Every car enthusiast should know the legend of the “Brutal 740”

Revisiting one of the earliest viral car videos I first remember watching more than 15 years ago.

Every car enthusiast should know the legend of the “Brutal 740”
Screen cap from the “Brutal 740” viral video from 2006

As I dive down the rabbit hole during the restoration/reanimation of my 1990 Volvo 740, I’m reminded of my favourite car video…ever.

(As if I need to say it, but: THIS KIND OF DRIVING ON PUBLIC ROADS IS STUPID. Don’t do this. However, it happened and we might as well move on to analyzing it…)

Nothing set off my late teen brain like this clip from 2006, later uploaded to YouTube, that shows a car just like mine claimed to have more than 500 horsepower, spitting fire, doing epic burnouts at highway speeds, and drifting at yaw angles extreme enough to drop my jaw.

Still does, in fact.

I don’t care if you’re talking Climb Dance, Rendezvous, Grand Prix, Top Gear or Gymkhana-anything: for whatever reason, this video has proven to leave a lasting impression on people—I know this because I read the comments.

Don’t believe me? Here are a few comments that I grabbed from the official upload, pirated upload, and from the forums:

I was there. At Vallåkraträffen the day and saw this car on the coned track.  Have loved Volvo 740 ever since and it really sparked the whole tuning era in my life. Wonderful video that has inspired many over the years. It might not seem extreme today, but back then this was completely insane.”

“This video is what got my dad and I into Volvos.

“when this vid came out, I didn't like the song. Today, whenever I hear it, I see this 740 going sideways..Go go go hedberg !!!”

“This was my most favourite video at the time... Big up from Czech Republic✌️”

“I still come back every few months [to] see this. I want to sell my 850 for one of these, but a 242 version.”

i keep watching this film and i say the same every time : yeah! do another one :]”

“This Volvo video is never die! Legendary!

“wow, this Volvo is amazing but even more amazing is the driver of this car. I've never seen a Volvo do this!

“What can you say? The very best you tube video ever.

“You're a very talented drifter. You must have had quite a bit of practice. Awesome car! It inspires me.

“Iv seen this video like 15 years ago and its still gold

“Fucking love that this video is still circulating! Remember having it downloaded to my ipod 12+ years ago. I have had 3 volvo 940s since.”

“Classic. I remember watching this 15 years ago. 4 7xx series later it's good to see it still up

I could go on, but you can actually still find one of the first threads where it had been posted, reviews as rave then as they are now. (In between discussions on which video codecs to use…typical of the time.)

Since this video was posted, automotive content online has transformed into an immense, money-making enterprise.

This car wasn’t the subject of a sponsored build, nor explained in-depth with detailed project videos—but it was committed to tape at the perfect time to ride a wave of forum referrals and the “you’ve got to see this!!” of friends having friends over to browse the internet together, at dial-up speeds.

It was a strange time, but a time nonetheless.

I queued it up to my favourite section near the end. Here’s the “Brutal 740”, in all its 480p glory…

If you know anything about this car or owner, please get in touch…