Volvo's Forgotten Answer to the Corvette

1w ago

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In 1954, Volvo presented a sensation. It was an open-top two-seater sports car constructed of fiberglass. Volvo's president and founder Assar Gabrielsson got the idea on a trip to America where he saw a Corvette. He decided that his Scandinavian company could rival the American icon.

Gabrielsson got a California boat builder, Bill Tritt, who he met on his trip, to design a fiberglass body for him. That design was brought back to and produced in Sweden. Esteemed engineer Erik Quistgaard was appointed as team leader. The car was built with many components of the PV444, although it used a separate body. It also had that car's 4-cylinder, 1.4-litre engine, although it was more engineered. With twin carburettors, a different camshaft, larger intake valves and higher compression, the car made 70 horsepower.

The car didn't enter production until 1956. In that year, Gunnar Engellau had replaced Gabrielsson as president. He, however, was not a fan of the car. He took it for a drive soon after getting the position, and, in an official report, wrote "I thought it would fall apart!"

The car certainly wasn't up to the usual Volvo standards. And so production was stopped in 1957. There were either 67 or 68 cars produced, and even Volvo themselves aren't certain. While the car was intended for export, most were sold in Scandinavia. Some of these still survive, though they are certainly rare cars.

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