Volvo PV60 in Gothenburg 1940's
12:00 AM | July 28 2017

A Volvo Moment: The radio cars are calling!

The tower block in the background is brand new and the grass and park surrounding it still look a little bare. This is hardly surprising given the entire area was inaugurated by Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf in 1945.

Perhaps the location has been chosen to showcase the new, modern Gothenburg. The three police cars also have something that is state-of-the-art: police radios.

On the roof of the Volvo PV60 standing on the left there is a powerful antenna, just like there is on the chassis-built Volvo from the 800 series on the far right. The car in the middle, from the PV800 series - which is a standard length, has no antenna.

The PV60 was the big Volvo introduced simultaneously alongside the PV444 at Volvo’s exhibition in Stockholm in 1944. The PV60 was largely bought by individuals or companies, while the PV800 series was primarily intended for use in the taxi business. Both model series featured Volvo’s 3.7 litre, 90 hp, six-cylinder side-valve engine called ED.

Pioneers with radio

In 1935, the police in Gothenburg were the first to get police radios in their cars. The man behind this initiative was Gothenburg’s creative Police Chief Ernst Fontell. He got the idea from Britain –it was also there that Fontell saw how radio communication could fundamentally change the way police worked.

Instead of seeking a telephone box on specified patrol lines, it was possible to communicate by radio directly from the car. In the 1940s, the range of radio systems improved dramatically and the units fitted in cars were smaller.

Volvo has a long history as a supplier of police cars. In 1929, just two years after the first Volvo rolled out, police in Sweden bought their first one. In the 1940s, cars like the PV60 and the PV800 series were still subject to strong competition from American manufacturers, but the Volvo Amazon saw the partnership between Volvo and the police expand and develop. Today, police force in Norway, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands also use Volvo cars. A modern police car is a workplace on wheels that takes around a week to build starting with a standard car as the base.

But the first step towards a modern police car was taken on that day, when three police cars were lined up at a viewing point in Gothenburg.

A moment in Volvo Cars' history.