Volvo cars through the years
AB Volvo is a multi-national auto manufacturer based in Gothenburg, Sweden and owned by China's Geely Automobile. Volvo began as a subsidiary of AB SFK, a Swedish company that produced ball bearings. In 1924, Volvo founders Assar Gabrielsson (who worked as a SFK sales manager) and engineer Gustav Larson decided to create a Swedish automobile -- three years later the first Volvo, the ÖV4, was introduced. Volvo was an overnight success and began to distribute automotive parts in addition to cars, trucks, buses and construction equipment. Volvo is well-known for its sturdy vehicles, which are reputed to be among the safest in collision situations.
The ÖV4 was the first car built by Volvo, debuting in 1927. It was equipped with an in-line four-cylinder, 28 hp engine and a three-speed transmission. An open tourer style vehicle built on an ash and beech frame, the ÖV4 was only available in one color combination: dark blue with black wings.
Volvo’s TR 670 series was introduced in 1930 and featured longer wheelbases and fittings than previous Volvo models. TR 670 vehicles were primary used as taxis and seated up to seven people. With in-line six-cylinder, 55-hp engines, the TR 670 series was limited in production to just 845 models.
The PV 36, widely known as Carioca, was a six-seater saloon that featured an in-line six-cylinder, 80-hp engine to accompany its streamlined design. The PV 36 had a top speed of 75 mph and hydraulic brakes. This vehicle’s all-steel body and independent front-wheel suspension gave it a solid reputation for safety during its heyday.
In addition to being Volvo’s first unibody vehicle, the 1946 PV 444 was also the first small-sized Volvo. The two-door saloon had an in-line four-cylinder, 40- to 85-hp engine and a laminated windscreen that held together if shattered. Volvo said it originally planned to produce 8,000 PV 444 vehicles, but nearly 200,000 were produced due to high consumer demand.
The 1956 Sport was one of Volvo’s most short-lived vehicles. Due to production problems, only 67 of these vehicles made it out of the factory and depressed demand for the two-seated sports car forced production to cease after one year. The Sport had similar specifications to the PV 444, with the exception of a fiberglass-reinforced polyester body and a three-speed manual transmission with a floor-mounted gear lever.
Known as the Amazon in Sweden, the 1958 Volvo 122 S was a four-door sedan equipped with a dual-carburetor and 85-hp engine. It was the first Volvo with a pontoon-style body. The extended rear wings shaped into a slight fin, adding to the vehicle’s popularity at the time. Aside from its design, the 122 S was also known for its various safety features that included a padded upper dashboard, a laminated windscreen and front and back seat-belt attachments.
Primarily sold in Sweden and other Nordic countries, the Volvo P 210 Duett had a 1.8-liter, 75-hp engine and ran on a 12-volt electrical system, a feature not seen in earlier Volvo station wagons. The company produced 60,100 Duett vehicles from 1960 to 1969.
The 1968 Volvo 164 was the first Volvo in 10 years to offer a six-cylinder engine -- the B30 straight-six engine boasted 135 to 175 horsepower and was available with fuel injection and dual carburetors in later 1969 to 1971 models. The Volvo 164 was produced until 1975.
A redesigned version of Volvo’s 1800 two-door coupe, the 1800 ES featured an extended roofline and high storage capacity. The 1800 ES had a four-cylinder, 124-hp engine under its hood and a four-speed manual transmission with electrical overdrive. Due to the high cost needed to meet various safety requirements, production of 1800 ES vehicles ended in 1973.
After purchasing a third of the Netherlands-based company DAF Car BV, Volvo joined the small-car market with the Volvo 66. This vehicle was available in two-door sedan and three-door station wagon versions. Each version was equipped with four-cylinder engines, automatic transmissions and hydraulic brakes. The company produced 106,137 Volvo 66 vehicles from 1975 to 1980.
In 1982, Volvo entered the world of luxury cars with its 760 vehicle. The Volvo 760 was available in four-door sedan and five-door station wagon versions and had uncommon, angular designs, roomy interiors and standard anti-lock brakes. More than 200,000 Volvo 760 vehicles were produced from 1982 to 1990.
The Volvo 440 was one of the company’s more popular compact cars. The design of the 440 was based on the Volvo 480 sports coupe with a 1.7-liter, four-cylinder engine (with the option to be turbocharged). It was available with four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission. The company produced 460,822 Volvo 440 vehicles from 1988 to 1996.
The Volvo 940 midsize luxury car debuted in 1990 and was the replacement for the Volvo 740. Customers could choose between two engine types -- a four-cylinder petrol engine or a six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. The Volvo 940 received praise for its new safety features such as the inertia-reel seat belt and an adjustable head restraint in the middle of the rear seat.
The Volvo C70 is a luxury sports car known for its high performance and high safety standards. The four-seat convertible gives consumers the option of 2-, 2.3- and 2.4-liter, five-cylinder engines. More than 100,000 Volvo C70 vehicles have been produced since 1997.
A replacement for the 1995 Volvo V40, the Volvo V50 was a popular five-door estate car that was noted for its design and safety features. Torsion stiffness of the V50 was 70 percent better than its predecessor and the patented front structure had crumple zones to increase protection of the vehicle’s occupants. More than 500,000 Volvo V 50 cars were produced from 2003 to 2012.
The Volvo C30 incorporated elements of past models such as the Volvo 1800 ES and Volvo SCC (Safety Concept Car). This vehicle’s grille had an enlarged iron mark in its center and pronounced wheel housings. The 2008 to 2013 Volvo C30 models received a Top Safety Pick + rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.