Volvo owners from all over Europe gathered at an airfield in Leicestershire on Sunday.
Their aim? To break the record of single-make cars in a parade all in one place. The organisers did it in order to raise money for the charity Breast Cancer Care UK. To add to the occasion, they encouraged participants to attend wearing suitably Swedish-themed clothes at the same time. They aimed for at least 600 cars to attend the event and break the record. It was held at Bruntingthorpe, an airfield that is mostly used for high-speed car testing and storage today.
With over 700,000 Volvos on UK roads, the brand’s loyal owners answered the call in droves, and it certainly looks like the record was duly broken, with well over 1000 cars turning up. However, we won’t hear official confirmation from Guinness World Records for some weeks, Autocar understands.
The Volvos were in all shapes and sizes, from the very latest models to the Swedish company’s very earliest models from the 1930s. Let’s take a look at the highlights:
Volvo P1800S (1967)
This stylish 2+2 did more than anything to chance perception of Volvos in the 1960s. This S model featured a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine delivering 115bhp. It's perhaps most famous for being the chosen wheels future James Bond actor Roger Moore in the hit television series The Saint which aired from 1962-1969.
Volvo 244 DL (1977)
The 240 series became one of the most important cars that Volvo ever produced, and it manufactured around 2.8 million examples over 19 years. It won several global awards for its above-average safety features.
It had a variety of engine options, including a diesel co-developed with Volkswagen. It also came in a 97hp carburettor and 123hp fuel injection versions.
Volvo PV444 (1946-1958)
Influenced by American styling, the PV444 was the first small car developed by Volvo, in 1944. There was massive interest in the car when it was launched and Volvo produced around 200,000 units during its lifetime. The car featured an in-line, four-cylinder engine producing 85bhp. This car was the first Volvo to feature a unitary body without a separate frame.
Volvo S90 Nilsson Limousine (1990)
This S90 Limousine was built by the coachbuilder Nillsson which manufactured special vehicles based on Volvo cars. The car was available in four-door or six-door form and was based on the last production model of the S90. It was popular among embassies and luxury hotels, and was perceived as a discrete alternative to its German rivals.
Volvo S90 Nilsson Limousine
A closer look at this limo, surely the longest car at the event.
Volvo S90 Nilsson Limousine
It offers seating for eight.
Volvo V60 Polestar (2015)
This version of the V60 has been reworked by Polestar, Volvo’s performance arm. It's powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine which originally comes from the XC90 T8 hybrid but with the electric motors removed. A turbocharger and a supercharger have however been added, allowing the car to produce 362bhp, a 0-62mph time of 4.8sec and a (limited) top speed of 155mph.
Volvo 780 (1985-1990)
The 780 is an exclusive and elegant 2-door coupe that premiered in 1985. It was designed and built by Italian styling house Bertone, and based on the 760 saloon. Packaging denied it the PRV V6 engine it should have been perfect for, but it did get a lesser V6 instead.
It was also offered with a VW turbodiesel, but a turbo four-cylinder petrol engine arrived later. 8518 were sold, nearly all of them into the car’s main markets in the US and Europe. It was never officially sold in the UK – this particular example is a US import.
Volvo 480ES (1995)
The 480 series was Volvo’s first take on a front-wheel drive hatchback was nothing if not dramatic, with its wedge-shaped design, dramatic pop-up headlights and famous Volvo grille – in this case hidden under the front bumper making it barely visible. It was distinctive and unlike any other model in the Volvo line-up. It featured a four-cylinder engine which produced around 110bhp and was shared with the Renault 11. This particular late model is one of the last of the line.
Volvo Amazon 122S (1969)
The Volvo 120 Series also known as the ‘Amazon’ was introduced in 1956. The car caused a surprise because despite a relatively small engine, it had performance that could rival sports cars. It was first introduced as a four-door saloon, followed by a two-door coupe (pictured) and then an estate version.
It was certainly a popular car and boosted Volvo’s awareness in international markets. This lovely example was a very late example, produced just a year or so before production ended.
Volvo C30 AirRide (2006-2013)
This C30 is no ordinary one; it’s fitted with Air Lift Performance’s air suspension upgrades, complete with storage tank in the boot. With a push of a button, the ride height and stiffness can be adjusted from smooth to track-ready. The air spring has a 30-level adjustable damping and adjustable monotube struts.
Volvo 850 (1995)
The rather humble Volvo 850 received some much-needed street cred when Volvo enlisted racing car specialists TWR to run its British Touring car programme. This one sports a livery similar to the one used in the 1995 series, but with a ratrod twist.
Volvo C70 (1999)
Ian Callum had a hand in penning this sporty-looking Volvo from the late 1990s. The C70 was essentially a handbuilt-car produced in a factory that was set-up with consultancy help from TWR, and even had a starring role in the 1997 film reboot of The Saint. It’s probably the only good thing about that movie…
Volvo PV652 (1931)
The first car that Volvo produced in 1927 was an open-top car. Trouble was, it was launched in the middle of a Swedish winter so initial sales were slow. In a bid not to repeat past mistakes and court valuable sales in markets like America, the PV652 (like this one) was fitted with a closed body and a robust six-cylinder engine. This elder statesman of the Volvo universe was surely the star of this particular show...
Volvo Amazons (1956-1970)
These four Volvos come from the 120 Series, generally known as the ‘Amazon’. There are 3 variants of this model: a four-door saloon, a two-door coupe and an estate version. When the series was first launched it came with a ‘B16A’ engine producing 60bhp and later came in a more powerful version ‘B18A’ producing 75bhp and the ‘B18D’ producing 90bhp.
Volvo V90 Ambulance (2001)
This Volvo V90 has been converted from a family-friendly people mover into a fully-functioning ambulance. It can act as a fast, first responder thanks to its powerful 2.9-litre straight-six engine, or as a double-crew medical emergency vehicle. There’s even a heated Recaro racing seat in the back - perfect for fast-paced blue light runs.
Volvo V90 Ambulance
It’s a fully-equipped medical emergency vehicle, and is available for hire to attend events.
Volvo 240 GL (1981)
The 240 series was a very successful model for Volvo and it came in various versions. This is a face-lifted 240 GL which was first launched in 1981. It came with smaller bumpers and slightly modified design elements. The car had success in motorsport, winning the European Touring Car Championship.
Volvo V60 Cross Country (2019)
Volvo’s latest offering is a 'softroad' example of its handsome V60 estate car. The V60 Cross Country has an extra 60mm of ground clearance over the regular V60 and a part-time four-wheel drive system to provide additional traction in slippery situations. When not traversing muddy fields, it makes for a relaxing and comfortable on-road vehicle with surprisingly tidy handling. Nonetheless, we doubt it’s as capable off-road as the Volvo earth-moving behemoths behind it…
The V60’s no sports car - that’s for sure - but it is far more nimble than a bloated SUV and no less practical thanks to a decent sized boot and plenty of space inside.
Volvo 850 T5R (1995)
Wanting to inject some zing into the Volvo brand, its managers launched the high-performance limited-edition T-5R version in 1995. The uprated engine doled out 243bhp, mated to either a 4-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual transmission.
Perhaps the ultimate sleeper car, despite its slab-sided appearance it actually boasted a slippery drag coefficient of 0.29; it could nail 0 to 60 mph in 5.8sec off to a top speed of 152mph.
Volvo 740 GLE (1986)
While unlikely to get the pulse rating like the T5R, the 740 was most certainly a stately way of getting around in the mid-1980s. The model was produced between 1982 and 1992 and also spawned an estate and, as already seen, an intriguing coupe model never sold in the UK.
Volvo C30 R-Design (2010)
This car may have the look of a hot rod, but in fact it’s a stock R-Design variant. The C30 was something of an oddball in the Volvo family, not least because lurking underneath the car was a platform shared with the second-generation Ford Focus among certain other cars.
Sold between 2006 and 2013, the C30 was supposed to help move Volvo up a gear into a space well-filled by the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series premium hatchbacks. In reality neither German brand lost much sleep over the C30, and when it got canned it wasn’t directly replaced.