Volvo staff - a winterday 1931
10:00 AM | June 28 2017

A Volvo Moment: Look into the camera, please!

A winter day in 1931. Staff at Volvo, at this stage still a relatively young company, have lined up in front of the camera.

The location is right outside the walls of the Lundby factory in Gothenburg, and the door through which the first car rolled out four years earlier is standing open – despite a sign instructing personnel to ‘Close the door’.

There are 160 people in the photograph: 149 men and 11 women. They represent almost the entire workforce. Almost all men have something on their heads – a hat, a Vega cap, a forage cap, a bowler or sheepskin hat. Women, on the other hand, are bare-headed and fur-trimmed coats seem to have been in fashion at the start of the 1930s. At this time, Chicago mobster Al Capone, convicted of tax evasion in this year, is mentioned often even in Swedish newspapers.

Volvo only manufactured one model back in the day: the Volvo 652. It had been launched two years earlier, and was also available in an extended taxi edition. Sales of passenger cars are still somewhat limited, with business going much better for trucks and buses.

Towards the end of the decade, as the threat of war looms over Europe, production of passenger cars would cease altogether to focus on supplying the Swedish armed forces.

But Volvo’s staff were completely unaware of the later developments as they look into the camera.

A moment in Volvo's history.