Friday flashback: Volvo in 1985

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Earlier this week Volvo announced that it’ll be entering the World Touring Car Championship next season with two Polestar S60s. “Motor sport does not conform with our brand,” marketing director Alan Visser said at the end of last year. Well, like it or not, Volvo has sporadically been a force in touring car racing for decades.

Volvo might not have as illustrious a record in touring cars as, say, BMW or Ford, but it has a number of successes to its name. Even now, it’s racing with distinction in two different series, the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship and V8 Supercars. Current Volvo ace Thed Björk has won three consecutive STCC titles while 22-year-old Scott McLaughlin has belied his age with some incredible performances down under. Then there’s the Rickard Rydell-led BTCC years in the ’90s…

But today we’ll be looking at the 1985 European Touring Car Championship. The factory Volvos were run that season by Eggenberger, which is these days more famous for its Klaus Ludwig/Steve Soper/Klaus Niedzwiedz/Pierre Dieudonné-pedalled Sierra RS500s in the latter half of the decade.

During the season Volvo got in hot water with the FIA. Required to build 500 of its 240 Turbos to satisfy Group A homologation rules, the company complied, only to strip 477 of them (the cars not being inspected…) and sell them in the USA. Some fudging was required, but in the end the FIA seemed satisfied.

Volvo drivers Gianfranco Brancatelli and Thomas Lindström shared the title after a season-long battle with Tom Walkinshaw‘s Rovers and Schnitzer’s BMWs. Annoyingly, the only decent video we could find on YouTube from that year is of a race in which Schnitzer took a 1-2, but as it’s the Spa 24 Hours we can’t complain.

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