When designer Jan Wilsgaard created the Volvo Amazon in 1956, he had no idea it would become one of the most memorable and well-loved models the brand would go on to produce. Modelled with inspiration from British and American car design, the Amazon was to bring Volvo Cars to the forefront of attention within the motoring industry.
Taking a bold step away from its masculine iron mark logo, Volvo Cars chose to name its 1956 model the Amason after the ancient Greek myth of the Amazons, female warriors armed with bow and arrow. The ‘s’ was replaced with a ‘z’ just before the car went to market, but the spirit behind the inspiration remained the same.
The Amazon was originally manufactured in Gothenburg before production was moved to the company's Torslandaverken plant, which began operating in 1964. The Amazon gave Volvo Cars its first pontoon bodied car and presented a design which contained several aesthetic elements that can still be seen on Volvo cars of today.
Initially built in a four-door saloon version for the first few years, the Amazon became an instant hit and passed the elder PV444/544 in sales statistics. The Amazon series would also be the first cars to be fitted with the three-point seatbelt which Nils Bohlin invented and patented in 1959 while working for Volvo Cars.
By the end of production, 234,653 four-door models, 359,917 two-door models and 73,220 station wagons had been produced, totaling 667,791 vehicles. During its 14-year production run, the Amazon would bring Volvo Cars global success and recognition, having exported 60% of the overall number of cars produced. The very last Amazon was manufactured on 3 July 1970.