It is a question I am regularly asked. “What do you think is the best car in history?” . Admittedly, that's a tricky one, because the answer depends on many factors. Besides, I'm not very sure about that sort of thing. But I still believe that I know which car I think is the best in history.
What is good? What are the criteria? You often hear that cars have gotten better over the years - or rather, the decades. Of course. In terms of power, rust prevention, aerodynamics, safety features, environment, equipment, technology and comfort, the car has of course always made strides. But when you consider aspects as a the highest possible age en daily usable in all areas side by side, you will get a different perception of the ranking of the best cars ever. I don't end up with very good cars from Germany or Japan, but I land in Sweden. More specifically: at Volvo.
The prowess of old Volvos naturally has a reputation in all modesty. The same applies to classic and semi-classic Volvos: good for enormous kilometers, often rock solid, rigidly constructed and safe. Every time I get behind the wheel of a classic or youngtimer Volvo, there is something that really appeals to me. Volvos were certainly built earlier with the following principle: cuddly function. The way older Volvos get under the skin is appallingly sober. Extremely strong materials, not a dash of chrome too much, operational reliability at its best, tough and shrink free constructions and a reassuring, hardly pretentious comfort. You will certainly come across this in the large Volvos from the seventies, eighties and nineties.
Sober and sporty character
However, its predecessors also provided a retrospective addition: a more sporty character. In particular, the PV544 and the Amazon (especially the 122 S) also put Volvo on the map in a sporting manner. And where the PV544 was already classic when it took over from the PV444, an Amazon still has something generalist today, no matter how classic the shapes are. With a PV544 you immediately turn around, an Amazon is so established as a classic that you may not even notice it sometimes.
The PV544 was good, the Amazon even better
The two Volvo models share a lot technically, and they were built side by side for nine years. The Amazon (rnickname, the official name changed over time outside Sweden) was, for example, more modern, even stiffer, more usable, had a greater range and slowly but surely became the focus of the Volvo program of yesteryear. That was certainly the case until the 140 series came in 1966.
An Amazon offers enough ease of use in itself. When you drive a 1965 or 1966 Amazon you don't even notice that it (except the Combi) lacks power brakes, that installation is so well done. Power steering is always welcome, but not necessary in an Amazon. In an Amazon (and in many predecessors and successors) you are never distracted from what really matters. Slick materials, gossamer Smiths gauges, carefully concealed sheet steel: you didn't have to ask for that at Volvo. That wasn't necessary either. You got an unheard of amount of safety, maturity, strength, balance and reliability in return. Down to earth quality with a good dash of sportiness. I noticed that in the Amazons I drove. Nothing distracted from what driving is really about. An Amazon can convey that cool essence very well. At the same time, he is impressively good. Nothing will go wrong here, just trust it.
Place of honor in history
These are facets that ensure that an Amazon is still very useful today. Especially with an LPG tank in the back, it is economically very good to keep on the road, and a little care and love will do the rest. Then an Amazon will last for a very long time. The last Amazon rolled off the production line in 1970, but this Volvo can still be used as a daily driver in all areas today. It hardly gets any more all-round. And I don't know anyone who finds it strange 51 years after the production stop to come across an Amazon in daily traffic. Logical. Because this is one of the best cars in history, especially when you relate the highest possible age of a car to daily usability. Vilken fantastic bil!