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Ten reasons why Volvo is great

  1. Volvo, it seems, is on the up. Look at the Concept Coupe, Concept Estate, and XC Concept Coupe. Admittedly none of them are real, or destined for production (in unsullied form at least), but both show a brave new vision for the company. Especially under Thomas Ingenlath’s pen - a man that’s made a bold departure from the Home Counties Vicarage styling common to Volvos yore.

    With Volvo emerging as a legitimate source of cool, we’ve been looking through the Swedes’ back catalogue to remind ourselves of the Really Good Stuff the company has done in the past.. Here, in no particular order, are ten reasons Volvo might be brilliant.

  2. THE AMAZON ESTATE

    Named after 33.3 per cent of Arthur Ransome’s classic novel, Swallows and Amazons, the original Volvo estate was the first car fitted with three-point seatbelts. It also had a split-hatch boot with a hinged numberplate on the lower section, allowing you to transport, say, an elk carcass while still display your digits to the feds. It also looks wonderful - a bit of Americana blended with the right amount of careful-now Scandinavian reserve.

  3. THE SEATBELT PATENT RELEASE

    The first modern three-point seat belt - as found in pretty much every modern car - was patented in 1955 by Americans Roger W. Griswold and Hugh DeHaven. But it was Swedish inventor Nils Bohlin (above) who got Volvo on board. The company made it standard equipment from 1959, then… released the patent. The firm’s bosses decided that the invention was so significant it had more value as a life-saving tool, not as a commercial one. Saints.

  4. THE PERFECT FIRST CAR

    As Jeremy gracefully demonstrated in Series 13, the 940 is, as Clarkson says, “The perfect car for any 17 year-old.” With space for every possible yoof accoutrement, it adheres to the more-metal-good philosophy of car safety and, most importantly, it has a TURBO.

    Watch it here

  5. THE P1800

    Because, well… LOOK AT IT. No mention of the Italianate Swedish coupe can pass without noting that Knight of the Realm, Sir Roger Moore drove one in The Saint. It’s spawned one or two concepts in its time, too. We only wish the company had built this Aston Martin-powered variant. It’s never too late, Volvo…

  6. THE JAKOB HOT-ROD

    On April 14, 1927, the first ever Volvo - affectionately known as Jakob - rolled off the company’s Gothenburg factory. 80 years later, hot rod builder Leif Tufvesson built a tribute to the marque that very first car as his foundation. Volvo was so impressed it bought the ‘rod from Leif, and stuck it in its official museum. More celebrating birthdays with hot-rods please, carmakers.

  7. THE MAD POLESTAR STUFF

    Make dull Volvos really fast - that’s, ostensibly, the job given to Polestar, the manufacturer’s new in-house tuning arm. We liked the 501bhp S60, but it was the 400bhp C30 concept that really got the fizz fizzing. The normal Polestar-tuned S60 and V60 versions aren’t bad, either.


     

  8. THE JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME AD

    We wouldn’t have imagined having Jean Claude Van Damme part his legs atop a pair of reversing lorries would ever have done much for truck sales. But what do we know? JCVD clocked 67 MILLION YouTube hits with this brilliant, strange advert.

    Watch it again here

  9. THE RON-JEREMY'S-NECKLACE BADGE

    OK, so the badge isn’t actually a nod to the astrological male denoter, rather the ancient symbol for iron as used in the days of alchemy. But it looks like the only thing you’d see a Seventies adult entertainer wearing on set. He’s come to fix your blown head gasket.

  10. THE 850 TOURING CAR ESTATE

    Back in 1994, Volvo teamed up with Tom Walkinshaw Racing to build an 850 Estate Super Touring Car for BTCC duty. Everyone laughed at it until it qualified as high as third and finished a race as high as fifth. Not thigh-trembling results, but don’t forget that this is a VOLVO ESTATE.

  11. THE ESTATE THAT DISCOVERED THE TRUE SOURCE OF THE NILE

    An 850R, (once) capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds, and reaching a top speed of 158mph, drove explorer Dr James May I Presume to the very source of the river Nile. A proud and noble distinction that should be noted with every sale of a Volvo for the rest of time.

    Watch it here

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