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Little Classics Feature: 9 February 2016

Volvo: A Historic Family of Estates

Volvo PV 445 Duett

Few car companies can claim the same pedigree as Volvo when it comes to the design and manufacture of family estates. So with their newest estate, the V90, launching this month, we look back at the family tree of classics that make Volvo so iconic in this sector.

Volvo Duett

Volvo Duett estate

Launched in 1953, the Duett went on to become one of the most loved models ever, was one of the first Volvos to be exported to the United States, and it was even immortalised in 1997 by getting its own Swedish postage stamp.

Volvo PV445 Duett, 1958

Volvo Amazon

Volvo P220 Amazon

The Duett was followed in 1962 by the Amazon, or the 221 as it was officially known. The Amazon was a significantly more elegant and refined estate than the Duett, which had its origins as a delivery van, while it also offered more space in the boot.

Volvo 221 Amazon

The S model, which offered a full 115 hp, was an incredibly sporty car by the standards of the 1960s. The boot door was an American-style two-split version – a solution that would return 40 years later on the original XC90.

Volvo 1800 ES

Volvo 1800 ES

A refresh of the 1800 sports coupe, the 1800 ES was known in England as a shooting brake: a sporty estate with space for hunting gear or golf clubs in the back.

Volvo 1800 ES

The 1800 ES was introduced in the autumn of 1971, with its most exciting feature possibly being the huge rear window that had no bezel whatsoever. Hinges and handles were fixed directly to the glass, which was very modern in the early 1970s.

Volvo 1800 ES

Since only a little more than 8,000 1800 ES models were built, it has become one of the most sought-after classic Volvo cars. The 1800 ES was also a clear source of inspiration for the Volvo Concept Estate, which was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 2014 as a precursor to a new family of Volvo estates.

Volvo 245

Volvo 245 DL

In 1974, the archetypal Volvo estate car was launched: the 245. It is a car that is still strongly associated with the brand. It remained in production for almost 20 years until 1993, and was also available in a more exclusive edition – the 265 with a V6 engine.

Volvo 245

The 1980s marked the launch of the 245 Turbo edition, the world’s first estate car with a turbo engine.

Volvo 245 Turbo

Volvo 960

Volvo 960

The Volvo 960 was the final rear-wheel-drive estate car produced by Volvo as a development of the 700 series from the 80s.

Volvo 960

It was introduced in 1990, featuring smoother body lines and a brand-new six-cylinder engine. In 1996, its name was changed to the V90 – a name that now returns exactly 20 years later.

Volvo 850 T5-R

Volvo 850 T5-R

With its intense yellow paint job, 240 hp engine and 0-62 mph acceleration in 6.9 seconds, the Volvo 850 T5-R was an estate car like no other ever seen before. Launched as a limited-edition, model year 1994-only version of the 850, the T5-R became an instant collector's item and a genuine modern classic.

Volvo 850 BTCC

The Volvo 850 also caught the eye on the race track. It took Europe’s racing scene by storm in 1994 when it debuted in the prestigious British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) as the first factory-entered racing estate.


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