Here are nine of Volvo's greatest hits

01 Volvo P1900

Otherwise known as the Volvo Sport, the Fifties P1900 was a glorious looking fibreglass-bodied roadster. Volvo co-founder Assar Gabrielsson was supposedly inspired by the Chevrolet Corvette, but it was so poorly put together that only 68 were ever built. Just look at it, though.

02 Volvo P1800 + 1800ES

A successor to the P1900 despite the non-numerical naming strategy, the P1800 was a wonderfully styled coupe that went on sale between 1961 and 1973. The ES version was even cooler – a two-door shooting brake with an all-glass rear hatch.

03 Volvo 245 Turbo

“The world’s first estate car with a turbo engine,” claims Volvo proudly. The 245 Turbo arrived in September 1980, cementing the Swedish carmaker’s reputation as a maker of fine estates. We’ve been obsessed with fast wagons ever since. Great work, Volvo.

04 Volvo 262C


The V6-engined 262C was actually designed and built by Italian design house Bertone in Turin. Aimed at the US market, the gloriously kitted out coupe was initially only available in silver with its stumpy little roof wrapped in black vinyl. Certainly striking, isn’t it?

05 Volvo 480


Yep, the 480 really was a Volvo hatch with pop-up headlights. Launched in the late Eighties, it was the Swedish firm’s first ever front-wheel drive production car. Volvo even had plans to make a convertible, but neither that or the proposed targa passed the concept stage.

06 Volvo 850 T-5R

The limited run T-5R – along with its production successor the 850 R – is perhaps the most recognisable car from Volvo’s back catalogue. It was a proper performance car despite the boxy shape too – Porsche helped tune the turbocharged five-cylinder to produce 240bhp.

07 Volvo XC90 V8

Volvo – a fine purveyor of all that is safe and sensible – really did used to sell an XC90 with a burbly V8 engine shoehorned in. And a transversely mounted V8 at that. And yes, it was the Yamaha-built engine that Noble also used at the time in the M600 sports car.

08 Volvo C30 Polestar Performance Concept Prototype

Before it became an EV offshoot, Polestar was a proper race team competing in Swedish touring cars. This C30 concept showed how good its engineers really were, with 399bhp from a Ford Focus RS-sourced 2.5-litre turbo five-cylinder.

09 Volvo S60/V60 Polestar

Polestar built another Performance Concept in 2012, this time based on the S60 saloon. It could have been a proper BMW M3 rival with its six-speed manual gearbox, Haldex all-wheel drive system, Öhlins suspension and a 500bhp straight-six. What a shame.

TEXT TopGear

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