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AClockworkGarage Dork
2/7/24 4:02 p.m.


People love to say their car is rare without thinking about what that actually means. Rare. Nobody wanted it when it was new either. 
I don't really know who this car was for. It's a Volvo hot hatch. Volvo owners don't really want a hot hatch and hot hatch buyers aren't really interested in Volvos. It's a car in search of a buyer. That buyer was me. Is me.

The C30 is a unicorn for weirdos.

This is less of a build thread and more of an ownership log. A continuation of the story of this machine, deposited in one place. The best place to start is the beginning.

July 1st, 2011. Ghent Belgum. Pearl rolled off the assembly line.
August 11th. Arrival in California, USA.
October 1st she was sold to her first owner. 

At this point I was working a minimum wage retail job at the hammer store and driving a 20 year old Buick. I was a fan of Volvos and would root for Andy Pilgrim and Randy Pobst whipping up on all the other touring cars in their K-PAX S60Rs.

After a year or so of watching these K-Pax added a pair of these little hatchbacks to compete in the Pirelli World Challenge.

Wow. What a cool thing. I wanted one, looked them up and realized I was poor. They just weren't for me.

Over the years I've checked in on them a few times. They were pretty thin on the ground and still in the $20k range. Continued frowning.

About 8 months ago I spotted one  for sale at a local stealership. They were asking for like $6k. Now I like you am constantly looking at car ads because I have a sickness, SWMBO often walks through the door and directly into my outstretched hand holding a cell phone.

"Look at this el Camino."

The response is usually an expression that says "how long do I have to look at this before you let me take my coat off?"

But when I showed her this little hatch she paused and said "Let's go look at it this weekend."

Short story long, we looked at a black 2008 2.0. It was a mess, like 150K overdue for a timing belt. lot's of broken and worn out parts. Just a huge mistake we weren't going to make. Despite all it's individual flaws, we both kinda loved it.

SWMBO started calling it Skugge after the Einar Selvik song of the same name. I liked it but it would really only work on a black or grey car.

I had recently gotten a hefty raise at work, and I've been working on building up my credit as we want to buy a house before the end of the decade. We decided we would find a black C30 and finance it. The search was on.


AClockworkGarage Dork
2/7/24 4:24 p.m.

Months passed. I learned more about the car, then found a black 2012 R-Design with the polestar tune at a Volvo dealer in Portland. $17k low miles. The logistics didn't work out and it sold before we could get there but it gave me the red mist. Not only did I want a C30, but now I wanted the top of the line. An R-Design Polestar. The search got harder. Took longer.

Then Thanksgiving weekend I found her. almost perfect. 2012 R-Design, Polestar, Sunroof Delete. but white.

Not Skugge then, but Kvitravn.

I spoke with the owner briefly and agreed to contact him after the busy holiday weekend. Then the ad disappeared. Another missed opportunity. 

About 3 weeks ago the ad popped up on facebonk again. Same car. I contacted the owner and immediately made arrangements to look at it. I work a weirs schedule, 4-10's overnights. I sleep during the day. The seller works 6 day weeks. We don't share a day off. Add to this the transaction needed to happen at my credit union to process the loan. Finding a time to make the sale was a real challenge. Finally I requested a monday off and just made it happen. I had to set up and process the loan before I had even seen the car so it became a true off the internet sight unseen purchase. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

I waited 2 months to bring her home, you've waited 2 posts. so here she is.


The colour is weird. Everytime I look at it it's different. It seems to pick up cues from it's surrounding. I've seen it silver, grey, white and even a pale gold. She's not Kvitravn, she is clearly Pearl.

iansane GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/7/24 4:32 p.m.

That's berkeleying snazzy. Congrats. I've always liked that car. I seem to recall some cross pollination with the focus RS? Or was that all internet conjecture?

AClockworkGarage Dork
2/7/24 4:49 p.m.

"I'm gonna keep this one stock" he says as he presses confirm order on the Elevate website.

The car came with Elevate's 3 inch stainless cat back (the box says 12 horsepower) and it's got a really good tone, not raspy a slight drone but I likes it. It's a crime to build a car with a Turbocharged inline-5 and then muffle the hell out of it. The catback is a good start.

I'll be adding a "cold air intake" (the box says 7 horsepower) There is some debate as to it's effectiveness as it draws air from between the radiator and the block, but it's going through a compressor and then an intercooler so I don't know how much that actually matters. My main reason is easier servicability and turbo noises.

I will update as things happen.

AClockworkGarage Dork
2/7/24 5:01 p.m.

In reply to iansane :

The 2nd gen Focus RS that we never got in the states.

AClockworkGarage Dork
2/7/24 5:14 p.m.

Me: I'm not going to race this one.

Also me:

dyintorace GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/7/24 5:38 p.m.

Such good looking cars! I owned a V50 T5 AWD for a minute and always felt like it and the C30 were both very attractive.

Your car looks like the coupe version of the V50 T5 AWD R-design.

rallyxPOS13 GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/7/24 8:01 p.m.

Awesome!   Is yours a 6 speed manual?

SWMBO had one in the same spec and color, and it was a great car!   I had to do a double take to make sure it wasn't the exact same one (but ours had a sunroof).  We called it the "Tepid Hatch", not quite hot hatch, but getting close.

I loved the way the R-Design handled, brakes were great, and that 5 cylinder had just enough growl to let you know it was different.   Only complaint is that it had the same turning radius as a container ship doing a U-turn in the Suez. 

barefootcyborg5000 UltimaDork
2/7/24 8:27 p.m.

Young gal in our old neighborhood had one of these in red. I always thought it looked great, and it's probably good that I have been unaware until now of the availability of the 5cyl turbo option. 

AClockworkGarage Dork
2/7/24 8:34 p.m.

In reply to rallyxPOS13 :

Fun fact. Before Jay was an overweight comedian he was an athlete. A good one too. He ran both cross-country and track & field. 800m relay, 800m, 1600m, 5k, 10k. He did them all. It was not uncommon for Jay to run 75 miles or more every week. So by age 25, Jay's knees had retired in protest.

It's been over 15 years since I've driven a manual car and I do not miss it for a second. The C30 seems to have a pretty good box, I haven't messed with the manual mode as they are generally pretty gimicky.

There's something to be said for putting both hands on the wheel, looking forward out the windshield, and focusing on where you're putting the car.

Slippery GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/7/24 9:11 p.m.

Car looks great!

I saw one while on a trip and, even with tiny winter wheels, it looked awesome. The fender flares completely transform the car:

TurboFource HalfDork
2/7/24 9:20 p.m.

I am not a Volvo guy, but every time I see one of these I think "I could own one of those "!

Manual_Trans New Reader
2/7/24 10:22 p.m.

I've always liked the looks of those, but wished they had come with more power and/or AWD. Even without, they're pretty cool little cars. I hope you have fun with it. 

DarkMonohue GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/7/24 11:41 p.m.

Those are very neat little cars. Im eager to see what you get up to with this one.

As far as shared DNA goes, I believe there is some platform commonality with the Focus as well as the Mazda 3 and 5.

untchabl HalfDork
2/8/24 3:00 a.m.

Very nice, I had a black C30 for awhile and liked it quite a bit. But my automotive ADD kicked in and it moved along to make room for my next "fix".

Sonic UberDork
2/8/24 7:49 a.m.

In reply to DarkMonohue :

There is a lot.  For example I have a Volvo V40 fuel tank in my Mazda3, which bolted in and gave 10% more capacity.   A Mazdaspeed3 aftermarket rear sway bay would bolt onto the C30 and help wake it up. 

bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/8/24 9:11 a.m.

They are nice cars. I had a 2011 one that looked like this: 

I put a Mazdaspeed RSB on it and it was a super fun city car. My issue with it was the brakes. I had a ton of issues with the brakes being super soft and it never seemed to get fixed. The pedal went to the floor on me more than once and gave me 0 confidence in the system. It was still under warranty. 

RandolphCarter Reader
2/8/24 1:25 p.m.

(Fires up the extended mix of 'Lyfjaberg')



AClockworkGarage Dork
2/8/24 10:06 p.m.

In reply to RandolphCarter :

Thumbs up if you were already a fan, two thumbs up if you discovered them because of me.

In terms of what we're doing here she's mostly going to be my daily. 6 miles through the city on the way into work, six miles on an empty highway on the way home. Just something sporty-ish and nice I can drive so the camaro can start getting serious mods.

She got her first mod today. 

Not gonna tell SWMBO, we'll see if she notices.

Got an appointment tomorrow at the local Vulva dealer. Jusg gonna have them do the 135k scheduled service, and give the car a once over. It's an entirely new platform to me, best to let a professional give it a once over and let me know exactly where I stand.

Once we know where it's at It'll probably get wheels and tires and a few Autocrosses just to get me familiar with its handling closer to the limit. Come May I might send it up Maryhill-Loops. I've been wanting to do that for years, and the camaro has just been too sketchy.

One problem I need to address sooner than later is the tint. The hatch and quarter windows have factory tinting and look great. The side windows have some kind of film that is rippling.

Like trying to drive with Vaseline on your glasses. So I pretty much have to roll them down at every turn.

An easy enough fix. Just a heat gun, scraper, and window cleaner, but I'm gonna wait until it warms up some. I take a heat gun to a 40 degree window it's liable to explode.



AClockworkGarage Dork
2/10/24 12:57 p.m.

Back from the dealer and she has been given a clean bill of health. So... that's exciting.

RandolphCarter Reader
2/10/24 2:20 p.m.

In reply to AClockworkGarage :

Was already a fan, so only one thumb.


AClockworkGarage Dork
2/11/24 12:21 p.m.

ThE bOx SaId 12 HoRsEpOwEr.

The greatest folley of this car is installing a turbo inline-5, then muffling the hell out of it. So I picked up the Elevate "cold air intake" kit. I put quotes around that because I'm fairly sure this is going to draw in warmer air than the stock box. But the main advantage appears to be getting all the crap out of the way of the oil filter, making service much easier.

5 days in and I'm prepping for surgery.

Having never worked on a P1 before I wasn't too sure what to expect.

Look at all that room for activities!

The new intake went in relatively free of trouble. attaching the silicone adapter to the turbo itself was a bit of a pain with the larger pipe in place but asside from that I only bled a little.

Looks good though. The box should have read: Turbo noises. Not overpowering but you can hear the turbine spooling up around 2000 rpm. The wastegate still feeds back into the exhaust so it doesn't have the annoying ricer "look-at-me" Pssssht!

All in all I like it.

This is probably the only 'performance' mod this car will get. I don't find the performance lacking with the Polestar tune and the stainless cat-back.

There may be some cosmetic, handling, and quality of life mods in the future but for now, I'm just going to let it do what it do.

AClockworkGarage Dork
2/13/24 4:53 p.m.

Are you ready for an exciting update?

Me too! I wish I had one for you.

This might be the nicest car I've ever owned. It's a lot easier to keep a nice car nice than it is to make a lousy car nice. This is the carpet as delivered.

Gah... that's oof.

Those mats look like trash. they don't really fit. They may be keeping the carpet clean but they also make the interior look like lousy. I ordered a set of Weathertech mats to try out. They arrived today.

That is an improvement. I did discover a bit of a problem.

My nipples are gone.

That hole there should have a plastic stud sticking out of it. these are what hold the floormats in place. I found a set on IPD for like $9 and ordered them. No problem.

They install from under the carpet. Which means the seats have to come out and the carpet has to come up, so... that's fun.

Now onto the performance updates. The intake didn't seem to make a noticable difference. I figured out why. I didn't finish the install.

I forgot the stickers.


AClockworkGarage Dork
2/22/24 12:49 a.m.

Everyone gaze upon my nipples of the future.

These are the carpet studs. the post just slips up from the bottom and the round part just snaps down over the top of it. Simple.


You just have to strip the whole interior first...

It's going to be raining this weekend and we are in full gotta-make-8-full-cosplays-for-the-convention-next-weekend mode, so not sure what kind of work I'll really have time to get in this weekend.

My seat rail bracket arrived from Aussieland so my fire-putter-outter is ready to go in.

I also took a trip to the local auto parts bonanza and picked up some Fog light bulbs, since one is burned out and I always replace lights in pairs.

I also got some chromed signal bulbs from a dubious brand. I figure it's been 12 years, it's about time somebody popped these yolks. Don't know what that means? Don't worry, I'll write a whole post about it when I actually get around to doing it.

Is it intetesting enough for a full post?

No. Probably not.

Am I going to do it anyway?

You bet I will.

metty Reader
2/22/24 10:25 a.m.

i lol'd at nipples

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