Turning the dice – 40 years of the Volvo 700 Series – Car Engine

Shorter than the original 200, the 700 didn’t weigh less on the scales than the original plans, but its engines were cleaner.

Throughout its history, Volvo has been in crisis on several occasions, but the Swedes have swept through the lows in a fabulous way. In the 70s, the people of Gothenburg had to face many challenges. Domestic production of the 200 series was too expensive to export at a good profit margin, and quality problems also tarnished its image. Nor could the 300 Series be proud of the Netherlands, so there was a need for a brand new, up-positioned model family to help regain customer confidence in the brand.

In 1985, in addition to the station wagon version, the Volvo 700 range was expanded with catalytic converter and traction control. The unusually proportioned 1980 VCC study car was made from more or less final elements. The angular interior that rhymes with the exterior is made special by Scandinavian ergonomics, and the level of comfort is enhanced by the center console facing the driver, among other things.

Work on the NV80 and NV81 projects, scheduled for the early 1980s, began two years after the 1973 oil crisis. This made it very difficult for the engineering team led by Hakan Frisinger and Hans Gustavsson to compile the features of the perfect Volvo based on experience from a poll. They needed more than just a reliable, long-lasting, and easy-to-repair car that was quiet and powerful while being economical, and imagined packed in a new look. The latter was taken at least as seriously as technical improvements. Italian design studios were also involved in the creation of the 20 different design plans, 8 of which were built, and finally the in-house designs by Jan Wilsgaard won. Among them, the management liked the ones that consisted of body parts that could be produced cheaper due to their angularity. There was a very limited financial framework for the implementation of large-scale plans. While there were 43,000 unsold cars in the U.S., the $ 1 million loan was rejected by the government, and the collaboration between Volvo and Saab hadn’t materialized, and if it hadn’t been depressing enough, it seemed increasingly to have their reserves in a large and they are being spent on developing a strong car while there was a growing demand for small cars in the market. At a key meeting in 1978, it was decided that the P31 project had cost too much money to give up at this point. It has since been referred to as 1155, referring to the constraint of time. They have decided to complete the development, but in the meantime, they will upgrade the 200 series and, if they are lucky, introduce a smaller (400) and a larger (850) series, thus ensuring their competitiveness.

With the van’s expandable boot from 992 liters to 2120 liters, few rivals were able to compete. The 1988 upgrade provided a galvanized body and multilink rear suspension for the 700

The necessary financial backing could have been provided by a large-scale intergovernmental agreement, as the Norwegians offered three unexplored oil fields on the continental shelf in exchange for a 40% stake, but Volvo’s shareholders did not agree to the deal, nor did the Norwegian parliament unanimously support the agreement. Meanwhile, the team conducted another survey, showcasing life-size models to ordinary people who weren’t even betrayed as a novelty brand, and selected the most popular version by analyzing their reactions. When the idea of ​​canceling the project came up again in 1979, Hakan Frisinger stood before management and told them they had no choice but to finish the job. That’s right, an experimental car called the VCC was introduced to the press and the public in 1980, and in the background, prototype peeling trials have already taken place around the world. Despite the financial difficulties, to the best of the Swedes’ knowledge, a novelty developed with heart and soul fell in February 1982, the first to be introduced, the 760. The trade press was shocked to report on the new Volvo, its square shape being associated with American cars, but the good quality, high equipment, affordable price and staggering performance of the test cars quickly made it attractive to skeptics as well. Not to mention the passive security that surrounded most of its rivals. From 1984 onwards, the 740, available with four-cylinder intake petrols, was offered at a better price than the series available with the turbo four-cylinder and intake V6 petrol and the in-line six-cylinder turbo diesel engine. In 1985, the range was expanded with a station wagon for family use, and in 1986 with a rare 780 coupe designed and manufactured by Bertone.

Exhibited at the 1985 Geneva Motor Show, the 780’s exterior was unique – Bertone’s first design was found to be too radical for Volvo, so the final version of the coupe was designed with Jan Wilsgaard involved. The 780 is a true luxury coupe that offers a sliding roof, electrically adjustable and heated leather seats, air conditioning, power steering and cruise control at a basic price.

The 700 Series lived up to its promise, raised the funds to continue, saved Volvo’s honor, and spread its reputation. By 1992, more than 1,230,000 specimens had been found on the farm, and at the end of their careers it was marketed as the 900 and then the S90 until 1998.


When they hear the name Volvo, most people associate it with safety, which is no wonder, as Swedish engineers have always been at the forefront of protecting passengers. This attractive feature often appeared in commercials, but the outstanding performance of the 700 was often emphasized in the U.S. market. In witty advertisements, it has been likened to a sports car towing a trailer, or even recommended for those who want to alleviate the gate-closing panic in a worthy way…

Source: Autó-Motor by www.automotor.hu.

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