RAUK motor och sport AB

In 1956, on the island of Gotland, outside the Swedish east coast, Rune Andersson was running a small auto repair shop. Only three years old, his Volvo Duett panel van was a total writeoff when a three fell over it. However, with the ladder chassis underneath in almost mint condition, he thought that junking it would be a waste. Inspired by the Chevrolet Corvette, he got the idea to build a fibreglass sports car body for the chassis. One of the reasons was that he teamed up with long time friend boat builder Urban Karlsson, which already hade experiences with the fairly med material. The car was named the “RAUK”, both a short for “Rune Andersson and Urban Karlsson” and the name of the specially shaped rocks on Gotland.

Since numerous people asked if the car was for sale he got an idea. Five chassis were ordered brand new from Volvo, the bodies were built at the boat factory while the chassis were modified and engines tuned at Rune’s shop. The empty chassis then were driven to the boat factory for the final assembly. The five cars were named the RAUK PM1 (Produktionsklar Modell 1) and was somewhat different and more refined than the prototype.

(To be continued…)

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1956

The pre-production model, a simple design compared to the PM1, and still utilizing many Volvo parts like the steel wheels, lights and door handles/locks, though the grille was taken from a De Soto Firedome. The Volvo B4B engine was bored from 1414 to 1432 cc (oversize pistons) and with a milled head, tubular headers, hotter cam and dual carbs the power output grew from 44 hp to 66. Hardly any neck breaking performance, it sprinted from 0-100 in 17.5 seconds and could reach 150 km/h - after all, it was a home built sports car based on an used panel van chassis. But it was a start. The 3 speed Volvo gearbox were by no means “sporty” either, so it really had its limitations.


The pre-production car was in personal use by Rune Andersson until 1983, when he built up a replica of the car for driving himself, and donated the original to the factory museum.

(OOC: It is a five fixture wonder because it is meant to look like one)

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There are traces of C1 Corvette, 300SL and Austin-Healey in the very first RAUK, but for the most part, this is a Swedish sports car through and through, as proven by its use of the humble mechanicals of a Volvo van. Nevertheless, its creators did their best with those underpinnings, which made this prototype a promising start indeed to this specialist car company.

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Yes. My idea was that the first “home built” version should be inspired by some of the most interesting sports cars at the time. The idea from the beginning was just to rebody the almost new Volvo Duett into something fun instead of wrecking it. However, when they decided to produce a small series of cars, the inspiration from other cars had to be toned down a bit to not look like a copycat, even if the body molds of course were reused. As I said, more history will come. :slight_smile:

1957

Five examples were built of the RAUK PM1. The base for all of them were brand new Volvo 445 ladder chassis, the same base as the Volvo 445 Duett that was used for the underpinnings of the original RAUK, since Volvo still sold bare chassis with just a front end for coachbuilding purpouses in 1957. The front sheetmetal from all of them was unbolted and sold to a collision repair shop. The body used the exact same molds as the original, but cosmetically there was a lot of changes.


The De Soto grille on the first car was a way of trying to mimic the Corvette. However, it was not an alternative for the production cars. First of all, it was hard to find. Second, the Corvette might have been what inspired to the original RAUK, but the production car was not supposed to be a Corvette wannabe. Third, they were afraid that Chrysler Corporation would not like the use of their grille on another manufacturers car.

Since the chassis were MY 1957, they came with the new for the year grille. It turned out to be suitable for the PM1. Since they were still registered as Volvo 445 chassis with a special body, it was officially a Volvo in the papers. And Volvo did not object the use, after all, they had recently cancelled their failed, and very similar, P1900 project and didn’t fear any competition here.

Also used from the Volvo front end was, like on the first car, the headlights. But also the MY 1957 only Lucas indicators, now mounted inside custom made stainless tubular bumpers, that replaced the Volvo bumper horns that was the only “bumpers” on the original car.


Also new for 1957 was the B16 engine that replaced the old B4B unit, though basically a development from its older brother. Once again, it was hopped up. The original power output of 60 hp rose to 88 hp, due to oversize pistons enlarging the engine to 1616 cc instead of 1583, a milled head with a very good port and valve job, hotter camshaft, dual carbs and a tubular header. That improved the performance to a top speed of 176 km/h and a 0-100 time of 13.4 seconds. The 3-speed “H6” transmission that came with the chassis was replaced by the new 4-speed “M4” that was optional equipment from the all new Volvo Amazon.

Another changes made to the PM1:
Windshield washer
Electric wipers instead of vacuum operated
Wire wheels instead of the Volvo steelies.
Door and trunk locks from the Volvo Amazon with pushbuttons instead of the Duett twist handles
A much improved dashboard with better instrumentation
Wood steering wheel instead of the banjo style Volvo steering wheel
Inside rear view mirror mounted on dashboard
Dual 1957 Volvo 444 taillights instead of the single Duett taillights (that were twisted 90 degrees)
Dual exhausts
Popup gas cap on top of rear fender instead of the Duett filler door in front of the rear wheel.

The picture is of the first car, owned by Urban Karlsson until his tragic death in 1970 when it was donated to the factory museum. The other four cars went to private customers.

(OOC: The amount of Volvo parts will shrink as time goes by, they were just a good way to start this story but I don’t like to mix IRL and Automationverse TOO much.)

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1958
It became quite clear, however, that there was some limitations in basing a sports car on a light commercial vehicle chassis. Also, lowering the weight was a priority since they more or less had reached what could be cranked out of a Volvo B16 engine without sacrificing reliability too much.


Since a smaller car meant less weight, a chassis built up from scratch shortened the wheelbase from the 260 cm (*) of the Volvo Duett to 233 cm, meaning that a new body had to be fabricated. Also, in the harsh scandinavian climate, a fixed roof was deemed more suitable than an open top. All those modifications meant that molds had to be done for a new body. It could be say that the PM2 was a completely different animal than its PM1 predecessor in most ways.


It still used a lot of Volvo components though. The engine and gearbox were still the B16/M4 combo from the PM1, and the new chassis used axles from the Volvo Amazon instead of the Duett, meaning that there was still a double wishbone/solid axle setup, but the front suspension was utilizing balljoints instead of the old fashioned kingpin suspension of the Duett, and the rear axle was sprung with coils instead of leaf springs. However, a rear anti sway bar was fitted, as were an extra front anti sway bar, and the suspension was fine tuned as far as they could get, since it was some problems with the tameness of this car. For the late 50s, the cornering ability was great, but pushed to the limit it could change between over- and understeer in a manner that could surprise an unexperienced driver.

The top speed was still 176 km/h but now it accelerated to 100 in 11.8 seconds, meaning that 1.5 seconds were cut from the times of its predecessor. A low weight of 823.5 kilograms and an almost perfect weight distribution with 51% up front made the car fun to drive.

The testing of the prototype went very well and it could be put into production relatively early. 15 examples were built in 1958, still in the handcrafted and very time-consuming way as the PM1, it was looking like the sports car manufacturing could have a brighter future than they first expected, and were looking for new ways to improve the effiency of the production.

(*)=264 cm in game but whatever

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1959
RAUK kept producing the PM2 model virtually unchanged for the 1959 model year. But in many other ways it was an important year in the company history.

Rune Andersson closed his auto repair shop since he saw a bright future for the RAUK brand. This was more or less the official start for the company since “Anderssons bilverkstad” did no longer exist, and “RAUK motor och sport AB”, was officially founded instead. The old repair shop now was fully utilized for mounting the cars. However, “Urban Karlsson båtbyggeri AB” was still the official manufacturer of the bodies, but they were only molded there now and sent to RAUK, where all the final assembly now was done. This allowed for a more rational production.

The design of the PM3 was started at the beginning of the year. The influence of Urban Karlsson was strong at this time, and as a boat builder he did not completely believe in the horsepower wars that was going on at the time. A boat that didn’t have the correct shape and construction would not work well no matter how big engine you would put on it, and that would probably be as true for a car too. The decision to keep the PM2 mechanics was done, and the main focus had to be to make the car lighter and more aerodynamic than the PM2. A test mule is finished in april, but catches fire already in may and is completely burned, delaying some of the work with the PM3.

In october, the flaws in the new production system has been worked out meaning that it bumps up. That causes a temporary stock of unsold cars in november, but at the end of the year, contracts are signed to distribute Rauks in the rest of europe.

New test mules for the PM3 are being built up and test drives continues at the end of the year with greater success than the last time.

75 examples of the PM2 were built in 1959.

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1960


The PM2 went through some minimal changes for 1960. The “V” from the 1957 Volvo Duett that indicated “Volvo power” above the grille was removed, and the “Rauk”-lettering now sat inside the grille. The three fender vents was replaced with two that had a shape that was inspired by a delta winged jetfighter, a tribute to the J35 “Draken” that now was put into duty in the Swedish airforce.


The side exit exhaust was a detail that had recieved some criticism and it now was replaced with a centre mounted exhaust hidden under the bumper.

Troubles with some subcontractors means that there was a little dip in production between february and may.

PM3 prototypes were being tested with good results and in august this photo leaked to Trafikjournalen from a visitor on Gotland that wondered what he really saw on the road late one evening.

Rune Andersson confirmed for the magazine that there really was something new in the making, but that it should keep most of the technology from the PM2, and that the PM2 was not going out of production anytime soon.

At the end of the year “Urban Karlsson båtbyggeri AB” became a part of RAUK, now called “RAUK marin”, still a manufacturer of boats and bodies for the RAUK cars, and would become somewhat successful in boat racing the years to come even if that is a completely different story.

81 examples of the PM2 were built in 1960.

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1961


Simple changes were done to the PM2. The most noticeable were that the whitewalls now disappeared, another one the different wheels. Most of the work went into finishing the PM3 for production.

There were now sales channels etablished so you could buy a RAUK basically everywhere in western europe, but US and asian markets were still years away.

90 examples of the PM2 were built in 1961.

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1962


The most interesting news for 1962 was of course the new PM3. The weight was lowered to 775 kg, compared to 827 kg for its predecessor, and the drag was a little bit lower, so the goals for the new model were achieved. Unfortunately, the near perfect weight distribution from its predecessor was not as good in the PM3. Technically it was only a light evolution compared to the PM2.


It was still built on a ladder chassis and still used suspension and driveline from the Volvo Amazon. In 1962 Volvo had introduced their all new B18 redblock engine with 5 main bearings, that replaced the old B16 with its roots in the B4B from the early 1940s. However, they were not able to supply RAUK with engines for 1962, meaning that they soldiered on with the B16 for one more year. Some tweaking and a pair of DCOE carbs raised the power output from 88 to 95 hp. The 1962 PM3 had a top speed of 203 km/h and 0-100 took 10.5 seconds.

Probably, nobody did realize at this time that the PM3 was kind of the breakthrough model for RAUK and that it was going to stay in production until 1975.


The PM2, however, looked like it always had done, but the 95 hp engine from the PM3 found its way under the PM2 engine bay too, raising the top speed to 182 km/h and reducing the 0-100 time to 11 seconds.


With the PM3 now on the market, it was decided that the PM4 was going to take a completely different route. Once again, Urban Karlsson’s views influenced the construction. A boat did not have any heavy ladder frame to support its outer panels, but was rather a true monocoque. There was wild ideas, and even some testing, to use a fibreglass monocoque but the failure of the Lotus Elite and early testing looking far from promising lead to that idea being scrapped.

It turned out that the best compromise would probably be a steel monocoque clad with fibreglass panels. But manufacturing a steel monocoque chassis required expensive tooling for a small scale manufacturer. At the end of the year the problem was solved. A contract was signed with Olsson Personvagnar AB, that was going to do the stamping of the sheetmetal parts for the structure. At RAUK the sheetmetal parts were then going to be welded together to complete units. This was the first co-operation ever between RAUK and Olsson, something that we were going to see more of in the future.

Another thing that became quite clear was that mid engine was the way to go for the future. Live rear axles and heavy front engines was getting outdated in sports cars. The first prototype was tested with a driveline from the then new Morris 1100, mounted transversely to save on space, but it was seen as “inadequate” and a better engine was needed.

100 examples of the PM2 and 66 examples of the PM3 were built for the 1962 model year.

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1963

This was the final year for the PM2. It was by no means unchanged though. The B16 engine was now history, and replaced by the all new B18. Delivering 68 hp in its Volvo form, Rauk tuned it to 105 hp. That meant that the PM2 now was marginally faster, with a 185 km/h top speed and a 10.5 second time to 100. All in all, 393 examples of the PM2 were built when production ended.

A similar change was done to the PM3, meaning that it now could reach 100 km/h in 10 seconds, the top speed was increased marginally to 204 km/h.

42 examples of the PM2 and 85 examples of the PM3 were built in 1963. The end of the PM2 production in may while there was still some problems left to solve with the PM3 production meant that the total production decreased slightly for 1963.

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