No less than nine decades ago, on April 14, 1927 to be more precise, the very first Volvo – with no roof and a wooden frame – was presented to the world.
Now the Gothenburg manufacturer considers the start of XC60 production this month as something of a celebration for the milestone. “Volvo is very proud of its history. The past 90 years have been exciting, but the 10 years left until the 100-year anniversary may come to be more exciting as industry focus shifts to autonomous driving, electrification and connectivity,” says Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars. “The new XC60 is in many ways the embodiment of these trends.” The original Volvo was the ÖV4, which literally meant Öppen Vagn or open carriage in plain English. The number four was the car’s 1.9-liter side-valve four-cylinder engine, which came with a three-speed gearbox and mounted on a wooden frame made from ash and beech trees.
The ÖV4 had a total of 28 horsepower, good for a maximum speed of 56 miles per hour – being without a roof in Sweden is not exactly a perk though. So it was built in just 275 units from 1927 to 1929. Meanwhile the first generation of the XC60 enjoyed a huge sales success – at one time being the best-selling premium mid-size SUV in Europe. The second one ups the ante with a stylish exterior, a completely new architecture and a flagship hybrid version T8 with 407 horsepower.