20 years Volvo C70 - Crate off, play drive on

Swedish cars of the 90s: angular, solid, safe. But also boring, unsportsmanlike and a little unimaginative. This cliché may be true, after all, such views are no coincidence. But there is one model that doesn't fit into this category at all: the Volvo C70. Like this one small Gallic village, the coupé or convertible defies blinkered thinking and combines the typical Swedish virtues with sporty, elegant lines. The pretty four-seater is something like the designer suit among the solid gray single-breasted suits.

Crate away, play instinct: that was the motto under which the Volvo C70 1996 was constructed. The credo is derived from the box-shaped rear end of the then Volvo - mostly station wagon - and wants to attract the bon vivant among the customers. And he has done well, from today's point of view. No wonder, coupes and convertibles have always created a certain pull effect.

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Schönling from British pen: Ian Callum was heavily involved in the design process

It is also fitting that the C70 was designed slim and elegant. This does not stem directly from Volvo itself, but from the competition. The (conscious) young development team had to cancel their vacation and was sent to the south of France to deal with the way of life and the products of the mostly German competition. A hard bread. But it was a worthy successor to find the classic Volvo P1800 1961. But with the Volvo C70 was not only an extremely handsome coupe but also an equally attractive convertible. Here, the efforts to make a good figure, both open and closed, paid off completely.

Baroque today, but still handsome
Baroque today, but still handsome: the cockpit of the Volvo C70

Of course it is not. The Volvo 850 thus forms the technical basis - and it is by no means an excitingly drawn designer piece. But the cooperation with the British motorsport experts from Tom Walkinshaw Racing resulted in a real pearl. Many ideas and design details were created in the cooperation partner's barn, while the majority of the technical components came from Volvo itself. Nevertheless, the chief designer did not find the results of the cooperation good enough and brought a very special talent on board: Ian Callum. The Briton is known for numerous Jaguar and Aston Martin designs and had the requirement to leave out rough edges. This is how the arched roof emerged. But it wasn't easy for him either: the technical basis dictated the wheelbase and the proportions were therefore quite fixed.

Volvo C70: The boxy 850er as a base

But the result is impressive. Although the brand-typical front of the car was preserved for the Coupé and Cabriolet, it stands in pleasant contrast to the rest of the design. There was also a lot going on inside, comparing the C70 with the sedan base. The main focus was on numerous customization possibilities, which shows the wide range of equipment, high-quality materials and unusual colors. This makes almost every Volvo C70 unique.

According to the athletic demand, only turbo-charged engines pulled under the hood of Sweden. All with five cylinders and the typical crispy-warm sound that only these engines can spray. As a top model initially held a 2,3 liter five-cylinder - the T5 - which came from the Volvo 850R. With him ran the coupe 250 km / h, which is impressive for the offered 204 PS. Among them ranked an 2.4 with 193 PS as well as an 2.0, which made depending on version 163 to 225.

At the time, these elegant lines were not necessarily linked to a Volvo
At the time, these elegant lines were not necessarily linked to a Volvo

However, despite all the design hobby, the Swedes did not forget their core competencies: space and safety. Four passengers and their luggage are in good hands here. Especially since they are protected with all sorts of systems that were by that time far from self-evident. These include the typical side impact protection SIPS including side airbags as well as the whiplash protection WHIPS. The convertible is even joined by a rollover protection system that extends the roll bar sensor-controlled. A completely successful package that is currently available for manageable money. With proper care, this may even result in an investment.

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