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THE COOL URBAN JUNGLE

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Tue, Jul 10, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

THE COOL URBAN JUNGLE

By JOHN GRAFMAN

This is nearly unbelievable. The needle on the speedo is sweeping along at an incredible pace. We're doing 80 in just second gear. Closer inspection reveals the truth. The gauges are in km/hour, which might just explain why we're doing 80.

Actually, what the gauges say has little impact on the feedback from my most trusted allies of all, the seat of my pants. This is indeed a treat for my posterior. Only a select few have graced the driver seat in this one-of-a-kind Volvo.

While the new C30 from Volvo has yet to grace the streets of this country, Heico has already taken the vehicle and massaged it into a sports car ready to take on the world. Nearly every aspect one would consider modifying has been addressed, and I have no complaints.

This particular vehicle, dubbed the Heico HS3 concept car from Heico Sportiv, is not only entertaining to look at, it's also is a complete blast to drive. This car was first seen at SEMA in 2006. But this is far from the first effort by the company. This European modifier has been around for over a decade. The involvement of the owners and their family has stretched back over four decades with Volvo. So when it comes to tuning one of the Volvo products, who else would one turn to?

Well this wasn't the only C30 car on the SEMA show stand back in 2006, yet it was the one ready to rumble. It's just taken about a half the year since then due to the show circuit obligations to get some seat time. This C30 by Heico is well worth the wait.

The show car was conceived as a blend of activity vehicle and a track vehicle. Burton snowboards partnered that with Heico on this project. This was conceived as a vehicle to bring the occupants and their gear to the slopes both stylishly and competently.

The development team was successful at adapting the electronic Haldex AWD system to the C30's electronic system. This allows for an added traction off-road and extra sporting capabilities on road. The tuners also managed to squeeze 300 horsepower out of the 2.5-liter T5 turbo engine (ordinarily it's just 215 horses). Featuring a ported and polished head, modified turbocharger, specially designed intercooler, electronic water injection, sport exhaust system, and custom ECU, this is squeezing gobs of power out of a relatively small motor. Watch out Evo and WRX!

Even with the tweaking, safety systems, traction control, and electronic safety features all function seamlessly on the new AWD system. Heico Sportiv knows Volvo! We notice a few idiot lights, suggesting the car has been modified. As this is still a one-off, I'm not too concerned.

A specially developed downpipe, race catalyst, sound pipe, and sport silencer with chrome exhaust tips allow better breathing, and an acceptable blend of sound ranging from a healthy murmur at idle to a decidedly race inducing tone.

Boosting off-road capability, the suspension was raised 30 mm for additional road clearance in snow and muck. On the plus size are the VOLUTION® V. 8X18" sport-alloy wheels. These are among some of the best combinations of style and function offering a robust five-spoke design that looks both strong and clean. The custom cut tires from Toyo are saved for the show circuit, but the standard fare Toyo rubber provides all the hold and feel needed.

The HEICO SPORTIV sport suspension kit, carbon fiber strut tower bar, and four-caliper high performance braking system (320 mm front rotors) allows the driver to make the very most of the motor.

The interior attire is awash in Lugano leather. The seats, door panel, headliner, and even the complete dash are wrapped in combinations of Alpha Gray and Sapphire Black, with silver stitching are quality touches that pushes the C30 up and out of the near-luxury field that it competes in.

The leather makes a statement, but the details that accent the interior make this more than just another tuner project car. Heico aluminum stylized pedals, shift knob, center console, handbrake, and door pins provide that something special, which is often overlooked. Additional functional mods include a center console that houses specially developed integrated cradles for Apple's iPOD Nano and the Motorola GPS-enabled "Q" phone. And when driving a car that can rip around turns, it's reassuring to know that the extra gear has a happy home.

The public at large will only notice all the goodies if they spend time with the car. However, as this sweeps quickly past most motorists in a moment, the average Joe will just barley catch a glimpse of the seven-stage "HEICO ICE" paint scheme. This is an extensive paint job that vinyl graphics can't match. A moment is all one needs. This spray job is eye candy at its best.

The results of the paint job are pretty flashy, and keeping a low profile around the police isn't exactly a science as much as it's an art. As a motorcycle officer gazed upon the car at a red signal light, there wasn't a whole lot we could do except smile. If I can read his mind and the smirk on his face, I guess he's thinking we aren't causing any trouble...yet.

Less obvious is the revised front and rear end simply, as there aren't any stock Volvo C30s on the street to compare this with. When there are, it'll be easy to see the larger grill openings up front for better ventilation of the brakes and cooling the motor. Housed inside are high-performance fog lamps for added illumination. The rear bumper styling-wise mimics the front. Rounding out the package are four HEICO sport tips on the high performance exhaust system (76 mm each) and specially designed side skirts and fender flares complement the fat rims.

Initially, the concept had snow in mind. This summer day seems to be about a good 50 degrees too hot for the white stuff, so we will reserve our powder power-slides for some other time. On the pavement the sub six second 0-60 times feel faster than the 5.8 Heico is stating. The car also feels screwed together well and ready for sale. When the Volvo C30 hits this country, Heico Sportiv will be ready - and I am sad to say, I think the police will be too.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Volvo's newest entry has performance enthusiasts waiting impatiently thanks to Heico Sportiv

Find out more at www.heicosportivna.com

SPECIFICATIONS

Price: TBD

Engine type: Volvo 2.5-liter five cylinder featuring a ported and polished head, modified turbocharger, specially designed intercooler, electronic water injection, sport exhaust system, and custom ECU

Drive configuration: Front engine / all-wheel drive

Suspension: HEICO SPORTIV sport suspension kit, carbon fiber strut tower bar

Wheels and tires: Front: VOLUTION® V. 8X18 sport-alloy wheels Rear: VOLUTION® V. 8X18 sport-alloy wheels

Brakes: Front: 320 mm front rotors, four-caliper high performance braking system Rear: rotor, four-caliper high performance braking system

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