We're having fun finding some quirky European cars to create a more diverse selection of feature cars for the genuine hardcore Euroheads out there.
We hope you're enjoying them as much as we are, but strap yourself in because we've got some real oddballs coming out of Scandinavia in particular.
This month, it's the turn of Roger Fyhrlund's '85 Porsche 944. From the outset, it looks interesting with its bolder front-end and bigger wheels, but front-engined Porsches don't often create a trouser-tent in most Europhiles. However, Roger's 944 isn't your typical Porker. And that's because he's one of the Nordic nutters from Sweden.
Can you guess what makes Roger's 944 so different? Yup, it's got a 727hp five-cylinder Audi quattro engine. Of course it has...
This insane engineering feat was accomplished by the owner in what we'd like to imagine was a small igloo near the arctic circle. But it was actually built in his hometown of Jönköping, which is in the south of the country, near Gothenburg.
The 30 year-old has been a mechanic since leaving school, working first for VW/Audi, but now wrenches on Volvos. He's what you might call a gearhead, buying his first car two years before he could legally drive. It was a '67 Volvo Amazon with a roof chop. He bought it from a guy who lost interest, so the 16 year-old rebuilt the engine with his dad before painting it Kawasaki green.
Later projects included an '83 Ur-quattro he shortened to create a Sport quattro replica. It was followed by a '69 Ford Mustang, which was voted "Sweden's Hottest ride". Then came a 612hp '86 quattro and a '98 VW Golf with a multimedia sound system.
More recently, he sold a motorcycle to buy the Porsche. However, he can still try to kill himself in the Chevy-powered '73 Willys CJ5 he uses in offroad competitions, or the cross-cart with its Honda CR500 two-stroke engine he races on ice. So we've established he's certifiable...
And the madness continued with his latest project. It came about because he'd grown tired of the previous cars and sold them. "What I wanted was a project I could respect; a car I wouldn't dare take to its limits; something really wild that would test my knowledge and financial limits; a car that raised my testosterone after taking it for a spin. And I wanted it to cause some commotion on the forums as well," he told us.
Before he really knew where he was headed, Roger bought three five-cylinder quattro engines. "I had previous experience of the engine and knew I could get 750-800hp reliably," he explained. "So I bought three from a junkyard for $560 each. I sold one in parts to pay for the other two. I then built two identical engines, kept one and sold the other to a buddy to pay for the parts."
"Next I needed a home for the engine," Roger continued. "Initially, I considered the E30 BMW M3 but scrapped the idea when I discovered the Porsche 944's abilities.
"I have to admit I was one of the 944 hecklers before I saw the light. I thought it was more of a VW coupe than a true Porsche, but now I see the error of my ways."
He found a grey 944 with minor collision damage and 17" Cup wheels online for $3500. "It belonged to a good-looking woman from Gothenburg, so the car had good karma and I bought it!" he said.
At the end of '07, the Porker was taken to a garage Roger shares with four friends on a farm. Each has enough space for two cars, their own tools, and they share equipment such as a welder, drill, plasma cutter and sandblaster.
Having collected most of the parts needed for the project, Roger got stuck in. One of the first jobs was moving the firewall back 7" to accommodate the new motor. As the spec list shows, he replaced almost everything under the hood besides the block and crank, which were both extensively modified along the way. "The machining, balancing and weight adjustments were done by Nissafors Motorrenovering, while my buddy Figge from Husqvarna ported the head," he said. "The rest of the engine work was done by me. It took about a month to build the motor. I could have done it faster but had to wait for machining to be done.
"I'm most proud of the intake. It was my first experience TIG-welding and it was also the first intake I'd made. And it works just great, thank God..."
The exhaust manifold was also homemade, as was the electrical system, which Roger built from scratch before he installed a Nira i3+ engine management computer. He then did the basic mapping before taking the 944 to nearby maxxtuning.se to have it fully mapped on their dyno. "The first dyno session ended after an alternator strap broke and a pair of ignition coils weren't up to the job. I left there with 570hp and a very steep torque curve. Shortly after, I returned with better coils but we had to abort that session at 727hp at 2.1-bar (31psi) boost pressure because the map sensor was on the limit. The plan is to make a larger oilpan and replace the map sensor to reach 2.5-bar and perhaps see 800hp!" he said.
After the second session at maxxtuning.se, Roger selected his race map for E85 ethanol fuel and found that 727hp was "just amazing and darn scary!" He reported that the car leaves rubber at 120mph in fourth gear thanks to a massive kick in the butt from the torque when Roger hits the throttle.
Tuning the Audi motor was only half the task. He figured the Porsche transaxle wouldn't take the kind of power and decided the transmission from the Mk3 Toyota Supra would be a better choice because it has a reputation for being both affordable and very hard to break.
The Supra gearbox is mounted behind the engine, rather than in the back like the Porsche. So mounting it was the next hurdle, with the floorpan needing modification to fit the Supra tranny, rear axle and shortened driveshaft. He also beefed up the clutch and created a new slave cylinder using Saab parts.
With so much power, Roger needed to strengthen and stiffen the rear suspension but was faced with the original Porsche torsion bars setup that was both difficult and expensive to upgrade. So he chose to remove the torsion bars and relocate the axle so he could run coilover suspension all round.
The front and rear brakes use a combination of Porsche and Audi rotors with Brembo calipers; a pairing he used on previous racecars. "If they don't work on the track I'll consider changing them, but so far they operate fine," he confirmed.
With a set of 18" BMW wheels bought online and mounted on custom adapters, the Swede had to address hood clearance problems. He bought a hood skin, nose panel and front air inlets from Dr Plastic, before constructing a hood that was raised about 1".
"With a track day at Swedish Mantorp Park arriving, my garage buddy Fredrick and I decided to make a temporary steel hood. After a long evening we'd made the world's heaviest hood with a gigantic Camaro scoop and a flat black spraycan paint job. It was an ugly duckling, but it served the purpose," he laughed.
Thereafter, Roger fabricated a fiberglass hood, which sits between '89 944 Turbo front fenders and bumpers. The front bumper has a Gemballa lip and the foglights were replaced by the intake he'd acquired earlier. The trademark pop-up Porsche headlights were also discarded to provide more space, being replaced by "el cheapo, wallet-friendly, aftermarket headlights under plastic covers."
He also created his own Audi RS2-style mirrors and installed Volvo V70 door handles before the car was shot in a coat of Volvo black metallic paint.
With its exterior not giving big clues about what lurks beneath, Roger admits he likes to scare people: "I enjoy taking somebody for a spin who knows nothing about me or the car. Even the coolest guys scream when you leave rubber at 120mph. Somebody is bound to shit their shorts one day!" he laughed.
Like a proud father, he still looked back to the car's inception with fondness. "The most fun I had was after the second dyno session. Going home it was a "hallelujah" moment as the car spun its tires in all five gears. That moment made all the hours working on the car worthwhile!"
1985 Porsche 944
Owner: Roger Fyhrlund
Location: Jönköping, Sweden
Engine: '89 Audi 90 Coupe 2.3-liter five-cylinder 20v 7A block, bored to 2.35-liters with 83mm 9.2:1 JE pistons, CP-Service H-profile rods, polished crank with aluminum pulley, ARP bolts, CP-Service main cap girdle, '89 Audi 90 Coupe 7A aluminum head with machined waterways, water manifold from '91 Audi S2 3b engine, ported and Mira-cut valves with 0.5mm oversized stainless intake and natrium-cooled exhaust valves, 034 Motorsport valve springs, titanium retainers, '95 Audi RS2 steel head gasket, 258° Cat cams and cam gear, forged lower timing gear, custom aluminum oil pan and pickup, Lead Foot Racing aluminum intake manifold with 80mm throttle housing, 42.4mm steel extractor manifold, port-matched exhaust manifold and intake, Turbonetics GT-K650 turbo, custom 3.5" stainless downpipe with broad-band lambda, 3" stainless exhaust, H2O 44mm wastegate, Nuke-performance fuel rail with Bosch 1680cc injectors, dual Bosch 044 pumps in stainless catch can, Aeromotive A2000 fuel-lift pump, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, 12mm braided Teflon fuel hose with AN8 fittings, '01 Audi RS4 ignition coils on '89 Audi 7A valve cover, Nira i3+ engine management with exhaust temp sensor and Bosch engine sensors, '04 Volvo S60R load pressure valve. KL-racing 50mm dump valve, 4" intercooler, 30-row oil cooler with modified '91 Audi S2 3b oil thermostat, Griffin radiator with custom end-tanks and Audi 7A thermostat, 282mm sucking Spal fan, ice hockey puck engine mounts, Hydroscand vacuum hoses and fittings
Drivetrain: front-mounted '90 Mk3 Toyota Supra transmission with fabricated aluminum bellhousing, four-puck sintered-bronze clutch with Sachs reinforced 707 pressure plate, '95 Saab 9000 hydraulic clutch slave-cylinder, '89 Audi 7A lightened and balanced flywheel, custom driveshaft, '90 Toyota Supra rear axle with limited-slip diff, '88 BMW 750i driveshafts with adaptor plates to fit Supra axle, short shifter
Brakes: '99 Porsche 996 330mm front rotors, '95 Audi RS2 300mm rear rotors with Brembo four-piston calipers all round on custom adapters, stock '85 Porsche 944 e-brake system, Pagid Yellow pads, Wilwood bias bar and master cylinders on custom floor-mounted pedal assembly, Hydroscand lines
Suspension: Bilstein shocks in H&R front coilovers with 60mm H&R springs, torsion bar rear suspension replaced with Bilstein coilovers and H&R springs, aluminum top mounts with Sanden ball-joints, Delrin bushings, aluminum caster block, adjustable front and rear sway bars with Hirschman ball-joints, 11-point rollcage by Rolfstorp's Blacksmith Shop
Wheels & Tires: 18x9" front, 18x10.5" rear AH wheels with 35mm aluminum spacer/adapters for BMW 5x120 bolt pattern, 225/40 front, 265/35 R18 rear Pirelli P Zero tires
Exterior: '89 944 Turbo front fenders and bumpers, with foglights replaced by ducts, Gemballa front lip, '03 Volvo V70 door handles, budget headlights and plastic covers, lexan side windows, home-made fiberglass hood with Aerocatch latches, clear indicator lenses, custom fiberglass Audi RS2 mirrors, Volvo black metallic 452 paint
Interior: Momo Corsa seats on custom mounts, six-point Sandtler harnesses, OMP Corsica suede steering wheel on custom hub adapter, custom dash with temporary gauges, leather-wrapped door cards, removable aluminum transmission cover, battery relocated to trunk
Thanks: Fredrik, Jonas, Thomas at CP-Service, Markus Svensson, Fredrik Göransson at Black Valley Engineering, Figge, girlfriend Mia Gustafson