THE internet is a wondrous place, full of wacky lolcats and all manner of crazy ideas. So when Editor Telfo told me how a pair of power-crazed Swedes had broken YouTube with footage of their bonkers Volvo Amazon powered by an Evinrude 300XP two-stroke marine V8, I was on the next bomber out of Radelaide in order to find out more.
Sweden is a long way from Australia, but it’s not as different as you’d expect. Sure, they drive on the wrong side (but only since 1967) and their metal bands are deranged, but they’ve got a thriving classic car scene and take pride in their local automotive products. Sound familiar?
And if you look closely at the YouTube footage, Sweden’s industrial back-blocks look no different to Padstow, Acacia Ridge, Dandenong or Lonsdale – wide, truck-friendly roads surrounded by tilt-up warehouses, with numerous parallel black lines tattooing the spacious asphalt. Especially if Henrik Söderlund and Morgan Gerdin have been conducting, er, ‘tests’ in their off-tap outboard motor-powered creation, aptly named ‘Rudezon’.
For Henrik and Morgan, their journey to install an Evinrude outboard V8 into a Volvo Amazon started in much the same way as many automotive modification projects. “It came to us when we were drunk,” Henrik explains. “I had the motor in my boat. It was in the garage for some service and tuning. I happened to park the boat with the engine hanging next to the Amazon, and a few beers later the picture cleared.”
That must have been quite a few beers, as the Evinrude outboard donk is normally installed vertically, while Volvo motors are normally installed, well, normally.
But despite the incongruent natures of the 300XP and the Amazon, both models have rich and storied histories.
Best suited to wide-open-throttle applications, the Evinrude 300XP was never intended for recreational use. Following its 1985 debut, it powered race boats to ridiculous speeds and still holds the world record, set back in 1989, for hustling the fastest-ever outboard power boat to a two-way average of 284km/h.
“The power band is still unknown; we have only revved it to 5200rpm so far,” he continues. “The pipes are tuned to 6500 and the rev limit is set to 8500, so there is a lot more power to come when we get the tuning done!”
Unlike the ballistic Evinrude motor, the traditionally styled Amazon – sold in Australia as the Volvo 120 range – was mainly famous for being built forever (from 1956 to 1970) and for being the first vehicle to be fitted with lap-sash seatbelts as standard. Not exactly super-exciting, then, but as Henrik explains, there’s not much actual Amazon left in Rudezon anyway.
“There is only 30kg of the original car – the roof and the rear fenders,” Henrik says. “The rest we fabricated. It is an SFI 25.4-certified chassis.”
I ask what sort of quarter-mile time they’re chasing, but the duo are cautious. “We try not to expect anything yet; we’re just happy that it works and spins the 33x10.5in slicks!” Henrik says.
One thing’s for sure, with only 684kg to hustle via a custom Powerglide and bulletproof Volvo/Dana four-link rear end, the Evinrude isn’t going to have to work too hard to get the old Volvo shifting.
“Hopefully we test it on the track in a few weeks,” Henrik says. “Front and doors fabrication is planned for the long, cold and dark Swedish winter. So next season maybe we can have something looking like a car!”
As I return home, I recall the boys’ passion for their project and smile. Even if Rudezon ain’t a record-breaker, it’s already one of the coolest things on the internet. And while it may look like a car by next season, that monstrous Evinrude V8 will ensure that it never, ever sounds like one.