In the early 1950s, Helmer Petterson – ’technical father’ of the PV444, Volvo producer gas units, the Volvo Sport and the real father of Pelle Petterson – designed the coloured perspex sun shield, known as the ’gangster cap’ among Volvo fans. Thanks to royalties he received through the sales of this accessory, he could finance Pelle’s studies at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, where the young man could develop his artistic skills and in 1957 graduate as industrial designer, specializing in automotive design.
The rest is history. From Pelle Petterson’s pen came the Volvo P1800, motor bikes and mopeds, outboard engines, lawn mowers, watches and dozens of yacht designs, many of them world famous. And new boat designs are still coming out of his pen in a steady flow. In August, a month after Pelle’s birthday on July 31st, VCH manager Claes Rydholm presented him with a belated birthday gift, a shiny blue ‘gangster cap’:
“I have a lot to thank both my father and this wonderful piece of automobilia for”, a surprised Pelle said. “If it hadn’t been for this, I may never have been a designer but stayed an engineer. It really means a lot to me, and has a strong symbolic value”.
Therefore, Volvo enthusiasts all over the world, be grateful to Helmer and the ‘gangster cap, because they have played an enormous role in the history of Volvo, and through Pelle gave the world the Volvo P1800 – a true Volvo icon. Maybe be biggest there is. Volvo Cars Heritage manager Claes Rydholm presented Pelle Petterson with a ‘gangster cap’ – something which he did not already have – as a belated birthday gift in August 2013.