When a habit begins to cost money, it's called a hobbyNon-petrolheads will sometimes tend to look at people with an overwhelming passion for cars and label that passion as a kind of illness. And to some extent, I can agree with that point of view. And as with all illnesses, there has to be a point of origin. And for most of us, that point of origin tends to be our childhood. So I asked Daniel about how his interest in cars came to be.
I could see the whole picture painted from his very first sentence: "My father is a real petrolhead." That pretty much explains everything. As the story goes on, we learned that Daniel's dad had over 70 cars in just ten years when he was young. Naturally, Daniel found himself behind the wheel at a young age, when he was just 11. He managed to save up enough money over the next five years to buy his car at age 16.
The closer to the source, the clearer the waterSo it only made sense that his first car was going to be a 1977 Volvo 244. With him living in Sweden, he's owned several Volvos after that point in time, but he's also experienced various other brands such as BMW, Audi, Chevrolet, or Ford. One of the cars that he wishes he had kept to this day used to be a BMW M3 E46. I was curious to see what other major projects he had worked on before taking up the Meteor Interceptor.
And to my surprise, he has only done minor things to his previous cars, and the V12-powered Ford Crown Victoria is his first large-scale project. Talk about a brave move! Seeing the car, I immediately thought of the Y2K motorcycle, which is sort of a two-wheel equivalent, but Daniel assured me that he is more of a car guy and that he'd rather stick to four wheels instead. Then I kept thinking that he must have been a fighter-plane enthusiast or something along those lines.
If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enoughIt was then that the idea of a Meteor engine came to be, as the Meteor is the tank version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin aero unit. This idea led him to travel over to the neighboring country of Finland, where someone had bought 50 old surplus engines from the Swedish military. These engines are quite popular in tractor-pulling races, a less known form of racing invented by man.
I must admit that I've never done any research on tank engines up until I came across the Meteor Interceptor Ford Crown Victoria, so I wanted to get Daniel's thoughts on the whole thing. "Well in a way it is a great engine because it has 4 valves per cylinder, and it is made of aluminum. Since it was built for tanks, you could run it on almost any fuel. But the heads are not very good, the combustions chambers are very big and the valves are too small".
The best way to predict the future is to create itI then asked him what were the main issues he had encountered with the build, and I kind of expected his reply. "To be honest with you, everything with this build has been a challenge. Since everything has to be custom made I can’t point out anything more difficult than the other. But that is also why it has taken 5 years to come this far"
Five years in, but they're oh so close to having it run at its full potential! They expect it to be ready this fall or winter, and after they manage to find a dyno that's capable enough, they'll set out to locate an old airfield in Sweden to go for the 200 mph (321 kph) test. But Daniel seems to be dreaming about taking the car to Bonneville Speedweek, so with any luck, we might see it there.
I was curious to know what Daniel would do with the car after he's achieved everything he had set out to achieve. Even though he has never intended to build this project just to sell it afterward, he doesn't rule out the possibility of doing so if the resulting budget would allow him to develop something with an even bigger engine.
Don't think of the sky as being your limit; go even further than that. As we wait to see the car doing some fast runs, I'll leave you with some short videos that showcase the project's development so far.