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Polestar Performance Prototype Presages Volvo On PCP?

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On: Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 2:35PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Polestar Performance Prototype Presages Volvo On PCP?

If you thought "Nova"—which Spanish-speakers could read as "no va" or "doesn't go"—was an interesting unintended translation, wait until Volvo finds out what the acronym for its proposed “performance division” means here in the U.S.A.

Yes, if what many (other) sources are saying is true, Polestar wants future performance Volvos to “get wet” on the “sherm”, as the proposed “Performance Concept Prototype” badges will naturally be abbreviated to read “PCP.”

Yes, the fastest Volvos will wear logos that recall what 60 Minutes and People magazine called the “number one” drug problem in the United States in 1978. I’m not sure why the beloved—by me at least—Swedish automaker is apparently dropping its perfectly-good “R” appellation, but as “crack cocaine” and “methamphetamine” were taken, I can see why they landed on the name they did.

So far this news has mostly been carried on sites like those of What Car?, and they’re on the other side of the Atlantic. I find it hard to believe, however, that nobody over there has heard of Phencyclidine, the boring clinical name for what I prefer to call “fry stick,” “toe tag” or “dipper.”

It’s actually appropriate—a bit—as Wikipedia says that among its many effects, PCP may “induce feelings of strength, power, and invulnerability.” And as any fan of Mercedes-Benzes “AMG” and BMW’s “M” performance divisions knows, that’s EXACTLY the image they’re trying to get across.

But while those Germans are using horsepower and bodywork to do it, Volvo has recognized it’s going to take something stronger to set its supercars apart and to transform “boxy but good” into “may cause loss of ego boundaries and euphoria.”

Alright, I’ll admit it; because the V50 has been euthanized, the last “proper” Volvo performance model possible—a super-tuned station wagon—has perished. Sure, the C30 harks back to the P1800ES “sports wagon,” but we all know that it’s the immortal 240 model that helped Volvo earn its bones in the public psyche.

Regardless, I—as a true Volvo enthusiast—encourage any development of anything that widens the marque’s audience. And Polestar, a racing concern that fields Volvo C30s in the World Touring Car Championship, has certainly done that.

They've also gotten into the hot street-Volvo production game, with “prototype” super-Volvos like the blue C30 you see here, plus hop-up packages for other models, including the S60 sedan and XC60 SUV in “R-Design” trim.

Recently rumors have surfaced that the Polestar C30 will actually see production, though only 500 would be built and none of them are America-bound. Would a 400 horsepower, all-wheel drive superguppy C30 be successful here against cars like BMW’s M3 (especially at the same MSRP)?

Either way, I’m willing to bet that the “PCP” name won’t live to wind up on the rumps of Volvos, selling-point or no. After all, if your car can cause drivers to report an “out-of-body experience where they feel detached from reality”, you’ll at least have a lock on the long-commute-bound-driver’s market…


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