Stop what you’re doing and look at these old Volvo estates | Top Gear
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Saturday 9th December

Stop what you’re doing and look at these old Volvo estates

Volvo *had* a tremendous history in building good estates, so here's your whistle-stop tour of its finest

Volvo estate
  • Volvo estate

    The first ever Volvo wagon was launched back in 1953, and to date, Volvo has sold more than six million estates across the globe. That's a third of the company's entire output since it was founded in 1927.

    “We have provenance in the estate segment,” Volvo's former big boss Hâkan Samuelsson once said. “In many people’s minds we are known as the definitive estate brand.”

    Which only aggravates the news that Volvo UK has culled its saloon and estate offerings from its line up. The business case is clear of course - hardly anyone buys them anymore, preferring the higher riding position of an SUV. And Volvo does those perfectly well.

    But it also did estates perfectly well, too. Damn you market forces.

    So as Volvo calls time on an icon, here's TG's quick guide to its estate car history.

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  • Volvo Duett – 1953

    Volvo Duett – 1953

    This, one of the first Volvos to be shipped to the US, was so iconic it appeared on a Swedish postage stamp in 1997. High praise indeed.

  • Volvo Amazon – 1962

    Volvo Amazon – 1962

    Officially dubbed the ‘221’, this one got more space than its van-based predecessor. And in ‘S’ variant, featured a heady 115bhp.

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  • Volvo 1800 ES - 1971

    Volvo 1800 ES - 1971

    Reimagined in 2014 as the Volvo Concept Estate, this is the 70s Volvo most likely etched into your brain. A huge rear windscreen with handles and hinges directly fixed to the glass were standout features.

    More than 8,000 of these found homes.

  • Volvo 245 - 1974

    Volvo 245 - 1974

    This one stayed in production for a whopping 20 years, and was offered with a turbo. Because boost.

  • Volvo 960 - 1990

    Volvo 960 - 1990

    Introduced in 1990 and renamed ‘V90’ in 1996, this one was the last RWD wagon Volvo built as a development of the 700 series. It came with a brand new six-pot engine, too.

  • Volvo V90 - 2016

    Volvo V90 - 2016

    Alas, the final Volvo estate we'll ever see. One of the finest-looking 'ordinary' cars you could buy, the V90 was a well-rounded, comfortable car with a calming temperament that made it a pleasure to waft about in.

    So while we started this trip down memory lane with a quote from the old boss, perhaps a quote from the new boss provides hope for the future. Speaking to on the possibility of an electric estate, Volvo CEO Jim Rowan said: "Suffice to say that we play across all the spectrums and ranges, and we’ve customers who require different vehicles. And we will try and make sure that we can capture as much of that as we possibly can.

    “But we will not become thin-sliced and have 40 different models. That is not our strategy. Our strategy will be tight, we’ll look after the demographics that we think make sense. And then the different formats - sedans, wagons, whatever - we’ll get to that when we get to that."

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  • Volvo 850 T5-R - 1994

    Volvo 850 T5-R - 1994

    You’ve made it this far into the gallery, and so you shall be richly rewarded: behold, the 240bhp T5-R.

    It was a limited edition, one-year only (1994) production model, wearing that yellow paintjob, much power and a 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds.

    Shod in its 1994 British Touring Car Championship colours, it looked even better. Racing estates FTW.

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