[ARM] Automation RestoMod Chapter 20: A Dutchman in New York (FINALS!)


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What is ARM?


Volvo! Simon Warner, a 28 year old computer programmer from New York has an irrational love for the Swedish brand. Not only is his daily driver the rare CrossCountry version of the S60, he also has two classics, or at least future ones, in his collection. A 1979 242 GT, and a 1995 850 T5 wagon. Or, now he might actually have three…

Yes, Volvo got cold feet and never released the 480 (or another 400 series model for that matter) on the american market. Hence, getting one was a matter of importing one from Europe, and the cost of that in the end…well…he doesn’t really want to talk about it.

One of the reasons? The 480 is kind of a disappointment.

Yes. They love it on Turbobricks. They love it in the Radwood group on FB. But fact is, this car ain’t that fun after all. Yes, it is a curious oddball looking thing, but 95 hp in a hot hatch was a bit tragic already in 1987. It doesn’t really live up to its looks at all. Also, the car is getting kind of tired and he starts to understand why the Dutch Volvos have a worse reputation in Europe than the Swedish ones have.

Some people says that it would be a pity to cut up the 480 due to its rarity. But Simon is starting to see it in another way. He already have three “rare” Volvos in original condition. And all three of them were actually good cars for their era, while the 480 is a bit more mediocre. Besides, the rarity of the 480 mainly is relevant for the US market. In Europe, they still do exist. So, he is pretty sure at the moment. He wants to do something special with this little hatchback, but since fabrication and customizing aren’t really areas he is skilled at (he is not a bad mechanic though), he has decided that is a job better left for the professionals, instead of letting his rare import become a sheetmetal jigsaw puzzle he never will get back into shape again.

Are you the professional with the skills to make this the car of his dreams?

RULES (preliminary)

  • Clone both the imported model and engine family before you start modding. Nowadays this can all be done with one button of the Car Designer tab in Automation - the one circled red in the photo below.
  • Set all dates (model year, trim year, engine family/variant year) to 2020. It is highly recommended to exit the game and reopen it after cloning it and before updating the dates.
  • Maximum price (as shown in the Testing tab, Detail Stats section): $45,000
  • Maximum ET 145 (Trim and Engine)
  • No V16s or race parts (race intake, race tubular exhaust, semi-slicks).
  • This car was made in the pre-techpool era, and there (at 0) it should stay. It is 2020 anyway and everything is already unlocked. No positive TP allowed.
  • You must post an ad with at least 1 picture of your car on this thread.
  • Quality sliders should not be set above +4 or below -2.
  • Interiors aren’t mandatory but encouraged (see priorities for further info)


  • The general rule of ARM is to not make a car worse. Now, a very marginal drop in one single stat if it really bumps up the others will not instabin the car, so this is a very soft rule indeed, but still, try to avoid it at all costs.
  • 3 way cat (any kind) and at least one muffler is required.
  • Unleaded fuel, regular or premium
  • The car should still appear street legal and have all the major equipment needed for that (Of course, small details will not bin your car, but if you decide that “haha taillights bad”, or similar, it will)


  • Chassis tunnel size and firewall position can be changed freely.
  • Tyre thread width, tyre wall curve and tyre thread curve allowed in moderation (OK for adjustments, not to make the tyres look like something they are not, if you’re unsure, ask, this has worked in earlier challenges so it should probably do it now too)
  • A (+/-3) ride height adjustment is allowed
  • Everything else is banned (Preliminarily, open for discussion)


  • A-Pillar, B-Pillar, C-Pillar, sill and overhang morphs should stay untouched. Other morphs allowed.
    (Exception for convertible body: https://discourse.automationgame.com/t/arm-automation-restomod-chapter-20-a-dutchman-in-new-york-open/45214/15)
  • The only body variant change allowed is to the van or convertible version, since the other versions of this body is just too far off from a 480. Since the van conversion could be made just from welding the side windows shut, it will not occur any penalty. The convertible version (that somehow resembles the 480 convertible concept) will get the penalty for extensive body mods. See below and link above.
  • Using 3D/Patch/morphs (the legal ones) to make the car look like something it is not, like for example convertible (not recommended since we have a convertible body available) or pickup, is allowed, however, but will incur the same price penalty as other extensive body mods. See link above for special rules regarding convertible conversions.


  • Chassis type can not be changed
  • Chassis material can not be changed
  • Panel material swap will give a $1000 penalty
  • Changing engine orientation will give a $2500 penalty
  • Suspension type swap will give a $1000 penalty per axle
  • A complete engine swap will give a $2500 penalty
  • Only a cylinder head change will give a $1000 penalty (because the Renault F engine was after all available as a DOHC 16V too, so it seems realistic)
  • Patch/3D/Morphs that radically is altering the looks of the car will give a $2500 penalty (if you’re unsure, just ask)
  • Changing from FWD to RWD/AWD/4x4 will give a $3500 penalty. However, it will also give a $500 discount on engine orientation change.



This should almost be a no-brainer. Who wants an enthusiast car that has looks that makes you want to put a paper bag over your head to not be ashamed when driving it?


See, here is the elephant in the room. The 480 pretended to be sporty but it never was. Simon really wants the car to be worthy of the image it was trying to show off.

Using up the whole budget? Sure, but it better has to be worth it then. Getting the car to the US was expensive enough and the rational side of him says that he has already burned too much money on this dutch crackerbox…


Since it is more fun driving a slow car fast than a fast car slow, the sportiness stat will matter more than actual performance. Yet, it will be taken into consideration since the 480 was underpowered for what it was already as new.

The 480 wasn’t stellar here compared to the Swedish Volvos, getting a small improvement would not be too bad after all.

This is not going to be a daily driver, but fuel prices are on the rise even in the US after all. Being able to drive it as often as possible wouldn’t be too bad.

He wanted a sportier car. Not one that achieves its sportiness at the expense of trying to kill him all the time.

It is not a daily but he should be able to drive it without killing his back. Trailer queens aren’t his thing.

Do not un-Volvo the Volvo.

While he accepts that they will probably be a bit worse than stock, he still won’t accept if your engineering includes gold plated parts requiring special tools and disassembling the whole car to get to them.

ARM feels a bit off from the real world sometimes. And maybe creativity trumps dry realism here, but still…it is something worth having in mind before you decide to go too left-field.

Hint: If you can point out where the actual components are sourced from, and/or justify your engineering decisions, it might help in case the car is very much tinkered with.

An interior is not required. A shitty interior will not be a disadvantage compared to no interior at all, a good interior might get a small bonus.


  • Yes, the car uses mods. Honestly, since the game tells you which mods to download, I don’t see it as a problem anymore.
  • Unfortunately, I run Automation on a potato system. Try to keep that in mind before you’re overdetailing a car. I will judge the overall look rather than how impressive your detailwork is. I have tried to load some cars with extreme file sizes and it only results in a bugsplat. Try to keep file sizes down, I will try to take time to test-load cars before judging, so you will at least not get a bin without a chance to fix it.
  • This is my first time running ARM and I think that it was a quite advanced thing to set up, I am not sure the ruleset is good so if you find any flaws, I’ll just be thankful for your input.

Submission start: 25th of februari 2023, 6 PM CET (rules deliberation until that)
Submission deadline: 18th of march 2023, 6 PM CET
Set Car Model and Engine Family names to “ARM20 - [Your Forum Username Here]”
Send in the .car file via DM in the forums.
Also, you’re allowed to ask Simon three personal questions via DM. Vague questions might get vague answers so ask them wisely, no second chance here.

ARM20_-YOURNAMEHERE-PLEASECLONE-_Volvo_480_ES.car|attachment (35.6 KB)


Jä vil vill âka Volvo!
I was hoping for this when I saw you stepped up.

Can we get a bonus for putting an actual Volvo engine in it (at least for Authenticity)?

Can you allow some (+/-3) ride height adjustment for better STUK?

Engine + drivetrain swap is expensive, but that’s a feature, not a bug for ARM. Any combo discounts (engine + drivetrain, drivetrain + suspension (rear), engine + suspension (front))?

Edit: would fixture fender extensions be considered radical? (a slippery slope so best ask if in doubt I suppose)

Is changing the orientation of the engine (from transverse to longitudinal) an extra-cost option, and if so, by how much?

My guy…

1 Like

One area worth considering is what safety/entertainment options are legal. I have raised this before - going back in era and bumping the tier can be an improvement, even though it really shouldn’t be. Advanced 40s or 50s might give a higher stat than standard 70s, despite being the definition of un-Volvoing the Volvo (especially as far as tooltips go).

@Ludvig - That’s one thing I have been thinking about regarding engine swaps in ARM sometimes. Now, even though Volvo themselves called the engine the “B17”, it was actually sourced from Renault, which calls it the “F2N”. And as I wrote, since that actual engine is available as a 4V DOHC, changing the heads will be considered changing to another variation of the Renault F engine, hence the rebate. (Changing them to anything else than 4V DOHC might hurt authenticity stats).

But the thing is, if you do an engine swap, to me it feels like the authenticity is better if you have tried to replicate an actual engine. So if you can tell me that “this is a brand XXX type YYY” engine, I might keep it in mind, if it is at least somehow similar (not “this engine is from a Volvo 850” but the only thing they have in common is being 5 cylinders).

Now, keep in mind that your questions can be related to engine swaps, too… Our customer can have preferences regarding every part of the car, after all. :wink:

Ride height: That sounds sane, will probably implement that.

Discounts for changes related to each other in combination: I will think that over, some discounts might be sane.

Fixture fender extensions won’t (generally) be considered radical. You can probably break that rule too, if you somehow manage to make it look like something it is not by just using fender extensions, rather than just a widebody 480, well, I guess I don’t have to explain it further.

@abg7 - that’s already in the rules. This body does not allow for mid or rear configurations so the only change that can be done is changing from transverse to longitudinal anyway. Now when I think about it, it should probably have a small discount when it comes to an RWD swap where it has to be done.

@AMuteCrypt - Automation safety systems are flawed to say the least. Now, the car is currently at advanced 80s safety. Putting in an older advanced safety system is a case of making the car worse, which is considered a drawback. One test mule I did was done with standard 10s instead of advanced 80s and the safety turned out to be about equal. If anything, it punishes standard 10s unnecessarily much. So, I don’t think you really can cheese safety systems with this car.

Your points about entertainment is valid. A regulation considering that will not be too hard to implement IMO so it will probably come.


OK, here are my suggestions for the first rules update then…

Allowing (+/-3) ride height adjustment by advanced settings

Combo discounts: I can give a $500 discount for changing engine orientation if it is done at the same time as changing to RWD or 4x4 - for the obvious reason that it has to be done then. The 480 uses a McPherson/Solid coil setup, which works well together with all front engined setups (and mid/rear is not possible with this body, unfortunately) = no actual reason to give discounts there.

Ban 8 tracks, AM radios, phonographs and “none” entertainment. The car is currently at cassette, and if someone does not want to upgrade the entertainment to focus on other areas, well, keep the tape player then, just remember that I will not purely look into stats and that our client may find it cheap if certain systems aren’t improved…now, as a host I don’t want to give any unnecessary clues but you can probably think for yourself. :wink:

1 Like

Personally I think the entertainment ban is unnecessary. I’ve always been a big believer in natural selection being better than extra rules, and chances are that any car with such poor entertainment would wind up below the original on comfort anyways, which would likely be a near dealbreaker on its’ own and make the car wildly uncompetitive.


Well, you do have a point, we could as well ban carbs, crossply tyres etc. then. From building my LHC entry I seem to remember that a mediocre 8 track was a better choice for comfort than a better AM radio. :thinking: Keep in mind that I am new at hosting this so I take all your input into consideration, now I have heard argumentation from both sides regarding this question so I will probably not implement that rule…yet. I may do but I’ll leave some space for further input still.

So, fixed the ruleset by allowing ride height adjustment and giving a discount for engine orientation/drive type combination. Only around 22 hours left to complain now, so if you are interested in entering, read through the ruleset and give your input as quickly as possible, if necessary, before we start rolling. :sunglasses:

Since there has been a quite obvious lack of complaining, THIS ROUND IS OPEN!
Looking forward to see what it will bring… :sunglasses:

Reminder 1 now, with 2 weeks left. :slight_smile:

I know it’s a bit late to be suggesting rule changes, but I just noticed this while working on my entry.

So the thing is, there was a convertible 480 originally planned. Only a few concepts were made, but they do exist and match the body provided in game.

So would we be able to make a convertible using the in-game body, or do we have to do it with fixtures?

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Damn, this is all my fault I have to admit!

I thought I had double checked it all, I even had the 480 convertible in mind when I checked out the body tab, and somehow still managed to miss that there WAS a convertible version of this body. :confounded: I looked twice, saw no convertible and now, boom, it was there.

My thoughts about a compromise then:
I will PREFER if someone that wants to build a convertible uses the actual convertible body. That will occur the same penalty for extensive body modifications (not “free” like the van conversion).

However, since someone might have started on a convertible conversion by now, I can also see how that amount of styling work would be sad to throw away…

So… If you send in a convertible conversion of the hatchback, I will judge the styling from that one. However, to make things fair, I will in that case clone the car, swap the body for the convertible, and judge the stats from that one.

Though, if you haven’t started on a car by now, my recommendation is to NOT start convertible conversion work on the hatch, this is mostly in case someone already has started on one, I can’t really say “nope, bin, lol” all of a sudden.

Is that a compromise everyone is satisfied with? I haven’t gotten any convertible entries yet so I hope this won’t even be an actual problem, but since someone might have been working on a convertible conversion for a week now I can’t really change the rules too much either.


Since there has been no objections, and since we still have plenty of time left, I have decided on some rule updates.

  • PREFERABLE if you want to do a convertible conversion is to use the actual convertible body. If you are going to start on a convertible right now, do not, I repeat, do not start a conversion from the hatchback body.
  • Since we are still a week into the challenge, I will ALLOW conversions from hatchback to convertible, in case someone have started such a conversion. Hopefully, nobody has, but well…just in case.
  • To make things more fair, a convertible conversion on the hatchback will have its stats (not looks) judged from a clone where the body will be swapped out for the convertible type.
  • The body modifications penalty will occur if you change to the convertible body (van body is still free due to the small changes involved)
  • An exception to the regular rules: Convertible body might have its rear overhang morph shortened to be closer to the hetchback in overall length.

Sorry if this have caused any inconveniences…I really should have looked up things a bit better.


Hey @Knugcab - Keen to enter this one, as I have a soft spot for both volvos and cars that aren’t on everyone’s favourites list :stuck_out_tongue:

I did notice something however - cloning the car and changing all the dates to 2020 increases its weight from 1088 kg to 1423 kg. Were you aware if this & is there any way to get around this problem? It doesn’t make sense to me for a restoration to add ~340kg out of thin air :stuck_out_tongue:


Also, the design reminds me of my old Nissan Exa!


Yes, that is one of the compromises unfortunately. ARM model year is usually set to 2020 to allow for the newest tech - but it has its drawbacks, like you mentioned, weight. I guess the only thing to do is to accept that we are really stretching the reality a bit by doing something that the game was never intended for.


Volvo 480 ES-R

The fun, tossable car you always wanted it to be.

About the car

Finally, the 480 gets to be the car it always looked like it was. With an overhauled suspension and tires, our Volvo has a sharp, poised, and predictable handling setup that lets it pull 1g in a turn, with a perfect balance between oversteer and understeer. The engine’s also been overhauled and modernized with much better responsiveness and a boost in power, as well as drastic improvements in reliability and efficiency.

The exterior has stayed true to it’s boxy, 80’s origins, with a color and accents that communicate this car is something special without drawing too much attention to it. The interior also retains its distinctly 80’s look, incorporating trendy modern tech while retaining its classic 80’s look and feel, and sitting under a unique convertible top (in reference to the real 480 concept).

Contact us today, and let us turn the 480 you got into the 480 you wished it was.

-Generic Tuning Company With A Very Long Name That Isn’t Just Long Because I Can’t Be Bothered To Invent A Proper One Because Of Course Not Silly That Would Be Weird No This Is A Perfectly Normal And Professional Name For A Company To Have I Think It’s Basque Or Something But Don’t Quote Me On That Because I’m Not A Professional Linguist.

Any resemblance to previous works by our company is entirely coincidental.


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Specialists in modification, restoration and custom services for classic and collector vehicles

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We are excited to introduce our latest offering, the Volvo 480 T4, which is a complete overhaul of the Volvo 480 ES from the bare-metal up. The 480 T4 features a brand new Volvo 2L B4204T4 engine, a 6-speed manual transmission, electric LSD, ABS, and independent rear suspension, all of which elevates the car’s performance to a whole new level. Additionally, the 480 T4 boasts an updated body kit, giving the car a more modern and aggressive look that will appeal to those who are looking for a high-performance sports car with a unique style.

So, if you’re ready to take your driving experience to the next level, the Volvo 480 T4 upgrade package is the perfect solution.


A little less than a week left now.

I’ve got submissions from: