Volvo Service: About Vovlo
Since 1927, Volvo has maintained the same values and integrity with every car it has engineered. When you learn of Volvo’s rich history, its many safety firsts, and its commitment to minimizing its impact on the environment, your first choice for your family will always be a Volvo.
The Early Years: Pre WWII, 444s & 544s, 122 and 1800
Since 1927, Volvo has maintained the same values and integrity with every car it has engineered. When you learn of Volvo’s rich history, its many safety firsts, and its commitment to minimizing its impact on the environment. Your first choice for your family will always be a Volvo.
Volvo is Latin for “I roll”. The first Volvo cars, the OV4 touring car and PV4 closed sedan, had a 1.9-litre four-cylinder engine. Production of a 3.1 liter six began in 1929, and that was the basis for all Volvo engines until after World War II.
The first Volvo most Americans recall was the PV444, a sedan looking much like a smaller version of the American Fords of the era. The 444 went into production in 1947 and featured a 1.4-litre, four-cylinder, OHV engine, with a unit-body construction instead of body-on-frame as was the norm at that time. The 444 was mildly redesigned in 1958, given the new B16 engine and dubbed the PV544. A 1.8-litre 5-bearing engine was introduced in 1962 as the B18. Total production of the 444 and 544 totaled nearly 500,000.
Volvo introduced the 122 series or Amazon in 1956. It had an entirely new body, and the engine size went up to 1.6 litres (B16), but it used many of the same mechanical components as the 444/544. Known also as the 122 or Amazon, the 120s were built until 1968. Production reached over 600,000.
Volvo introduced a fiberglass-bodied sports car, the P1900, in 1956, but it died after only a few hundred examples were built. The more successful P1800 two-seater sports coupe went on the market in 1961. The “1800″ designation came from the latest engine, the B18B (1.8 litres). The P1800 was the car chosen over the Jaguar XK-E for Roger Moore to drive in the British TV series “The Saint”. In the 1970s a “kammback” (2-door station wagon) version known as the P1800ES arrived and lasted until production of the P1800 ended in 1973.
The Standard of Safety
The “100 series” replaced the 544 in 1967 and truly established Volvo’s reputation as the standard of safety in automobiles. The first model was the 144 (Model “100″, “4″ cylinder, “4″ doors), and was followed by a two-door 142 and station wagon 145. The original engine was the B18 (1.8-litres) but was enlarged to 2.0-litres as the B20 in 1969 and fuel injection was added in 1971 with an “E” (for “einspritz”) added to the model designation. There was also a 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder sedan dubbed the 164 which debuted as a 1969 model.
A redesign in 1975 changed the model designation to “200″. Underneath, the front suspension changed to MacPherson struts. After the first year of production with the 140 drivetrain, 240s received an overhead-camshaft 2.0-litre, four-cylinder (designated the B21). The 164 remained in production for 1975, with the 264 model arriving for 1976. The 264 was powered by a 2.7L V6 engine designed and built in cooperation with Peugeot and Renault. The Bertone-designed 262 Coupe, which had a lower roof line, hit the streets in 1977. The sporty looking 242-GT came out in 1978. A turbocharged version of the 242, the 240 Turbo, arrived in 1980. Production of the 200 series lasted through 1993.
The upscale 700 series came out in 1983 with the 760 first (with either the 2.8L V6 or an in-line 6-cylinder diesel), followed by the 740 (with either normally-aspirated or turbocharged 2.3L engines). The 940/960 models arrived for 1993, and both 700 and 900 series cars were available until 1995 when the 700s were phased out.
A Radical Change
The first front-wheel drive Volvo was introduced to the American public in 1993, the 850. It had a 5 cylinder transverse engine with automatic or 5-speed stick as an option. In 1994 the first turbocharged 5 cylinder Volvos made their appearance as the 850T. From 1995 through 1997 Volvo built sportier versions of the 850 called T5 (turbo, 5 cylinder) or R.
Though the new designs were much more curved and aerodynamic than previous Volvos, the cars were still considered “squarish” by the automotive media, an image that Volvo has had difficulty shedding.
In 1998 Volvo changed it’s model nomenclature, beginning with the 70 series. Sedans were called S70 and the Wagons were V70. Also new were the first All-wheel drive Volvos: The upscale Cross Country was called V70XC. A regular version of the V70 wagon with AWD and a turbo was also available.
The “40″ series Volvos evolved from the “baby” Volvo which was sold in Europe, but not in the U.S. The small Volvo prior to that was the 343, which was built at a factory in The Netherlands which Volvo acquired from DAF. The S40 sedan and V40 Wagon joined the U.S. lineup as 2000 models.
Today’s Volvo models are named similarly, however the sedans are “even” numbered decades and wagons are “odd”, though they are basicaly the same car with different body styles. Sedans are still “S”, wagons are still “V”, while the 2-door coupes are designated with a “C”. Current model designations are the S40/V50, S60/V70 and C80/S80/V90.
The 2003 Volvo XC90 was named Truck of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.