Home ยป Matti Jaatinen: Building The Dream Rally Volvo 242

Matti Jaatinen: Building The Dream Rally Volvo 242

Building The Dream Rally Volvo 242

It goes without saying:

If you dream big, you must create it.

Today’s guest is Matti Jaatinen and we will get the story behind his dream build Rally Volvo 242.

The Story

My name is Matti Jaatinen. I’m 32 years old. I got into motorsport at a very young age. I am actually following my father’s footsteps, he is a famous Finnish rally driver from the 1960’s to 1970’s era and he drove a Saab 96 V4. When I was a young boy, I used to read all the car magazines that I could find and watched rally films every day, thinking that one day I’m going to be a rally driver. My first car was a little ”lokari jeep” and I drove it every day from early morning till late in the evening. Little by little, I started driving real cars. I remember having my first real car when I was only 8 years old, it was a VW Beetle 1303s. I have also driven several field cars. When I turned 16, I bought my first rally car! ๐Ÿ™‚

My first rally car was a group A Lada Samara 1600cc. I drove it at rally sprints all over Finland from year 2001 to 2003. Everything was fixed under my father’s supervision. That car taught me a lot about rally car building and driving. I still remember my father’s quote:

If you learn to drive this car fast, you can drive anything fast.

It was a horrible car to drive!! My first rally competition was the 2003 Arctic Lapland Rally. I drove with the same car, Lada. I thought it would be easy to drive at my first actual rally competition with the car I was used to, and it would not matter even if total the car. The race ended well and I was second in my group and 4th in the b-juniors.

I sold my Lada in 2004 because it was time to move to the next level. I didn’t have much money, but I really wanted a better car. I bought a new group-n Nissan Almera 2.0 GTI (ex Rauli Stigell). Stigell and his group built the car, but he never raced with it. Nissan is very easy car to control and nice to drive with, but the gearbox is delicate and it used to break all the time. Motor output is only 180-190hp and the car is quite heavy. I tried to drive in the Finnish Youth Championship season but never got good results. I did win smaller rallies and junior group many times with that car.

2010, I sold my Nissan and started my own transport company. I was earning more than ever so I started to build a F-group Opel Astra GSI 16v. I knew it did not have enough power, good supsension and strong transmission. I rebuilt the motor using the best parts available increased it to 240hp output. Then I bought the best race transmission, well, at least the best Reiger chassis. I raced with my Opel from 2010 till 2015, 30 competitions more or less. I drove the F-cup season 2011 and got many group podiums.

When did you start the Volvo 242 build?

In 2014, my good friend Olli Lavikainen let me test drive his Volvo 242 at Saukkolan ek. I could not believe the torque and grip of the car. That very moment, I decided to build my own rally Volvo. I put my Opel for sale and it was sold on day 1. ๐Ÿ™‚ My friend’s friend hooked me up with guy who was building a Volvo 242. I bought the car with my good family friend, Martti Sarasto, owner of Sara Tuote Oy.

Video from OP Marttila Rallisprint 2017

What has been done and why, how long did the build take?

I spent the next 2 years looking for parts and building my dream Volvo. I got a powerful motor from SK-autoengineer, Sellholm gearbox and Bilstein suspension from Sweden. I finished my Volvo project in 2016.

MOTOR: B23 2300cc 8valve NA motor,

Cylinder race piston 96,5mm,

Cylinder head model 405 by Kallonen 46/38mm ss steel valve,

Enem camshaft, dcoe 50mm weber carburetors, 215hp/260nm

GEARBOX: 4-speed Sellholm historic model

Chassis: Bilstein yellow (only front MacPherson)

Brakes: Volvo orginal 4 piston disk brake front and 2 piston rear

Limited slip differential and 4.88 final drive

How did it feel to drive it for the first time?

Nice but different at the same time. Because it’s rear wheel drive :D.

Video from Hankiralli 2017

How has it evolved since? Anything you are doing to it now?

I must drive it more to answer that, but asphalt spec suspension will make it better.

Your favorite thing about your car?

The torque and grip.

Tell about the team helping you?

My team (Jaatinen motorsport) includes 2-3 servicemen, 2 co-drivers, and several sponsors. My longest time sponsor has been Sara Tuote Oy. They are assisting with my racing career all the time and the company’s boss Martti Sarasto has driven Volvo once himself. Additionally, for Season, my sponsors include:

Tyre Fix Finland Oy

Uudenmaan kolarikorjaamo

Nummelan Kaakelikeskus

JMR work



Napapiirin Autohuolto

Last year, I participated in the season of 7 rally sprints and won 4 of them. I finished second 2 times and once 3rd. All of these events were driven on asphalt.

2017, my first time in a snow event and that was at OP-Marttila rally sprint. Everything went as planned I made it to the podium. I was 9 seconds faster than the car behind me.

My first rally with the Volvo was the recent Hankiralli (4.3 2017), I was participating in a rally after a break of over 4 years. I drover the initial stages extra carefully, but the next stages, I caught up to pace and actually got best times in my group for the last stages. In the final result, I was 4th overall and 2nd in my group.

Photo Credits: VERXING

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