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A funny and interesting reading, about the running of the 740 Turbo Wagon at SCCA. <IMG SRC="http://www.swedespeed.com/ubb/biggrin.gif"><P><B>Source:</B><BR>Rusz, Joe. “Yuppie Express.”<BR><I>Guide to the All-New Volvo 850 GLT</I> 1992: 19<P><B>Yuppie Express!</B><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>We were accustomed to all the insults. Good-natured jibes actually, that came from drivers, mechanics, course workers, and spectators who would ask us things like, “Got any Brie in there?” Or, “Where’s your Golden Retriever”? Or, “Did you forger your ‘Baby On Board’ sign?” On the Overton Racing Team, we took it all in stride. After all, wasn’t the Volvo 740 Turbo station wagon viewed as the quintessential form of Yuppie transport?<P>Of course, ridicule turned to awe when Jeff Alkazian, usually the team’s designated qualifier took to the course. As the track’s electronic timer equipment spit out incredibly low qualifying times, everyone wondered: Was it possible that this big white-and-blue whale of a wagon was faster than a Porsche 944, Pontiac Trans Am, Saleen Mustang, and Mazda RX-7? Indeed it was. In fact, Sports Car Club of America’s records show that in the 1986 Escort Endurance Championship, the Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon was the fastest qualifier in Showroom Stock B class, capturing the (class) pole in three out of six races. The wagon also broke the class track record in half of its races. Not bad for a 3100-pound family automobile best suited for hauling Yuppie kids to soccer practice-or the family Golden to the vet.<P>Turning a 740 Turbo wagon into a racing car was not what team owner John Overton expected when he approached Volvo Cars of North America with his racing plans. John, a Southern California mortgage banker who had formerly fielded a team of Mazda RX-7’s, was thinking of fielding the Turbo sedan. But Bob Austin, now the director of communications for VCNA, had other ideas. “We wanted the public to think that if a wagon was this fast, imagine what the sedan must be like,” said Austin. “Besides, we figured if we used a wagon, it really didn’t make any difference if it was fast, as long as it wasn’t a backmarker.”<P>Fitted with mandatory safety equipment (roll-cage, safety belts, fire extinguisher), racing shock absorbers and a well tuned, but fundamentally stock engine, the Yuppie Express, as I like to call the Volvo, was anything but a backmarker. As one of the guest drivers on the Overton Racing Team (along with fellow automotive scribe, Len Frank), my fondest memory is of the 24 hours of Mosport where our car, (co-driven by Canadians Jacques Bienvenue and Marc Dancose) started from the pole and dominated the race until it was sidelined by mechanical problems-as was a second wagon entered at this race.<P>But while they ran, the 740 Turbo wagons were impressive. And intimidating. They were fast, they were big. And on this circuit, with its long straight-aways and many fast turns, they were in their element. Their engines had plenty of power, once the turbocharger spooled up. And the wagons had a long wheelbase that not only made for stable handling, but for excellent high-speed aerodynamics. Throw on some very sticky Yokohama street tires, and you had a combination that left everything except Corvettes in the dust. But the law of physics and fate conspired against Overton Racing. “To make a real heavy car go real fast, you need a real lot of something, namely gasoline,” says Overton. So while the Volvos went like the wind, they also spent a lot of the time in the pits where it took the crew what seemed like an eternity to fill the wagons’ 16-gallon tank-using a service station-type filler nozzle required by SCCA.<P>Nor did fate smile kindly upon Overton Racing. During the lone wagon’s final pit stop in the 6-hour Escort enduro at Road Atlanta, the fuel-injection system vapor locked. While the crew worked frantically to remedy the problem, Overton, Alkazian, and Ron Cortez watched the race they had so convincingly led turn into a 9th place finish. And yet, in looking back on that season, Austin feels that this was a positive experience for Volvo. “It got us noticed,” he says. Each of us who drove the Volvos will never forget passing some very proper sports cars in (how’s that again?) a Turbo station wagon. It was enough to make us forget the insults.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>-Drew
 
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