When it comes to making estates, Swedish car maker Volvo knows a bit more than most. We’re huge fans of these Scandinavian workhorses here at Honest John Classics. So as the firm takes the covers off its new V90 load-lugger, we thought we’d take a look back at some of Volvo’s great estates from the past 60 year.
Launched in 1953, the Duett was based on the Volvo PV. It was an instant hit and set the standard for future Volvo estates. In fact, it was one of the first Volvos to be exported to the United States. Such was its popularity that it was immortalised in 1997 by getting its own Swedish postage stamp.
After the Duett, came the Amazon. Or rather the 221 as it was officially known. Launched in 1962, the Amazon estate was more elegant and refined than the Duett. The twin-carb S model boasted 115bhp and was a pretty sporty model by 1960s standards. The boot door was an American-style two-split version.
Based on the 1800 sports coupe, the 1800ES was more of a shooting brake – a sporty estate with space for hunting gear or a set of golf clubs in the back… rather than a sofa. Introduced in 1971 (happy 55thbirthday, by the way), it is perhaps best known for that huge glass rear window.
Arguablly the archetypal Volvo estate, the Volvo 245 was launched in 1974 and can still be seen in regular service. Not that surprising when you remember it was in production until 1993. When bolting a turbocharger to everything became popular in the 1980s, Volvo got in the act with the mighty 245 Turbo – a car that we sadly never got in the UK.
Volvo had a go at replacing the 240 series with the 700 which, although a fine car, was still essentially an Amazon underneath with Mk1 versions still coming with overdrive. The company had another go with the 900, which bosted a much more modern BMW-inspired rear suspension. The 960 was the final rear-wheel-drive estate car produced by Volvo.
Volvo 850 T5-R
With its distinctive yellow paint job, 240bhp engine and 0-62mph 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 hit. It was also the car that took part in the 1994 British Touring Car Championship with a little help from Tom Walkinshaw. Yep – it was the first factory-entered racing estate. Genius.