|October 2010 - Volvo Museum, Hisigen, Göteborg
In 1924 Gustaf Larson (engineer) and Assar Gabrielson (economist) decided about the construction of a safe, good quaylity Sweedish car. On 17th April 1927 their first car rolled off the production line from the factory, located ont he island of Hisingen, Göteborg. This was the first Volvo, starting a fantastic Sweedish success story.
Today the Volvo Museum presents on 6000 sqm all the steps of these 80 years of Volvo.
At the entrance welcomes you the statues of the two foundators and their working desk. Near the entrance, the first car is the first real success of the factory, the PV444. The car built after Second World War in American style, and launched in 1944 in the Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm, became soon the symbol of the high quality, style and safety and it became the first real people car Europe.
A big step in Volvo’s success was the Volvo P1800, selected to become the car of a saint. „The Saint”. In 1959 Volvo safety engineer Nils Bohlin invents the modern three point seat belt, the P1800 being equipped soon with this brand new safety device. The only thing a visitor would wish nowadays is to buy a modell of such a car, but it is not possible. Production was stoped.
Many more intersting cars are on display. Some, like the 480 look like design studies but have made it to real life and customers. Seen by many as the only legitimate successor of the P1800
It was quite love by it’s owners. More than 80.000 of this practical shooting break body have been built acting as cornerstones in volvos transition from rear to front wheel drive.
Looking into Volvo’s motorsport activities an unusual contender can be spotted. The 850 estate car was made quite famous by the racing Team of Tom Walkinshaw (of Ford Capri, Jaguar XJS, Rover SD1 and Mazda RX7 fame) to win 5th place in British Touring Championship of 1994. Following that a road verison called T5R capeable of 249km/h was unleashed to the unsuspecting public. EXXXtreme.
The Museum covers all aspect of the volvo car family. You can see many comercial vehicles (too aggressively utilitartian for the serene taste of the Foundation....) and, thank godness many design studies.
And now, would you believe, comes in the Hungarian connection. Géza Lóczi is a Hungarian car designer, Director of Design at Volvo Monitoring Concept Center VMCC near Los Angeles, California. (www.cardesignonline.com)
Ah, we bet, you didn’t now about this!
In 1999, the Volvo Group sold Volvo Cars to the Ford Motor Company. Certainly the spirit had changed since the times of Larson and Gabrielson. How sad.