The Volvo Amazon was a mid-size car manufactured by Volvo
Cars from 1956 until July 3 1970
at the company's Torslandaverken
— with 667,323 vehicles produced.
Compared to its predecessor, the PV, the Amazon offered in an
additional body style (four-door sedan) sharing both the wheelbase
from the PV as well as its tall posture and high H-point seating.
Notably, the Amazon was the first car to feature three-point seat
belts, and the first to have any kind of seat belt as standard
When originally introduced, the car was called the Amason
(with an 's'),
which derives from the fierce female warriors of Greek mythology,
the Amazons. Volvo modified the spelling to Amazon and used the name
for the range up until 1961, when it initiated its new tri-digit
nomenclature and the line became known as the 120 Series.
The Amazon's styling was inspired by American cars of the early
1950s, strongly resembling the Chrysler New Yorker sedan and the
Chrysler 300C hardtop Coupe. According to designer Jan Wilsgaard,
the Amazon's styling was inspired by a Kaiser automobile he saw at
the Gothenburg harbour.
Notably, the Amazon featured strong articulation front to rear,
pronounced "shoulders", and slight but visible tailfins. These
features became inspiration for Peter Horbury when reconceiving
Volvo's design direction with the V70 — after decades of
rectilinear, slab-sided, boxy designs.
The station wagon (estate) version was introduced at the 1962
Stockholm Auto Show, and Volvo manufactured 73,000 examples between
1962 and 1969.
The Amazon estate featured a bi-parting tailgate, a lower section
folding down to provide a load surface and an upper section that
hinged overhead. The vehicle's rear license plate, attached to the
lower tailgate, could fold "up" such that when the tailgate was
lowered and the vehicle in use, the license plate was still visible.
This idea was used by the original 1959 Austin Mini. In recent years
a similar arrangement was used on the tailgate of the Subaru Baja.
Notably, the Amazon platform was used as the basis for the P1800
The first Amazon was manufactured in July 1956 and carried the
internal designation 120 series. Further iterations included
the 121, the base model with a single carburetor 66 bhp (49 kW)
engine, the 122S introduced in 1958 as a performance model equipped
with a dual carburetor 85 bhp (63 kW) engine, and the later 130 (two
door sedan), 120 (four door sedan) and 220 (4-door estate wagon)
In 1966 the Volvo PV ended production, replaced by the Amazon
Favorit, a simpler version of the Amazon. The newer Volvo 140 was
becoming the company's mainstream model, and the last of the four
door 120 saloons were produced in 1967.
In 1967 came the 123GT that was a 130 with high compression B18B
engine (from the Volvo P1800), M41 gearbox, fully reclining seats,
front fog and driving lights (on some markets), alternator, fender
mounted mirrors, special steering wheel, dash with a shelf and
tachometer, and other cosmetic upgrades. In 1969 the displacement of
the old B18 engine was increased and the engine was called the B20.
While the car was sold as the Volvo Amazon in Sweden, it was
marketed using the model number in most other countries, commonly,
the Volvo 122; the name "Amazon" was already a registered
trademark in various markets by German moped manufacturer Kreidler.
The Amazon's mechanics and modified floor pan were used in the
Volvo P1800 sports car.
Notably, the 1976 film All the President's Men (about
Watergate), featured a grey Amazon driven by the
investigative reporters (Woodward and Bernstein).
Original specifications for the Amazon included Volvo's new B16
engine, a 3-speed manual gearbox (H6) and rear wheel drive. In 1958
the sport model, Amazon Sport, was released and later the
same year the Amazon became the first series produced car with a
two-point safety belt in the front seats as standard. In 1962, Volvo
introduced a two door version, a five door wagon, and the new B18
engine, deleting two-tone paint and upholstery. In 1965 the Amazon
colour-coordinated embossed vinyl upholstery and door panels became
Volvo Amazon Wagon 1966
The new gearbox selections were the three speed M30 (briefly
offered with an automatic electric clutch), the four speed M40 and
the M41 with four speed and overdrive. The M31 gearbox was also
introduced in 1961 but was only available that year (a three speed
fully synchronized gearbox with overdrive on both second and third
direct gears). Gearbox options on the 121 were the M30, M31 and M40
while gearbox options on the 122S were the M40 and M41 gearboxes. In
1964 the Borg-Warner BW35 three speed automatic transmission also
became available on the four-door and two-door. From 1967 to 1968
the BW35 was also available on the five-door wagon.
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Comments Questions & Answers
Did Volvo ever do a limousine version of the 122/Amazon? I
created this with paintbrush. Its an educated guess as to how it might have
Top 10 Ways To Help Ensure Safety While Driving
some useful information