A Volvo Moment: An icon is born
12:30 AM | March 1 2016

A Volvo Moment: An icon is born

It is a hazy day in Turin in January 1958. Volvo's relatively new CEO Gunnar Engellau, accompanied by some other employees, has driven from Gothenburg down to Italy in an Amazon on an important matter.

It was just six months ago that Engellau chose one of the five design proposals sketched by Carozzeria Pietro Frua. He will now get to see the car in real life for the first time. Contracting an Italian company to design the new Volvo sports car was intended to give the car extra prestige and style. So, it is easy to understand why Gunnar Engellau got upset when he learned that the design proposal he chose was created by a young Swede, Pelle Pettersson, who worked for Frua. But, on this day in Turin that problem seems to be a thing of the past.

Gunnar Engellau has his camera along and takes two pictures of the prototype from different angles. He is very pleased with the look. “It was this prototype that convinced us to produce the car,” he wrote when sending the photos for archiving many years later.

The Volvo director wants as little as possible to be changed along the journey to final production car. And that's just what happens – the first prototype's appearance is maintained throughout the entire process. The character of the front, a midline trim that travels up on the doors, and the small fins – they were all there right from the start.

With the decision on this day in Turin, Gunnar Engellau helps to create what could very well be Volvo's greatest design icon. The combined production figure for all 1800 variants, totalling 47,484 cars, is not the important factor. The value of the model, which has become Volvo's most famous and renowned model, is instead defined through other benefits. A moment in Volvo's history.