Volvo Duett diesel
Many people believe the Volvo 244 and 245 with Volkswagen D24-engine was Volvo’s first diesel car, but actually it wasn’t: thanks to a Swedish company there were already some Volvos with diesels in the 60’s!
Malte Manson and Perkins
In Linköping (Sweden) a company called Malte Månson AB was importing the English Perkins diesel-engines for the Swedish market. These engines were fitted in several cars but in the early 60’s Malte Månson replaced some engines in Volvo Amazons, Duetts and Laplanders/Volvo Valp. Those cars needed diesel-engines for the heavy work like quarries, mining industry or forestry.
The Perkins 4.108 diesel-engine which was installed was a 1760cc 4-cilinder engine delivering 61 SAE bhp @ 4.000rpm and maximum torque of 110Nm @ 2.000rpm.
The Volvo Duett diesel
In 1965 the Månson-company had the idea to replace the B18-engine of the P210 Duett with a 4-cilinder Perkins diesel-engine and try to sell them in series. The diesel-equipped Duett was officially not sold by Volvo but Volvo didn’t forbid Malte Månson to sell the Duetts with the Perkins-diesels.
Replacing the B18-engine with a Perkins-diesel was a though job. The transmission needed some adjustments, the exhaust needed modifications, engine mounts and supports were also different and many other modications needed to be done before the engine was installed properly. The engine itself wasn’t very cheap so it was an expensive job. And after spending a lot of money you’ll get a car which isn’t actually better than a B18-equipped Duett: the B18-engine delivered even slightly more torque than the Perkins! The only thing you’ll win is saving some fuel, but with the high price of the engine-conversion you can spend a lot of money on fuel. Needless to say the Perkins-project on the Duett wasn’t a big hit. About 40 Perkins-equipped Duetts were sold (from 1965 until 1972).
Malte Månson tried to convince Volvo to use a Perkins diesel-engine in the Volvo 144 but that project was stopped after just one 144 prototype with a diesel-engine.
Duett diesels today
Unfortunately the original Volvo Duett with Perkins diesel can’t be found. But there are some home-made Duetts which were equipped with a Perkins-diesel later on and sometimes you can find a Duett with that engine for sale, but it’s pretty rare. Update September 2012: this summer a Duett with Perkins diesel is imported in the Netherlands, so there’s a Duett with a diesel-engine on the road in this country again!
Also other diesel-engines were installed in Duetts, like Renault- or BMW-diesels. You can find several videos on Youtube about it.
In some custom-build Duett A-traktors (cars converted to tractors in Sweden, so 16-year-old kids can drive a car which is limited in speed) it’s pretty common that a diesel-engine is installed. But these diesels can be from any manufacturer (like Opel, or VW/Audi).
A Volvo Duett A-Traktor with Perkins diesel of a Epatraktor-member