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Volvo Amazon. Vilken fantastic buttock!

ER Classics Desktop 2022

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.


bravery

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.

Essence

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!

14 Comments

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  1. I drove a Volvo for twelve years, six with an Amazon and the rest with a 144 from 1973, which was a deluxe but my preference is still the Amazon great car.

  2. Of the 18 cars (excluding the MG-B) I now own the 10th Volvo. 2x 340, 1x 360, 1x 940, 1x V50, 1x XC70 and 4x V70, both LPG and petrol, the diesel drives the most pleasantly. Little extra maintenance, only 1x defect on the air conditioner. At high speeds of approx. 200 km/h, always safe and good steering. Many miles together. I will continue to drive Volvo as long as I can. The next maybe a Recharge type, the C40 is a nice mobile.

  3. Although I have only been driving a Renault for about 50 years and can therefore say little about it, I have introduced a Volvo PV90H in the 444s. Renault and Volvo had the plan to merge, but the Swedish shareholders did not like this…. I already saw an Espace with a nice engine… But the PV has been in my possession for a few weeks now and I don't see any optical changes to the car, I myself will have a wrinkle here and there, but the Volvo is still a while smooth as then. I also entered some Amazons, really searched for enthusiasts and through my Swedish knowledge I always managed to find something special and good. I myself have some regrets about a special blue Amazon that also went to an enthusiast, beautiful car, own sound and really -strong stuff-….. Nice Volvo story!

    vp 54

  4. In order not to have to drive 12 km to and from work with the engine at -40 degrees in the winter, I bought an old barrel of a not real Volvo. A 340. What was meant to be one winter turned into 6 winters. I had to replace the front cover because the brown plague had struck mercilessly on the 83er 340. But it ended up being one of the nicest cars I've ever owned. Serviceable through wind and weather. Although I have to get the 340 out of a very dangerous skid due to the freezing road surface. A rear-wheel drive has its 'properties'……
    Although it was not a 'real' Volvo. When I hear one, I still turn around or go and see it in a parking lot.

  5. I always read your newsletters with great interest. Recently I was looking back at photos of my visit to the European Handball Championship in Gothenburg in 2016. This Volvo was standing in the arrivals hall. The connoisseurs will know what type of Volvo this is and who drove it. I thought it would be nice to share this with you.

    IMG 3514

  6. yes beautiful that Amazons and me vil de r groage have in it.
    Have a look at a large Austin or Wolseley Farina 6 cylinders, they should still be there, otherwise an early Lancia Flavia. Oh, those are my generation's cars. By the way, you can go ahead for the time being, Borgward Isabella, Fiat 130, Ford P7 26M, Opel Commodore etc.etc.

  7. I drove Volvo for years. In total I have had 7, of the 244 – 242-740. I always did the maintenance myself and when they had run 500000 km I bought another one, always a used one. The Volvo has always been my favorite car, especially when I was still working and driving more than 100000 km per year. Am long retired and now have a small economical car, but the nostalgia certainly remains now that my son also drives Volvo.

  8. I too think an Amazon is desirable.
    However, You state “”Sober and sporty nature. This is especially evident in the large Volvos from the seventies, eighties and nineties.”
    ==> Unfortunately that is not my experience.
    Explanation: Around '85-'90 I drove a Volvo 245 and also a 745.
    Sporty? - Not at all; At a little cloverleaf bend it started to slide behind. On two-lane or four-lane roads: A steering correction every 50 meters.
    So the passive safety was fine, but the active safety was lacking.
    After discussions about (again) the amount of garage bills, two Volvos were immediately exchanged for 2 Renaults.
    The 21 Nevada in particular offered at least as much space as a 245, lay like a rock on the road, was much more economical and I never had to make steering corrections like Volvo.
    Again, I also like an Amazon. But only when Volvo came up with a front-wheel drive 850, these bins became more sporty and therefore more interesting.
    vr.gr, Ruud K

    • Dear Ruud. Thanks for the response. 'Sober and sporty nature' is the paragraph title, but I understand that you read it that way. Later on, however, I write that an Amazon also added a form of sportsmanship. As a rule, the larger seventies, eighties and nineties did indeed have that less or almost none. Also great cars by the way.

      Sincerely,

      Erik van Putten

  9. The pleasure of driving a car can certainly influence luxury and sophistication as with Italian cars nice to compare a volvo with a maserati I would like to know

  10. Especially the good and affordable availability of parts and the many specialists in NL ensure that these cars remain usable. you can still buy new fenders from an Amazon or PV in 2021 (sometimes you have to search, but they are there)
    An Opel from the 50s is also good and strong, but no longer really usable on a regular basis due to the lack of parts.

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