While most people would think about the beautiful rain forest, we as motorheads we’re actually discussing the model that introduced Volvo to the international stage it’s so found of now.
Back in 1956 the Swedish brand introduced the Amazon sedan, a model unlike any other it had produced until then – the PV444 predecessor not only had an uninspiring name but it was actually uninspiring in general. Meanwhile, the Amazon was classy and great looking, taking cues from the international competitors such as the Italian and American rivals. Jan Wilsgaard, a 26-year old designer penned the styling and the executive went on as Volvo’s chief designer – he was present with the company into the 1990s. The Amazon name – which was actually inspired by the female warriors of Greek mythology – sparked rights issues so it was alternatively named 121 or 122 in certain markets. Both versions had a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder B18 engine, with a bit more power on the 122.
Starting 1958 the Amazon Sport was also present, packing a twin-carb engine making 85 horsepower (63 kilowatts), and from 1962 onwards families could also go about in the wagon version, complimenting the two and four-door sedans. The sports saloon appeared in 1967 with the 123GT which had 115 hp (86 kW). The Amazon was very successful in export markets, which took 60 percent of sales, and the model remained in production until 1970, even as the 140 series appeared in 1966.