I'm starting off this work week with a couple of Swedes that I've encountered over the past month or so. That red pickup in the background will be for a future post. For now, AMAZON!
This little beauty is a Volvo Amazon. It turns out that when Volvo introduced this car the name Amazon was taken by a German motorcycle company, so Volvo only used the name within it's own country. For the rest of the world they called it the 120 Series.
These cars are noted for their reliability and practicality. Owners reported getting several hundred thousand miles out of their Amazons back when most cars were tired at 100K. They are simple to work on, well balanced, very well built, and really just a fantastic design overall. This one looks really great with that sweet spray can color & mag wheels.
These cars changed very little from their introduction in 1957 through the final year of 1970, but we can tell this one is at least from 1965 or newer due to the absence of a thick horizontal chrome bar bisecting the grills. One interesting detail is the universal front bumper; you can see how wide the indentation is to accommodate the wider license plates of many European countries.
I've had the pleasure of driving a couple of these over the years and they are an absolute blast! The fact that many are still chugging along, only asking for a bit of oil and some tightening here and there 44 years after production stopped is a testament to everything Volvo does right.
Now we move on to Amazon's sexier sister:
The Volvo P1800! This car was tough to shoot because it was behind 2 chain link fences; the old mesh one was beat so they elected to install a new fence directly over the first one making for almost-insurmountable cross hatching.
Beneath this slippery skin is the same Amazon as above. This act of creating an entirely different car with the same underpinnings is essentially what VW did with the Karmann Ghia (which was really a Beetle with an elegant body tacked on).
This example is identifiable as a 1967 model because the grill is made up of slightly thicker chrome bars than '66 and earlier, and from 1968 onward there were large orange side lights mounted on the front fenders next to the turn signals. Roger Moore drove one of these in some show according to somebody but who even remembers that he was anything except one of the Bonds from way back?
Hats off to the designers once again for making such a slippery, classy car! I would love to own either one of these fine machines for daily use, though finding rust-free examples in the Northeast is almost impossible. If anything their capability helps to thin their ranks as they are great cars in the snow. Any you encounter now are invariably owned and loved by folks who know exactly what they have and are proud of it.