A-Z Of Marques: Volvo

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The marque: Synonymous with middle-class motoring throughout the civilised world. Lib Dems on wheels. Means "I roll" in Latin

The marque: Synonymous with middle-class motoring throughout the civilised world. Lib Dems on wheels. Means "I roll" in Latin.

The history: The first Volvo rolled off the production line at Göteborg, Sweden, in 1927. Volvo's efforts were helped by the country's growing engineering industry (it was a world leader in ball-bearings), which provided financial backing, componentry and skilled labour for the new enterprise. The OV4 tourer and PV4 saloon sold about 1,000 examples in two years. The first post-war car, the PV444, had monocoque construction, independent front suspension and an overhead-valve engine, so was quite up to date. The improved PV544 followed in 1958, but the real success was the 1956 120 model, commonly known as the "Amazon". It was joined by the sporty coupé P1800 in the 1960s. The 120's successors, the the 144 and 240 series, were even bigger hits, especially in export markets, although endowed with "tank" or snow-plough-like styling. By now, Volvos had gained the reputation for durability and secondary safety that was to underpin sales for many years. A takeover of Daf in 1975 brought new, smaller models such as the 340 into the line-up. The Volvo XC90 is the fashionable 4x4 of today. Volvo Car Corporation was acquired by Ford in 1999 and newer models share some of their DNA with equivalent contemporary Fords.

Defining model: The 240.

They say: "For life."

We say: Roll on.

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