EX­TE­RIOR PAINT: Fac­tory Volvo bright red EN­HANCE­MENTS: Fi­bre­glass over­fend­ers, raised front and rear guards, fi­bre­glass rear dif­fuser, cus­tom side pods, fi­bre­glass sideskirts, 180SX car­bon fi­bre bon­net vent, fender mir­rors, Volvo 850 lower bumper and valance, E-code head­lights, shaved tail­gate deleted trims, poly­car­bon­ate rear win­dow, red tail lights, color-coded bumpers, cus­tom chrome graph­ics de­signed by Zak and ap­plied by Stickit Wraps

The dash was taken from a Toy­ota Soarer, of all things

IN­TE­RIOR SEATS: (F) Racetech RT1000, Sa­belt har­ness STEER­ING WHEEL: 15-inch Mooneyes red metal flake IN­STRU­MEN­TA­TION: A’PEXi temp gauge, Adap­tronic Vidi­gauge EX­TRA: Gut­ted doors, fully stripped, Fab­u­lous Fab­ri­ca­tion gus­seted chro­moly roll cage, win­dow nets, Toy­ota Soarer Z30 dash, Pow­ered By Lash cus­tom steer­ing col­umn

HEART EN­GINE: Toy­ota 1JZ, 2500cc, six cylin­der BLOCK: Stock HEAD: Stock IN­TAKE: Twin K&N fil­ters, Fab­u­lous Fab­ri­ca­tion in­ter­cooler pip­ing, Cal­sonic GT-R in­ter­cooler EX­HAUST: Dual two-inch dump pipes into three-inch sys­tem, sin­gle muf­fler TURBO: Blitz twin high-mount turbo kit, two KKK K26 (larger rear com­pres­sor wheels), Blitz high-mount cast man­i­folds, braided oil-feed lines WASTE­GATE: Dual Blitz ex­ter­nal waste­gates BOV: GReddy type FV FUEL: E85 fuel, 40-litre pol­ished fuel cell, VL Com­modore lift pump, dual 044 Bosch main pumps, Aero­mo­tive FPR with gauge, BPP fuel rail kit, 1600cc Bosch in­jec­tors, Af­ter­mar­ket In­dus­tries two-litre surge tank with twin pump bracket, Five Ten Au­to­mo­tive AN fit­tings and braided lines, cus­tom hard­lines IG­NI­TION: Fac­tory 1JZ-GTE ECU: Adap­tronic E420c COOL­ING: PWR oil cooler, Peter­son oil fil­ter re­lo­ca­tor, Five Ten Au­to­mo­tive AN fit­tings and braided lines, Al­loy ra­di­a­tor, dual elec­tric fans, 65-de­gree ther­mo­stat EX­TRA: A’PEXi AVCR, full re­wire, End­less Fab­ri­ca­tion tube front end, shaved en­gine bay, open wheel tubs

DRIVE GEAR­BOX: Toy­ota Hilux R155 five-speed, R154 bell­hous­ing CLUTCH: NPC ce­ramic-puck clutch plate and heavy-duty pres­sure plate FLY­WHEEL: Ma­chined fly­wheel, ARP bolts DIFF: Locked fac­tory Volvo

SUP­PORT STRUTS: (F) HSD cus­tom coilovers, 12kg springs, short­ened Saab 900 shocks, Kapl­henke QSRC drop knuck­les, Land Rover tie rods, Su­perpro bushes, 40mm ex­tended LCAs, raised power steer­ing and LCA pick­ups on sub­frame, 50mm raised cross­mem­ber, short­ened col­umn (R) Sum­mit coilover spring and ad­juster, shorted Sum­mit shocks, cus­tom 30mm rear sway bar BRAKES: Wil­wood pedal box, mod­i­fied ca­ble hand­brake (F) Fac­tory (R) Fac­tory With a such a square body shape, get­ting a body kit that suited the wagon was a real strug­gle. But we think Zak has man­aged to find that sweet spot thanks to the su­per low, ex­tra-wide side skirts and fender flares which help the rounded 850 front bar all fit in to­gether on the very square body

DRIVER PRO­FILE DRIVER/OWNER: Zak Den­man AGE: 27 LO­CA­TION: Queens­land, Aus­tralia OC­CU­PA­TION: Ar­chi­tec­tural drafts­man BUILD TIME: Two years LENGTH OF OWN­ER­SHIP: Six years THANKS: Over this build I have had so much help, I can’t list ev­ery­body, but I have been lucky enough to have some of best guys around put their skills into this car: Fab­u­lous Fab­ri­ca­tions, Stickit Wraps, Five Ten Au­to­mo­tive, Next Up Per­for­mance, End­less Fab­ri­ca­tions, and too many oth­ers to list, but I would just like to thank ev­ery­body who has done any­thing for me and this car along the way and last but not least my DAD for ev­ery­thing!

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