Quite a hot day
12:30 AM | November 2 2015

A Volvo Moment: Quite a hot day in Death Valley

It is the summer of 1978, and the sun is probably setting. We are somewhere in Death Valley, California, 85 meters below sea level. The four men in the picture look relaxed, shirts off, and one of them wearing a bucket hat.

The work itself is also far from relaxed. When the project was launched in 1975, there was considerable time pressure, as it was high time to come up with a replacement for the Volvo 200 series. The timetable for developing a production-ready car was amended several times. It was originally planned to be presented in 1980, but in the end the Volvo 760 didn't go public until February 1982. The test drives in Death Valley are taking place on public roads. Volvo only acquires its own test facility in Arizona some years later. Despite this, few spyshots of the prototype are taken.

Perhaps it's the masking that confuses people. The words "2.7 DIY" are visible on the rear crossmember, a wink to the curious. The abbreviation can be interpreted as Do It Yourself. At the front there is something that could be a grille from a Toyota Cressida. However, the 700 series' angular features are already in place.

By the time the field tests for what would become the 700 series were complete, Volvo's employees had driven the equivalent of 80 times around the world. However, when this picture is taken in southern California, there are still many tens of thousands of miles still to go before reaching the destination. A moment in Volvo's history.