Key classic cars that altered Volvo’s path

The Volvo brand is currently undergoing a radical transformation, with new and innovative models transitioning into the line-up. Since the Swedish marque’s 2009 change of ownership to China’s Geely, things have been changing, but how did they get to where they are? Here’s a selection of classic cars that changed Volvo’s course over almost 90 years of history:

1927 Volvo ÖV 4

The Öppen Vagn 4 Cylindrar, or Open Carriage 4 Cylinder, was launched on April 14th, 1927. It was meant to be introduced a day earlier, but the rear differential’s gear was installed incorrectly, meaning that when the first prototype was put into drive, it went backwards.

Just under 1,000 ÖV 4 cars were built over three years, with a closed-roof version called the PV 4 being introduced half way through this production time, better suited to the Swedish climate.

1944 Volvo PV444

After WWII, Volvo started building its reputation for safety and reliability, creating a smaller, better value vehicle. In 1959, the PV444 was fitted with the world’s first three-point seatbelt and, powered by a four-cylinder engine, it broke into North America and the New World.

Volvo opened an assembly plant in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1963, supplying a selection of well-known vehicles to the America market from this small Canadian base for 35 years.

1953 Volvo Duett

When people think of Volvo, they think of station wagons – and the Duett was the first of many to appear. It went on to inspire the more conventional and incredibly popular Volvo Amazon, which later developed into the renowned Volvo 240.

1956 Volvo P1900

Stability for Volvo was provided by the PV line at the time, so the brand took a chance by introducing an ultra-limited-production roadster. The P1900 was designed by a Californian boat-building firm and featured a fibreglass body – it didn’t succeed, as it was deemed unsuitable for the brand’s otherwise robust line-up.

It inspired the P1800 coupe that is one of Volvo’s best-looking vehicles ever made, and showed the brand’s love for performance – Polestar continues to push that passion.

1966 Volvo 140

The boxy design was born with the Volvo 140, a look that is still evident in the brand’s cars today. Available as a coupe, saloon and wagon, paired with a wide range of powertrains, this versatile vehicle was modern in every way. Safe and sporty with rear-wheel drive, the 140 was well-suited to track and rally racing.

1992 Volvo 850

Introduced to the world in 1991, the 850 was the first Volvo to ride on the new, front-wheel drive platform that made the Swedish brand’s name for driving in wintry conditions. Volvo even collaborated with Porsche to create a limited-run 850 T5-R with 243hp.

Building on the many strengths of these classic Volvo cars, the current line-up is the most striking of all, with the XC90 most recently taking the world by storm. The midsize crossover has won numerous awards since its launch, including SUV of the Year at the UK Car of the Year Awards 2016.

The S90 and V90 are on their way too, offering the same supreme levels of luxury, safety and technology in saloon and estate forms. Contact Lancaster to register your interest in either of these sublime Volvo creations or to take the award-winning XC90 for a test drive.