Looking back it is a sobering thought that when my four grand parents were born at the turn of the 20th century the invention of motorcar was somewhere between 10 and 15 years old and of them neither of my grand mothers ever learned to drive and only one of my grandfathers ever owned a private car and that only for five years before he died aged 63.
Nearly 60 years later I on the other hand was lucky enough to be born into the age of mass consumption by the time I was just four my parents not only had their first new car but all of their friends had new cars too !
Of those friends my parents had I soon adopted two, Ted and Syd, as my Uncles, both drove brand new grey 2 door Volvo 120 Amazons which had a factory code 131 denoting 2 door single carb versions.
Volvo’s original intention was to call the model Amason, however manufacturers, of one of the most irritating sounding 2 strokes ever, Kreidler already had the Amason name registered and so the name Volvo Amason was restricted to Sweden by agreement.
In today’s parlance the Amazon design would probably known as a design mash up with the bonnet lines seemingly inspired by the 2nd generation Chrysler New Yorker, the grill design seemingly from the 1955 Chrysler C-300 though designer Jan Wilsgaard claims he was inspired by a Kaiser Manhattan he saw in the docks in Gothenburg. Interesting strap line for the linked Kaiser advertisement in the light of Volvo’s reputation from 1959 until the late 1990’s.
During a production run of over 600, 000 units produced in Sweden, Belgium, Canada, South Africa and Chile from 1956 to 1970, in 1959 the Amazon became the first car to be fitted with three point front seat belts as standard. The seat belts fitted in Uncle Ted & Syds cars encouraged my folks to get some after market seat belts for our more modest Austin A40 Countryman, an act that probably saved their lives a year or two later when we were involved in a 30 mph collision with the side of a truck.
After 3 years of abuse at BBQ’s on the beaches of Larnica, Cyprus most Sundays and nearly 25 years further good service the last time I saw Uncle Syds Amazon it was rapidly deteriorating into a rust bubble in the mid 1980’s despite the fact that the engine was other wise mechanically sound. The 1970 model shown here seems to have faired considerably better.
Thanks for joining me on this Amason edition of ‘Gettin a lil’ psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !