The Volvo Amazon is a classic car that has left an indelible mark on automotive history. Here are 10 fascinating facts about this iconic model:
Legendary durability: Around 8% of the approximately 297,000 Volvo Amazons sold in Sweden are still in circulation. In total, there are 24,282 Volvo Amazons registered in Sweden, with the 1966 model being the most common with 4,804 registered units.
Acropolis Rally victory: Volvo factory driver Carl-Magnus Skogh won the 1965 Acropolis Rally in Greece driving a Volvo 122S.
Pioneering police equipment: Volvo worked with the Swedish police to develop equipment that was later incorporated into standard production cars. Police cars were fitted with disc brakes, brake assist and radial tyres several years before they became common in production cars. Volvo Amazon police cars were equipped with fans in the rear window and a button near the steering wheel that switched the windscreen wipers to the fastest setting.
Classic fanatic: Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is a big car fan. He has owned several classic Volvo Amazons, including a 1966 family model. Upon leaving his post as Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1993, Powell was given a dilapidated Amazon in need of refurbishment by President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.
The mystery of the Volvo 122S Cabriolet: In the 1963 Geneva catalogue, the Volvo 122S Cabriolet appeared, whose creator was listed as Jacques Coune, a Belgian coachbuilder. It was a beautiful conversion, with doors without window frames, rounded door openings and forward-slanting taillights. The catalogue gave the impression that it was a production car, but Volvo had nothing to do with this initiative and only four units were built.
Proven toughness: New York publicist Amil Gargano took over Volvo’s advertising account in 1962. He concluded that Volvos could withstand just about anything, and this became the brand’s unique selling proposition. One ad showed an Amazon driving energetically on gravel roads. The final message of the ad was clear but impossible to replicate today: “And you can drive it like you hate it. Cheaper than psychiatry”.
The V8 dream: There were plans to equip the Amazon with a V8 engine, an evolved version of the engine used in trucks. Five prototypes were reportedly built, but Volvo management eventually realised that a V8 was not suitable for the Amazon, especially considering there was no six-cylinder version and the leap from a four-cylinder engine to a V8 would have been too great.
Canadian Amazons: Volvo Amazons built at Volvo’s Halifax assembly plant in Halifax, Canada, were marketed under the name Volvo Canadian.
Sales leader in Sweden: With the expansion of Volvo’s model range thanks to the Amazon, Volvo regained its position as Sweden’s best-selling car brand in 1958. Since then, it has maintained this position year after year.
Movie star: In the film “All the President’s Men”, about the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, journalist Bob Woodward, played by Robert Redford, drives a white Volvo Amazon.
These are just some of the fascinating facts about the Volvo Amazon, a vehicle that left an indelible mark on the automotive industry. Its sleek design, ruggedness and reputation as a reliable automobile make it a timeless classic. If you are a classic car enthusiast, the Volvo Amazon is definitely a model to cherish.
In short, the Volvo Amazon, also known as the Volvo Classic, is a car with a rich history and numerous curiosities surrounding it. From its legendary durability to its pioneering police equipment, the Amazon has left an indelible mark on the classic car world. Whether as a race car, family car or movie star, the Volvo Amazon continues to fascinate car enthusiasts around the world.
Source and photos ©Volvo