Autocult gets into off-road rally racing with its impressive Volvo

29 March 2022
Autocult Volvo C-303 'Paris-Dakar' 1983
Autocult gets into off-road rally racing with its impressive Volvo Images

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Anyone who used a car in the gruelling Paris to Dakar long-distance rally raid that had not been produced in three years must have been quite convinced of its reliability and quality. In the end this 'old' Volvo truck won its class - making for nothing less than a sporting sensation. This is exactly what happened to the Volvo factory team in the 1983 event, the fifth running of this now legendary race.

The basis of the sporting success was the Volvo Type C-303 – an all-wheel-drive, two-axle vehicle from the C-300 family, whose origins dated back to the late 1960s. Series production began in 1974 and ended in 1980, after the Volvo factory had produced nearly 8,000 units.

On January 20th, 1983, the worldwide press agencies reported that the Swedish Volvo factory team, with driver Hasse Henriksson, co-driver Sture Bernharsson, and mechanic John Granäng, finished first  on the Paris-Dakar in the “light trucks up to 10 tons” class. Overall, the trio took 20th place and among all participating trucks, they ranked second. Back then, this result could not be overestimated, simply because the fifth edition of the long-distance rally through the African continent passed the almost endless and dreaded Ténéré Desert for the first time.

The winning car was technically very close to the series production that had ended three years earlier. The Volvo mechanics only added an 80 gallon fuel tank, a roll bar that was welded to the outside of the body, and additional headlights. The engine was modified to operate on low octane gasoline and additional instruments were added to the cockpit – there were no more additional changes.

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This truly magnificent performance demands an equally impressive model and, with AutoCult of course, this was always going to be the case. A true winner that really commands attention.