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History 140 & 164

In the summer of 1960 Volvo started a new project called P660. It should be a completely new car which should contain Volvo’s own design instead of being inspired by Italian or American cars. Volvo had the following requirements: a wheelbase of 260cm (same as the PV444/544 and Amazon) and track width of 135cm, more interior space, a safer car and a new design idiom. The option to put a 6-cilinder engine under the hood should also be an option. A 2-door coach, 4-door saloon and Estate-car will be developed at the same time.

History of the Volvo 142, 144 and 145

Jan Wilsgaard presented his first two prototypes in December 1961. The first one was meeting the size Volvo prescribed, the second design was a bit bigger. Volvo didn’t really like the first prototype but did like the second prototype. Wilsgaard should go ahead with it but the design should be fitted into the size of 260cm wheelbase. Frua and Ghia also submitted two designs but Volvo choose Wilsgaard’s design.

Volvo P660 prototype 142
Wilsgaard’s first prototype, presented in December 61

Volvo 142 140 prototype P660
Another prototype of Wilsgaard which was larger than the model above

In 1962 Jan Wilsgaard presented his third prototype, which was a compromis of the second prototype and the wish of Volvo to meet up their expectations. The front was redesigned and the higher wings were disappeared.

Volvo 140 prototype P660
The third attempt of Wilsgaard for the P660 prototype.

Volvo 142 prototype P660
The ’63 P660 in progress. You can already recognise it as the 142!

When Volvo approved this design they also decided the new car should be in production by the summer of 1966. The project P660 was renamed to P1400.

The new car should set some new safety standards and Volvo wants to score with a safe car. The body of the P1400 was very strong and has crumple zones at the front and the back which absorbs energy at an impact or crash. The braking system was also new: the car has disc brakes at the front and the back and a dual circuit brake system. When one of the circuits fails, the other circuit still was able to contain 80% of the braking power. Breaking through the brakes wasn’t a worry anymore! A new dashboard was designed to prevent knees and legs from serious injuries and the steering column divides at a big impact. Also the door locks were new and the safety belts were also changed.

In January 1964 the design of Wilsgaard’s ’63 P660 was accepted (except the front). It leads to the final design of the P1400-series.

Volvo 140 prototype front
One of the proposals of the new front: a big logo in the center

Volvo 140 prototype front 144 P1400
Another prototype, this time a 4-door with a different grille

When the first prototypes of the P1400 were driveable, it should be tested how it handles and how reliable the new inventions (steering column and brake system) were. After testing with a Amazon which contains the P1400-technique Volvo had a brilliant idea: the car was transformed in a slightly different car with the name Mazuo ZT92. When the press caught up the car, it believed it was a new Japanese car and not a Volvo. Smart move!

Volvo 140 prototype Mazuo ZT92
The Mazuo ZT92, actually a Volvo 144 with a hood scoop, ugly front fenders and clumsy rear wings. Not pretty, but excellent for test drives!

The 145 was also designed, first as a strange Estate (see picture below) with special designed rear doors, but later as a Estate with the doors of the 4-door saloon. Wilsgaard and his design-team wanted to have special designed doors for the Estate but Volvo didn’t: it was too expensive to produce special doors for only the Estate.

Volvo 145 prototype
The Estate-prototype with special designed doors

Volvo 145 prototype production
The P1400 Estate-prototype which made it to the production-series. Only a few details were changed

The second design was approved by Volvo. It was a nice looking car with a huge amount of space!

With the new car a new type of naming the car was introduced: the first number stands for the serie, the second number for the number of cilinders and the third number represents the number of doors. In this case: the two-door coach was called 142, the four-door sedan 144 and the Estate 145.

The 144 was introduced on August 16 1966 and went for sale in 1967 (with a B18-engine and M40 or M41 gearbox). Testcars for the press became available since september 1966 and the 144 was chosen as Car of the Year 1966 in Sweden because of its great handling, performance and safety standards. The 144 also won a Gold Medal from the Swedish Automotive Association for it’s new and very safe braking system.

One year later the 142 and 145 were introduced.

The Volvo 145 Express was introduced in 1969 and replaces the Duett and Amazon Combi. The Express was based on the 145 but with a higher roof (starting from the B-pilar) and imperial. It’s volume was really enormous! The 145 Express was available as a commercial break (van, without rear seats) or estate. It was also used as service car at the dealers.

Models of the Volvo 140-series

Volvo did use a letter for the different models but since the 140-series the modelyear applies for the changes (since the Amazon was modified every year). The new modelyear (MY) was introduced after the summer break of the year (in August), for example: a car produced in August or December 1968 has modelyear 1969 but a car produced in May 1969 has also MY 1969.

The following modifications were added on the 140-series during the years:
– 1967: the first Volvo 144. The 142 is introduced in Fall 1967.
1968: new rear view mirror, new window cranks, new door handles (chrome instead of black), the 145 is introduced.
1969: B20-engine, textile upholstery (instead of vinyl), mirror on right side of the car (for RHD: on the left side), B20-badge on the grille, 2 new colors were introduced.
1970: headrests standard for all models, heated rear window, hazard lights, rear washer and wiper for 145 is now standard, 2 new colers were added and heated front seats were available as an option.
1971: new equipment levels: L, DL and GL. The wheelbase was extended with 2cm, bigger radiator (25% more capacity), new front for DL- and GL-series (black grille), new wheels, textile carpetset for DL and GL, B20B was replaced by the B20D, B20E (fuel injection) introduced.
1972: new gear lever: short instead of the long lever. Smaller headrests, new steering wheel, new door handles.
1973: new dashboard (with round speedometer and instruments), new front (new grille and indicator lights), new rear lights, bars in the doors, new windscreen wipers, new B20B which replaces the B20D, new bumpers.
1974: new bigger bumpers (which met the new American regulations), reinforced doors, ventilation windows were disappeared (bigger side windows), repositiong of the fuel tank (closer to the rear axle, also repositioning of the fuel cap), bulb sensor, electrical heated driver seat standard for GL-model, H4 halogen headlights for all model, headlight wiper and washer was also available. K-Jetronic-system for B20E-engines.

At the end of 1974 the 140-series was replaced by the Volvo 240-series.

History of the Volvo 164

In the 50’s Jan Wilsgaard designed a big Volvo which should have a eight-cilinder engine and should be a very luxury car with pneumatic rear suspension (the same suspension was also fitted on the Amazon as a experiment). Volvo canceled the project because there was no demand for such a big car.

Volvo P358 164 prototype
The Volvo P358 prototype by Jan Wilsgaard

But when the 140-series were being developed, Volvo reconsidered the idea for a bigger luxuous car and decided Wilsgaard should go ahead with his plan but it should be low-cost. The B30-engine was being developed. It actually was a B20 with 2 cilinders extra and two Stromberg-carburators. To fit the engine in the car, it must be a bit longer. Wilsgaard added the front of the P358 in a slightly changed format to the 140-serie and the 164 was born!

The 164 was a luxury car with beautiful upholstery, nice carpet, wood in the dashoard and nice accessoiries. It was introduced in 1968. A 165 (estate-version of the 164) was never built: the couple 165’s you see in the world are all home-made versions. The new car was available with the M400 (based on M40 but reinforced), M410 (same as M41 but reinforced) with overdrive or BW35 automatic gearbox. The engine was a B30A with 2 Stromberg-carburators, providing 130bhp.

Models of the 164

The 164 had the modifications during his lifecycle:
1969: the first 164.
1970: fog lights for most countries, headrests and new safety belts for all models, leather interior upholstery, tinted windows.
1971: power steering and new wheels for all models.
1972: B30E and B30F with fuel injection were introduced (160bhp). BW35 automatic gearbox lever is now mounted on the floor (instead behind the steering wheel). Ventilated brake discs for all models, new door handles.
1973: new grille and bumpers, new dashboard and steering wheel, new heater system and new rear lights. Safety bars in the doors.
1974: new USA-style bumpers (like the 140-series), bigger mirrors, reinforced doors, repositioned fuel tank (closer to the rear axle) and repositioned fuel cap. Extra crimple zones at front and back, electrical heated front seats and bulb indicator.
1975: modified rear suspension, new handbrake, new wheels, antenna integrated in windscreen, new seat designs for front and back. Electric powered windows are available.

At the end of 1975 the production of the 164 was ended and replaced by the Volvo 264.

© Volvotips 2011

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