5 February 2018
More than an old car #53: Volvo Amazon/122S
Previously, I discussed about the sturdy Volvo 240 series and how it cemented it's reputation as a tank in disguise. Volvo has a longer history than most of us think and I was pleasantly surprised to see this pristine 1966 Volvo Amazon 122S out of the blue!
The Volvo Amazon was first produced in 1956 and it took styling cues from US cars from the 1950s. For example, it had visible tailfins and pronounced "shoulders" [the surface between the top part and slightly below the side windows]. Originally, it was named the "Amason", which was derived from the female amazon warriors in Greek mythology. However, the German bike manufacturer Kreidler had launched a moped called the Amazone and had claimed sole right to the name. As a result, Volvo was only allowed to use the 'Amazon' name on in the Nordic markets--it was known in export markets as the less remarkable 122.
The Amazon/122 was available as a 4-door sedan, 2-door coupe and a 5-door station wagon. It was equipped with three-point seatbelts, and was the first car in the world to do so. A unique feature was that the handbrake was located right beside the driver's door, as it was anticipated that this would free up more space. The 122S was powered by a 1778cc inline-4 engine and mated to a 4-speed manual transmission, allowing it to reach a top speed of 148km/h with an acceleration of 14.4 seconds [0-60mph]. It weighed 1090kg and was 4.45m long.
Production ended in 1970, with more than 234,000 4-door sedans made. The Amazon has gained classic status, notwithstanding its visually pleasing shape, its excellent performance and its reliability despite its age. This specimen seems to be the only one in Singapore and it is up for sale. It seems to have its original registration number plate, giving it a nice vintage touch. Volvo may have a reputation for being driven by boring people eg lecturers and writers, but it is never boring driving a vehicle with so much character. This is one car that will turn more heads than the newer models today!