2012 Volvo 760 - Only The Fittest Survive
Volvo 760 turns 30 - The car that saved Volvo Car Corporation
In February 1982 - 30 years ago - the new Volvo 760 GLE was launched. No typical Volvo, yet unmistakably a Volvo. Seen as elegant and exciting with its characteristic design it was well received. The 760 became the car that actually saved Volvo Car Corporation back then and paved the way to the modern company of today.
When the first plans for the new car were drawn up around 1975 the automotive industry in general was experiencing a lot of difficulties, and Volvo in particular. The first oil crisis had just passed and at Volvo, problems were rising regarding the build quality of the new Volvo 240. It was also a very difficult economic time for the company. It was expensive to build cars in the Torslanda plant, too expensive in fact, and it was no longer profitable to export them.
The 200-series was soon to be complemented with a new generation of smaller cars from the Dutch subsidiary Volvo Car BV, but at the same time a new large volume-seller for the 1980s was desperately needed. A car designed and built to meet the continuously higher demands for fuel efficiency, Exhaust emission control and safety that kept appearing. It was just as difficult to foresee what kind of car the customers of the 1980s would want.
A new way to tackle the task
The 760 was conceived in a time when conditions changed almost daily and in the company there were many strong and different opinions regarding the new car. There was no Internet to surf in order to broaden the views but Volvo made use of the best possible tool available at the time, a very thorough analysis of the surrounding world. Careful studies and large mental flexibility would lead the team on to the right track and along that track there was very little or no room for mistakes.
More car at less weight
It was decided that reliability, fuel efficiency, longevity, serviceability, low noise levels, design and performance in that order should guide the development work on the new project. It was also decided that rear-wheel drive should be employed, that the wheelbase should be 10 cm (4") longer than that of the 240. The car was also to be somewhat shorter than the 240 but have the same width and be 100 kg lighter. For cost reasons most of the technical content was to be carried over from the 200-series with only minor modifications. This was, for instance the case with transmissions, suspensions and many other system solutions. The exterior design, however, had to be brand new.
The project, which was now known as the P31, was subject to changes. The technical specifications were only finalized at about the same time as the final design was frozen. Choosing the right design is just as difficult and important as filling the car with the right technical content.
The introduction was initially planned for 1980 but was at this stage postponed until 1981.
Boxiness becomes a concept
There were many design proposals to consider, many of them from outside designers. Most of them were sedans but Volvo's head of design, Jan Wilsgaard, was more into a hatchback. The finance department, on the other hand, wanted a design with straight and flat surfaces, with angular lines, preferably 90 degrees, in order to reduce the production costs as much as possible,
In the end, the battle stood between the favourite of the marketing department and the engineering department alternative, when the sometimes very secretive Wilsgaard pulled an unknown contestant out of his sleeve. It was his own proposal which blended the properties in a different way: A car with a drawn out rear end in the estate fashion with straight body sides and with an abruptly cut-off rear, in other words a cut-back. This cut-back remained in the final discussions but eventually a modified version of it - a sedan with an almost vertical rear screen and boxy rear section - was chosen. The straight sides lent the interior a spacious feeling which was also very comfortable. And above all, the car had real character.
It soon proved to be the right choice. In the midst of the round and slippery soap dishes offered by other manufacturers, the Volvo boxiness was a hit and soon turned into a hallmark. Very valuable during this selective process was the use of so-called product clinics which Volvo used for the first time and at which people's reactions regarding the new car were investigated without revealing any details like the brand of car etc. The reactions were not entirely positive, but in the USA, the planned main market for the new car, people loved it and looked upon it as their type of car.
Another Toyota Commercial showing the "toughness" of tacomas when this one gets parked on the beach and a tide ensues, banging the truck around, but not even putting a scratch in it...
VOLV0 WAGON STUCK ON BEACH
family drove of the Ocean Park beach approach and headed south . It can be decieving the beach at the approach is hard but if the tide is in you will run out of drivable beach about 500 feet north or south of the approach . When you try to turn around and go back is where most cars bury themself . A passerby pulled the volvo out of the waters edge but couldn't pull them through the soft drift .
SORRY FOR THE SHAKY VIDIEO . WHEN I GET NEXT TO THE SURF I GET A LITTLE JUMPY AND FORGET ABOUT THE CAMERA . I HAVE LOST THREE TOW TRUCKS IN THE SURF IN THE PAAST 33 YEARS SO I TRY TO GET GOING AS FAST AS SAFELY POSSIBLE .