On Saturday, April 14 2007, Volvo celebrated its 80th anniversary. In the morning of that date in 1927, the first series-production Volvo car, the ÖV4, rolled out of the Lundby factory. Since then, nearly 15 million Volvo cars have been built, along with trucks, buses, marine and aero engines.
In order to commemorate this day, Saturday April 14th was dedicated to the succesful history of the Volvo brand. At 10.00 AM, Fredrik Arp, President & CEO of Volvo Cars, and Leif Johansson, President & CEO of AB Volvo, used their golden scissors to cut the ribbon that was the symbol for the opening of the Volvo Museum, which has been added 800 new and useful squaremetres on two floors, crowned with a giant glass façade that faces the sea.
The sun was shining, there was hardly any wind but some 300 people cheering the opening ceremony, which was reinforced with the marching band of the Gothenburg Police Force. Half an hour later, the big jubilee parade of vehicles started rolling towards the centre of Gothenburg. In total, some 40 vehicles took part, the majority of them cars but also trucks and buses joined in. The people who were not involved in the parade took the opportunity to see it off and then visited the museum.
The parade was headed by the open ÖV4 from 1927, driven by ex-rally champion Carl-Magnus Skogh with Fredrik Arp and Leif Johansson as passengers in the rear seat. Then followed several cars from the 1930s, a PV60 and a very early PV444 from the 1940s, the well-known Volvo models from the 50s including a PV544 towing a trailer with sports boat with a Volvo Penta Aquamatic from 1959, all the way up to the current model range.
Thanks to a raffle in the Torslanda plant, 20 people from different parts of the car production had been chosen to ride and even drive in the parade. A much appreciated opportunity.At Götaplatsen, in the very heart of Gothenburg city, thousands of Saturday city strollers were cheering the cars as they entered the square where they parked for an hour in order to be admired. Young and old, all with a heart for Volvo took the opportunity to talk to the drivers and in some cases also sit in the cars.
The return drive had the cars arriving in somewhat different order than before at the museum around 1.30 PM where they were further admired. A free lunch for all was served, the traditional Swedish wiener sausage on top of delicious mashed potatoes, and at 2.00 PM a little private ceremony took place in a room on the 2nd floor. Heinz Linninger, the creator of the Volvo Museum and its manager since the start, is retiring and had his farewell reception for friends and colleagues. The new manager, Sten-Åke Lyngstam who officially now takes over the responsibility for the museum was Master of Ceremonies.
A nice day with the best possible weather, happy people everywhere and a perfect manifestation and celebration of the 80th anniversary that would have pleased both Assar Gabrilesson and Gustaf Larson. Surely they were looking down from the only cloud that was visible on the blue sky and smiled.