The Many Lives of the Chevolvo

One of the things we encourage in our series is crazy body modifications to race cars. Maybe you turn a BMW E30 into The Homer, perhaps you want to race a “Ferrari” on a shoestring budget, or it’s possible that your dream is a Hardcastle & McCormick Coyote on a LeMons track. The team that started all this madness was The Flakes, who are based out of Grass Valley, California, and their LeMons career goes all the way back to the 2008 Altamont race. The Flakes are master paint-and-body guys, and they’ve put their Volvo 240 through four major Chevy-themed makeovers since that time. Let’s take a look at the highlights of The Flakes’ “Chevolvo.”


At Altamont ’08, the sixth race in LeMons history (we’ve had 133 races by now), The Flakes showed up with this. We think it was modeled after a late-50s Rambler, complete with whitewalls. Nobody had ever seen such a creation at a LeMons race before, and— though we didn’t realize it at the time— it began a revolution of wild-eyed racers wielding welders, body filler, spray foam, and backyard paint booths.


The Flakes’ “Ramblerolvo” still had the original Volvo B230 engine and automatic transmission at this point, so it wasn’t particularly fast at that race. But just look at it!


The following year, at the 2009 Arse Freeze-a-Palooza, the Flakes knocked everybody out with this upgrade to their Volvo’s sheet metal.


Now called the “Chevolvo,” the Flakes’ 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air was no longer recognizable as the stodgy Swede from Göteborg it once was. Check out those all-steel fins!


The Chevolvo really upped the ante for teams wanting to make a big impression on the most fanatical LeMons aficionados.


The ’57 Chevy was a pretty cool car, but The Flakes decided that Bob Falfa’s ’55 in “American Graffiti” was even cooler. So, they ditched the fins, added a hood scoop and black paint, and blew minds at the very first Sears Point LeMons race.


After that, we didn’t see much of The Flakes for a few years, but then they returned to LeMons for the 2013 Vodden the Hell Are We Doing race, with the ’55 Chevolvo upgraded to two-tone Bel Air status.


Metalflake paint, homemade bumpers, the works. Beautiful workmanship, and all done on a LeMons budget.


Then The Flakes must have gotten itchy Sawzall fingers, because they removed all the shoebox Chevy stuff and converted their car to this excellent “Mello Hellno” NASCAR racer for the Guinness-record-setting biggest endurance race in history.


By this time, they’d made it more of a proper Chevolvo by stuffing a small-block Chevrolet V8 into the Volvo’s roomy engine compartment.


What’s next for The Flakes? We don’t know, but we’re sure it will be spectacular.

Written by Judge Phil aka Murilee Martin.

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4 thoughts on “The Many Lives of the Chevolvo

  1. My dad owned volvos and volkswagens my entire young life. When i was 16 he had a volvo 910 wagon that had a n/a motor with a 4:10r/p. I used to show my friends it would do power stands.(the rear discs were not happy). I also found out that you could override the govener by topping it out and hitting the cruise control. I got it up to 120. And volvo does do some racing in Europe. Check out

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