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Happy 60th Anniversary Volvo Amazon

2016 has been a year of anniversaries for Volvo. Within the past few months, the automaker has celebrated the 25th anniversary of the 850 and the 50th of the 140 series. Now comes a big and important anniversary.
Posted: September 7, 2016 - 11:38AM
Author: Will Maley

September 2016 marks the 60th or diamond anniversary of the Amazon, one of Volvo's iconic and important models.

It was the first weekend of September of 1956 that Volvo introduced the Amazon in Örebro, Sweden. The design was unlike any other Volvo before it with influences being drawn from American, British, and Italian cars. The man behind the design was 26-year old Jan Wilsgaard. Wilsgaard who sadly passed away before the Amazon's anniversary at age 86 would go on to become Volvo's head of design and pen the 140, 240, and 700 series - a group of vehicles that are considered icons in their own right.

Volvo only used Amazon nameplate in Nordic markets. Other markets got the 121, 122 (sport model), 221 (wagon), and 222 (wagon with an optional engine). Why? A German moped and motorcycle builder Kreidler launched a moped named Amazon. The two were able to work out an agreement where Volvo could use Amazon in certain markets.

Here are some important Amazon milestones:

  • 1958: Amazon Sport launched with 85 horsepower. This is due to the four-cylinder getting twin SU carburetors and a new camshaft
  • 1959: The three-pointed seatbelt became standard on all Amazons
  • 1962: Amazon wagon was launched
  • 1967: 123 GT model is launched. Featured a 115 horsepower engine from the 1800S sports car.
  • 1970: Volvo ends production of the Amazon with the final one heading into the company's museum. In 14 years, Volvo produced 667,791 Amazons.

Before we wrap up this story, there is an interesting story to the Amazon that needs to be shared. Volvo was planning to offer a V8 engine for the Amazon. The engine in question was an evolved V8 from a truck. Reportedly, Volvo built five prototypes of Amazon V8s before management pulled the plug. Their reasoning? The Amazon had no six-cylinder engine and the leap from a four to eight-cylinder was determined to be a bit much.

Pic Credit: Volvo