Volvo 240 - a Swedish icon turns 40
On 21 August 1974, the Volvo 240 was shown to the media for the very first time. The model series would become an unprecedented success for Volvo and around 2.8 million would be produced over the course of 19 years.
1974 was a big year for Sweden. In the spring ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo, an 18 year old Björn Borg trounced the tennis elite, and Volvo presented one of its most important models ever.
On 21 August the media got to see and drive the new car for the first time. The journalists were flown by chartered plane from Volvo's head office at Torslanda to the little town Borlänge, where a row of Volvo 244 GLs were waiting for them. Each and every one had an orange paint job very typical of the time - with orange interiors to boot.
The Volvo 240 was a development of the 140 series, but a lot had changed. The innovations were primarily at the front, its appearance was greatly inspired by the VESC safety car that had been presented two years earlier. Most prominent of all were the large bumpers - the car was a total of 13 cm longer than the 140 series. The characteristic lattice headrests were among the new additions to the interior.
The newly developed B21 engine came in a 97 hp carburettor version and a 123 hp fuel injection version. The front of the car was a new design using MacPherson struts and rack and pinion steering.
In October 1974 production of the more exclusive 260 series, which originally came in two versions, DL and GL, began. The 264 had a new 2.7 litre, 140 hp V6 engine. The engine called B27 was built in Douvrin in northern France and was the result of a partnership between Volvo, Renault, and Peugeot.
During its production period, the Volvo 240 was made available with a variety of engine options. A world première that was introduced with the 1979 model was a car with a six-cylinder diesel engine developed in partnership with Volkswagen. The diesel engine was also available as a five-cylinder version in select markets. The 1981 model saw the launch of the 244 turbo with 155 hp. The huge sensation, however, came a bit later in the form of the 245 turbo wagon - the first series production estate car with petrol turbo.
Through the years, the Volvo 240 was produced in a range of different versions. In addition to two, four, and five door versions, there was also an exclusive coupé version, the 262C, built by Italian firm Bertone, producing a total of 6622 cars between 1977 and 1981. At the other end of the size scale was the 264TE and the 245T, both of which were extended by 70 cm. The 264 Top Executive was a luxurious limousine edition, and the 245 Transfer was an extra large estate, which was, among other things, used for school transportation in rural areas.
A world first in environmental terms came in the autumn of 1976. Volvo made its first delivery of cars in the 200 series with three-way catalytic converters and Lambda sensors to California. The Lambda sensor meant that 90 per cent of the harmful gases such as hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides disappeared in the catalytic converter. In 1977 Volvo won the American National Environmental Industry Award. In 1978 the Volvo 240 was named the USA's cleanest car by the California Air Resources Board.
The Volvo 240 Turbo would also become a successful race car. The biggest title was secured in 1985 when Thomas Lindström and Gianfranco Brancatelli won the European Touring Car Championship, ETC.
The Volvo 240/260 received a number of awards for its safety. In the UK Volvo was awarded the Don Safety Trophy for its traffic safety promotion initiatives and designs above and beyond legal requirements. In 1976 the Volvo 240 was chosen as the standard for continued safety work by the USA's Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA. For four years at the end of the 1980s, the Volvo 240 estate was the safest car of its size in the USA according to the Highway Loss Data Institute.
The Volvo 240 has become a collector's car, with the turbo being in particular demand among enthusiasts, with ever increasing prices being paid for more commonplace models in good condition. The availability of spare parts is good, and it is still possible to buy many parts through Volvo, with the range of newly produced components steadily increasing.
The Volvo 240 was also produced in Kalmar and in the Belgian city of Ghent. The final car rolled off the line at the Torslanda plant in Gothenburg on 5 May 1993. The model had by then survived for longer than anyone could have imagined 19 years earlier.
Volvo CEO Pehr G Gyllenhammar handed over the keys to the final 240 to be sold to the customer in a special ceremony. Pehr G Gyllenhammar had himself had several custom-built 240s as company cars, and at the ceremony he said: "We have had the world's safest car, one of the most worthwhile cars to buy, and a car that is already living legend and will be even more of one in the years to come."
The Volvo 200 series is to date the company's most produced model, with 2,685,171 240s built, and 177,402 260s. In total, 2,862,573 cars were built between 1974 and 1993.
Vestas Wind Systems completes Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 line-up
ALICANTE, Spain, August 12, 2014 – Vestas, the world’s leading wind energy company, was today announced as the seventh and final boat for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.
Six-time world champion Chris Nicholson, who will be contesting his fifth race, will skipper the boat and work is already well underway to ready the Danish company’s team for the race start in October.
“It’s an honour to be skipper of Team Vestas Wind. They have unmatched expertise in harnessing the power of wind and together we can use our knowledge to take on this challenge,” said Nicholson who has twice represented Australia in the Olympics.
Two Danes, Nicolai Sehested and Peter Wibroe, will feature in the eight-man crew. Sehested, 24, is among the youngest from his country to have competed in the race.
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad believes that Team Vestas Wind – the first ever Danish boat to enter the race – is a perfect fit. “Vestas is a global company which is completely focused on wind energy and making the world a cleaner place for generations to come,” he said.
“Overall, I’m delighted that we will have seven teams on the start line, all racing the brand new Volvo Ocean 65 one-design boats, a concept that was introduced only two years ago.”
Vestas has built up a powerful reputation for its wind technologies, products and services. It began manufacturing wind turbines in 1979 and has become a market leader in the area.
"Wind is our business and our passion. The Volvo Ocean Race is the ideal platform for us to engage with our customers, showcase our technology and strengthen our brand in some of our most important markets. This supports our new corporate strategy ‘Profitable Growth for Vestas’”, said Anders Runevad, Group President & CEO at Vestas Wind Systems.
Team Vestas Wind will join Team SCA, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Dongfeng Race Team, Team Brunel, Team Alvimedica and a Spanish team whose title sponsor has yet to be announced, on the start line.
The boat will face its first test on water in mid-August as the crew prepares to sail the 2,000 nautical miles qualifying distance, a pre-requisite of joining the Volvo Ocean Race which starts with the In-port race in Alicante on October 4.
Every single day, Vestas wind turbines deliver clean energy that supports the global fight against climate change. Wind power from Vestas’ more than 51,000 wind turbines currently reduces carbon emissions by over 60 million tons of CO2 every year, while at the same time building energy security and independence.
Vestas has delivered wind energy in 73 countries, providing jobs for around 16,000 passionate people at our service and project sites, research facilities, factories and offices all over the world. With 52 per cent more megawatts installed than our closest competitor and more than 60 GW of cumulative installed capacity worldwide, Vestas is the world leader in wind energy.
We invite you to learn more about Vestas by visiting our website at www.vestas.com
The Volvo Ocean Race
- The next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will be the 12th running of the 40-year-old event, which started in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race.
- The race will start on October 4, 2014, day of the first In-Port Race in Alicante, Spain, and finish with one last In-Port Race on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, the Swedish home of Volvo.
- The 38,739-nautical mile route will include stopovers in Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Newport (Rhode Island, US), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France). A 24-hour pit-stop in The Hague is scheduled between France and Sweden.
- The next two editions will be contested in a new high-performance boat, the Volvo Ocean 65, designed by Farr Yacht Design in the United States and built by a consortium of boatyards in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Switzerland.
- The new 65-foot (19.8-metre) monohull racing yachts will be strictly one-design and delivered “ready to sail”. The boats incorporate the latest video, satellite and content production facilities to further enhance the Onboard Reporter programme that has been in place since 2008-09.
- Seven teams have been announced including Vestas today. The all-female Team SCA are the first all-women's team to compete in the race since 2001-02. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are once again skippered Britain's twice Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker. Dongfeng Race Team come from China and are backed by Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle. Team Brunel from the Netherlands are skippered by race veteran Bouwe Bekking. Team Alvimedica with a double flag Turkey/USA are the latest to confirm participation. The youth challenge will be lead by All American Ocean Racing. A Spanish team was announced last month. Its main title sponsor has yet to be revealed.
- The previous Volvo Ocean Race started in October 2011 in Alicante and was won by Groupama sailing team, skippered by Frenchman Franck Cammas, in July 2012.
All-new XC90 will be the first Volvo built on the company’s new Scalable Product Architecture
Volvo’s all-new XC90 – which will be revealed in two weeks’ time in Stockholm – will be the first car in its range to be built on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) modular chassis technology developed in-house.
SPA has been under in-house development at Volvo for the past four years and is the cornerstone of the company’s ongoing 11 billion dollar transformation plan. It will be introduced with the all-new XC90 and then rolled out across the product range in future.
The benefits of SPA are twofold. First, the flexibility of SPA liberates Volvo’s engineers and designers, allowing them to devise and introduce a wide range of new and alluring design features while also improving driveability, introducing world-first safety features, offering the latest connected car technologies and creating more interior space.
“SPA and the XC90 are firm evidence of our Volvo-by-Volvo strategy. The XC90’s outstanding combination of luxury, space, versatility, efficiency and safety will bring the SUV segment into a new dimension, just as the original XC90 did in 2002,” said Dr. Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research and Development of Volvo Car Group.
Secondly, SPA will change the way Volvo builds cars in future by allowing a wide range of cars, powertrains, electrical systems and technologies – all of differing complexity – to be fitted on the same architecture, generating significant economies of scale.
“SPA gives us a fresh technological start. Around 90 percent of the components in the all-new XC90 and upcoming models are new and unique. We are raising the bar to the very top of the premium league when it comes to the quality and technology level in every vital area,” said Mertens.
More freedom for designers
SPA offers more design possibilities than ever in areas such as wheelbase, overhang, vehicle height and the height of the front of the vehicle.
“This has created greater freedom for us to design cars with a confident stance, dynamic proportions and a number of distinctive design signatures. Our three recent concept cars have demonstrated this capability. Even though the all-new XC90 is an entirely different type of car, you will recognize the connection instantly when it is revealed in two weeks,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design of Volvo Car Group.
Outstanding driving pleasure and flexibility
The new SPA chassis technology reduces weight and improves weight distribution, improving driving pleasure without compromising on ride comfort.
SPA also allows for far more flexibility inside the car. The all-new XC90 features innovatively designed seats that free up interior space for passengers in the second and third rows, helping make the all-new XC90 a genuine seven-seater.
The sliding function on all seats in the second row can be used to create more legroom for passengers in the third row – or to increase loading capacity. The seats in the third row offer class-leading comfort for passengers up to 5 feet 7 inches tall.
“SPA has enabled us to create the world’s first no-compromise SUV,” said Mertens. “You get the agility of a much smaller and lower car, an in-command feel and generous interior space, plus an adrenaline rush delivered by powertrains that offer an unrivalled combination of power and low emissions. Of course, it carries the Volvo badge, meaning world-class safety is standard.”
Unrivalled combination of power and fuel efficiency
The all-new XC90 offers a range of Drive-E engine options, all of which provide an outstanding combination of performance and fuel-efficiency. This modular family of two-liter, four-cylinder engines has several levels of turbocharging to cover the whole range from high power and torque variants to fuel-efficient versions. The 316 hp, T6 supercharged and turbocharged gasoline engine will be offered in the U.S.
The top-of-the-range XC90 T8 twin engine plug-in hybrid combines a two-liter, four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged engine with an electric motor and offers an unrivalled combination of power and clean operation – around 400 horsepower with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of around 60 g/km (NEDC driving cycle). This will make it the only 7-seat plug-in hybrid SUV available in the U.S.
SPA is also able to integrate electrification at all levels without intruding on interior space or load space. Other carmakers have struggled to combine the bulk of a battery pack with a luxurious and spacious interior, something that Volvo has managed to overcome with SPA.
Improved safety without compromises
SPA helps make it possible for Volvo to bolster the company’s world-leading reputation for safety without compromising on design, size or weight. Thanks to the extensive use of high-strength boron steel, SPA cars can be made more compact and safer at the same time.
SPA also includes an innovative electrical architecture that elevates the car’s intelligence level significantly. It is designed to make it easy to integrate new technology within fast-moving areas such as microprocessor, sensor and camera technology. This facilitates the introduction of new accident-preventing safety solutions – and enables rapid introduction of new multimedia and connectivity options.
“We have created a single nerve system with full control over all the connections in the vehicle. This is unique in the industry,” said Mertens.
In addition to the significant product-related advantages of the scalable architecture there are also industrial benefits.
SPA allows Volvo to develop a model range consisting of cars based on the same joint modules and interfaces, scalable systems and components and built in a flexible production system. This means all Volvo models from the 60-cluster upwards can be built on the same production line irrespective of complexity.
The new face of Volvo: ‘Thor’s Hammer’ running lights
Today, for the first time, Volvo is revealing images of the front end or ‘face’ of the all-new XC90 SUV, which is distinguished by its T-shaped running lights, christened ‘Thor’s Hammer’ by the design team after the shape of the hammer used by the famous Norse god of thunder Thor.
“Anyone who looks in their rear-view mirror is going to know immediately that there is a new XC90 behind them,” said Ingenlath. “The XC90 is a car that has presence on the road.”
Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, (www.volvocars.com/us) is a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group of Gothenburg, Sweden. VCNA provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to Volvo automobile retailers in the United States. For more information please refer to the VCNA media website at: http://www.media.volvocars.com/us and follow Volvo’s blog at: www.volvoblog.us.