Cue "The Saint" theme song.

Then dissolve to Roger Moore, as the famous English secret agent (before he became the even more famous secret agent. James Bond), speeding around one of his many European sports cars which just happens to be a: Volvo!

The now-celebrated Volvo P1800, which enabled people to say "sexy" and "Volvo" in the same sentence, went into production in May of 1961. As it was being built, the Volvo PV544 and Volvo Amazon were quickly rolling out of Sweden and heading for anxious buyers in the United States. Both models had twin carburettors and a blaster of an engine in the B18 which could reach 90 mph. Its 12-volt electrical system and new color palette which included shiny red, made them even more attractive to the car-buying market.

1962 was the "Year of the Volvo Amazon 4-Door Estate". This gigantic, limousine of a car, had a horizontally-split tailgate that had a an upper and lower section. Its B18A engine had a 4-speed gearbox and by only February, 100,000 Amazons were sold. The P1800 was also speeding around the country but in very small numbers.  

The following year, 1963, was a quiet year for the company in the US market. Amazons got some new tires and an upgraded engine enabling it to reach 108 mph. Volvo did open an assembly plant in Canada bringing it even closer to North American buyers. Volvo also reached the fourth largest import car in the US that year.

Attention, and some sweet upgrades, continued to be heaped on the Volvo Amazon in 1964. Disc brakes were added and the Estate had a "brake servo" which is a hydraulic brake booster located behind the master cylinder. Amazon drivers also had the luxury of sitting in a front seat that was more comfortable and, upon consultation from medical experts, was healthier for backs and shoulders.

Mid-way through the 1960's, Volvo was ending 544 production after more than 100,000 burned up American streets. Volvo's Amazon "Favorit" debuted although it wasn't that different from the previous models. No matter, though, as the Amazon had shown itself to be not only a cash cow for the Swedish automaker, but a fun car to drive and even trade in for the latest version. Volvo stuck with the girl who brought it to the dance and it paid off handsomely.

Check out our other Volvo History Articles!
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