A Volvo moment: A meeting in the park

Published 12:00 AM, May 2 2016

A Volvo moment: A meeting in the park


It is the autumn of 1966, and the new meets the old. The straight-lined meets the curvy. The unknown meets the familiar. Only ten years separate the launch of the Volvo Amazon and the launch of the 144, but when they stand side-by-side in Slottsskogen Park in Gothenburg it is clear to see that a lot can happen in a decade.

When the Amazon was unveiled in 1956, it was quite different from the PV 444. It radiated confidence and an optimistic view of the future with its wealth of chrome, two-tone paintwork, and lavish interior. Ten years later, the pendulum has swung back the other way – functional and unadorned are in fashion. Volvo 144 has glare-free aluminium bumpers with a wide rubber strip. Admittedly, the radiator grille design is reminiscent of the Amazon's two-piece design, and the shoulder under the glass housing is a new interpretation of the Amazon's. But, this hardly makes the cars more alike. The design language of the 144 is controlled, and the straight lines promote both interior space and all-round visibility.

Naturally, the picture is arranged. But, we are expected to understand that the owners of the 144 are standing next to the red Amazon. It's hard to know how much to read into the fact that the Amazon owner is wearing a hat, while the 144 owner is bareheaded. But, it is clear to see who is the most fashion conscious. In order for the man behind the wheel of the Amazon to be clearly visible, the left door mirror has probably been removed; a small mark can be seen at the ventilation grille. The 144 is also missing its door mirrors, at least on the right side.

In autumn 1966, Amazon is still the best-seller of the Volvo programme. It is also the only choice available for people wanting a two-door body or an estate car since the newcomer is still only available in a four-door model. Amazon is undergoing continuous development. The 1967 model has a new grille and a closed cooling system. It will be manufactured for three more years, giving it a lifespan of 14 years. The 140 series lasted just eight years, but lives on to a great deal in its successor the 240, which is not discontinued until 1993.