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Evolve Volvo
By Larry Edsall

Evolve Volvo Evolve helps Volvo break out of its box
When Don Nicholson and his wife had their first baby a few years ago, they went out and bought a Volvo, a car known for protecting such precious cargo. However, as a car enthusiast who was named after his grand uncle, famed drag racer "Dyno" Don Nicholson, non-Dyno Don wanted to soup up his car a little, but then discovered that there really weren't any aftermarket performance parts available for Volvos.

"This [his S60 sedan] was a neat and exciting product, but there was nothing out there [in the aftermarket]," said Nicholson.

So he wrote up a business plan, met with some executives at Volvo's U.S. headquarters and got them to agree to let him showcase his ideas by building up a car for the 2003 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show. Thus Nicholson, who had spent 10 years working for Meguiar's, the automotive car care (cleaners and polishes) company, decided to launch his own business, Evolve, in Monrovia, Calif.

Little more than four years later, Evolve had a full line of aftermarket products to enhance the look and performance of late model products, and Nicholson, whose company designs, manufacturers and markets, already was at work on products for the racy new Volvo C30.

Evolve parts are sold through the parts department of Volvo dealerships. Those parts include reprogrammed engine management software that turns up the power of Volvo engines, a sport exhaust system, air management components to enhance airflow into the engine, special turbocharger down pipes and even complete high-performance turbocharging systems.

Evolve also produces aerodynamic body kits, wheels, brake components, lowering springs, coil-over suspension kits, anti-sway bars and special seats – available in 25 single or two-tone colors and textures of leather – as well as shifters, pedals and even custom steering wheels.

Owners of Volvo's already sporty Volvo S60R were among Evolve's best customers. Nicholson says they typically spend around $3,100 on aftermarket equipment.

A full aero body kit runs around $2,300. A set of lowering springs is $389, an exhaust system is $950, and a full leather interior –seats and door panels – is $2,990 installed.

For more information on Evolve and its components, visit the website (which includes a photo gallery of "Dyno Don" in action). Evolve parts come with a warranty that covers the factory warranty period on a new car or two years on cars with expired factory warranties.

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