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Love At First Sight - A Bertone of His Own
By Billy Nolden

Do you believe in love at first sight?  Jay Reynolds, owner of Infinite Velocity Motorsports in Sparks, NV, certainly does.  After graduating from high school, Jay moved to Reno, NV and got a job working at a Volvo/Mazda repair shop.  On his first day, a 1978 Volvo 262c was waiting for him in his bay.  “I was instantly hooked…all I had to do was find one,” Jay remembers.  After searching tirelessly for a Bertone of his own, he was ready to give up all hope of finding one.  Luckily, one of the shop’s regular customers knew of a broken down 262c with 58,000 miles on it.  The car needed work, but Jay picked up the Bertone for a cool $200, and he was even able to drive it home.  “It needed a window, a door skin, a transmission, an interior and paint”, Jay mentioned.  As you can see from the pictures, those certainly aren’t the only things Jay has tweaked over the 14 years he has owned the 262c.   

At the time, Jay’s weapon of choice was a Mustang with a 351 cubic inch V8 under the hood.  “That car sent me to jail three times for street racing, so I decided to sell the Mustang and drive the Volvo so I wouldn't get any more tickets,” recounts Jay.  However, as some Turbobricks members can attest, driving anything with a stock B27 PRV V6 engine can be somewhat uninspiring.  Jay, being a speed freak at heart, decided to swap out the anemic V6 and replace it with a budget-built 383 cubic inch V8 backed by a TH350 transmission.  He managed to keep the vehicle otherwise stock and it had accumulated some 20,000 miles, until he made the “mistake” of racing it.  Worse yet, he won!  Jay had been bitten hard by the Swedish racing bug, and knew he had to make the Bertone a purebred race terror. 

Freshly addicted to Solo II (auto-X), Jay first swapped on the entire front suspension from a 1990 Toyota Supra, replacing all of the “flimsy” Volvo stuff.  Mind you, this was well before the days of Kaplhenke Racing control arms…  He also added a set of Trick Flow cylinder heads and a roller valvetrain to the V8, and stuffed wide, sticky rubber inside the factory wheel wells.  In very short order, Jay had managed to break EIGHT(!) Dana 30 rear differentials, and had depleted all of the junkyards in his area of Volvo rear-ends!  An upgrade was in order, and Jay decided to drop in a beefy Ford 9” rear end.  He added Moser 31-spline axles and GM 11” rear disc brakes to ensure that nothing would break this time around.  He suspended the axle to the Volvo with a custom ladder-bar rear suspension, which can be converted to a 3-link setup if the need arises.  He quickly realized that he needed more traction, and chose an autocross-only wheel and tire combination, consisting of 15x10 Bart wheels and NASCAR 26x12x15 slicks at all four corners.  According to Jay, “the car was unbelievably fast.  Three times I set FTD (fastest time of the day) and I was running 11.9's at the drag strip.”

For most people, an 11-second Volvo would more than satisfy their need for speed.  Jay is not one of those people, however, and after bending one of the Supra control arms, he decided to step up the performance of his Bertone once more.  He installed NASCAR-style tubular control arms and custom-fabricated spindles, which held custom coilovers, 12.5” front brake rotors, and Coleman Racing aluminum calipers, all deemed necessary to rein in the power of his newly swapped 406 cubic inch V8.   The monster engine is equipped with Brodix heads, a nitrous oxide system, and a “REALLY BIG” roller camshaft.  With all the torque being unleashed by his 406, Jay knew the TH350 transmission would not hold up, so he sourced a 4L80-E to handle the abuse.  All of these modifications landed Jay squarely in SCCA’s E-Modified autocross class, but he also runs in the Street Unlimited class.  Of note, Jay took first place in his regional class last June   

With its newfound power infusion, the Bertone soon became a drag-only vehicle, and Jay skillfully crafted steel fender flares to accommodate the humongous wheels necessary for 10-second blasts down the quarter-mile.  For those wondering, the car is sitting on 3-piece forged Kinesis K28s, 18x9s up front, and massive 18x13s out back, with steamroller-like 345/30-18 BF-Goodrich drag radials.  Jay also decided to treat the car to a full two-tone paint job, choosing Ferrari silver from the waist down, and Romanesque above the beltline.  The color combination is quite striking, and really accents the exquisite custom bodywork.  The Ferrari silver also found its way into the trunk, where Jay had a custom subwoofer box painted and installed.  Audio components consist of a Pioneer head unit, MB Quart front and rear speakers, RE subwoofers, and Zapco amplifiers

In its current configuration, Jay claims his Bertone is fully capable of mid-10 second quarter-mile passes, even at 5000’ of elevation!  Horsepower at the rear wheels is squarely “north of 600” since Jay’s last session on the dynamometer.  The fact that the car still makes Jay giddy after 14 years of ownership is quite a testament to the performance of the machine he has built.  Jay says “all I want to do now is drive it…It is as fast as I want it to be.  Unless somebody bets me I can't run a 9...”

Any takers?
  • Model: 1978 262c Bertone
  • Owner: Jay Reynolds
  • Photographer: (himself)
  • Motor: Chevy 406ci with high-flow Brodix heads using a large aftermarket roller cam. A nitrous injection system was added as well as a custom header and exhaust.
  • Transmission: GM 4L80-E automatic transmission incorporates a larger input shaft and additional clutch plates in order to handle the 600+hp motor.
  • Suspension: The front setup includes NASCAR-style tubular control arms with customer fabricated spindles and a coilover solution. The rear end is built with ladder-bar rear suspension that's convertible to a 3-link. A Ford 9" differential connects Moser 31 spline axles.
  • Wheels & Brakes: Kinesis K28 forged 3-piece wheels measuring 18x9" in the front and 18x13" rear mounted with 345/30-18 BF-Goodrich drag radials. The brakes have been upgraded to 12.5" rotors and Coleman Racing's aluminum calipers up front, 11" GM rotors in the rear.
  • Cosmetic: The fenders were hand made from steel and a custom designed front airdam went on to complete its form. Custom tail lights and a two-tone Ferrari silver under Romanesque paint job finished it off.
  • Interior: The leather bucket seats are out of an Acura. A Pioneer head unit, MB Quart speakers all around as well as a pair of RE Sub woofers in a custom painted enclosure are powered by Zapco amps.


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