Volvo Manufacturer Profile & Rally History

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Volvo Home Country: Sweden Sweden

The name Volvo was choosen from the Latinum language and means “to roll”. Unlike Saab, Volvo was never too big a story in rallying. Volvo existed much earlier than Saab and Volvo cars were bigger, heavier, at first more powerful, RWD…. There weren’t too many similarities between Volvo and Saab, only their nationality making the comparison tempting. Volvo actually won 3 ERC titles in the 1950s and 1960s with Gunnar Andersson and Tom Trana using the old PV544. But quite strangely this seemed as far as works involvement would go. A PV544 very famously won the Safari Rally 1965, but that was a fully private effort by local Joginder Singh. Already the 122 and later the 142 models were mainly rallied in private hands, which means their results just shows what good cars these were and what a chance Volvo probably missed. Volvo came out with interesting cars and like Saab liked to use turbo engines a lot. But in the early 1980s with the group A 240 Turbo, Volvo was back as an offical team. However it was only works support for a number of drivers and, curiously for a powerful RWD turbo, Volvo was only interested in Swedish snow rallies. Volvo came very rarely out of hibernation, but when they did they were good for surprises. They are known as boxy cars, but that wasn’t bad, in the 1990s they came to touring cars with a 5-cylinder turbo 850. And if with the 240 in 1986 the big surprise was huge RWD turbo power in snow, now they went touring car racing with an estate! And somehow these estates had low centre of gravity and decent aerodynamics, they were a huge success in touring cars. Though this is a rally database... Nowadays Volvo has a huge range of 4x4 turbo cars and actually the Ford works team uses 4x4 turbo Volvo S60 as their recce cars since 2002. But unfortunately this seems to be as far as their rally involvement goes these days.

It seems a shame there is not much to be told about them, as it is characteristic cars of a sympathic manufacturer. For car names the numbers had for a while an interesting meaning. The 1st digit would identify the model, 2nd digit engine size as in numbers of cylinders and the 3rd digit body shape as in numbers of doors. Such when i.e. young Markku Alen came 2nd in Finland 1973 in a Volvo 142, it was a 4-cylinder 2-door version. When you see i.e. the name 265, it is a 6-cylinder 5-door = estate. Today Volvo numbers seem more fantasy origin. In the old days also PV444 or PV544 seemed fantasy numbers (several times reported to mean number of seats plus debut year, however the PV544 was the replacement to the PV444 and that only in 1958!), but the PV meant passenger vehicle rather than lorry. Talking of many ERC successes with the PV544, once more as a perfect example of a robust Volvo we also note a fully private Joginder Singh winning an extremely tough Safari Rally 1965 in a Volvo PV544. 1965? Yeah, long time ago, all of Volvo's big rally days....


Volvo house colours reflect the Swedish flag, blue with some yellow on white cars, however in rallying their cars were mostly plain white and there was also no tyre manufacturer identified with them.


Simply normal Swedish plates, see our general registration guide. Well, actually most works Volvo carry plates of the old Swedish system, which was 2 letters followed by 5-digit numbers. But we hardly have a record of either this system, nor works Volvo reg plates to this system. Anyway, this was before WRC started in 1973.

Volvo Rally Cars

Model Class
Volvo Volvo 142  Group 2
Volvo Volvo 240  Group A
Volvo Volvo DAF  Group 2

Rally Honour Roll

Year Class Place Manufacturer Events
1978 WRC Open 16th. Volvo (10pts) 11

Season Summary | Season Points | Events Calendar

1976 WRC Open 15th. Volvo (4pts) 10

Season Summary | Season Points | Events Calendar

1975 WRC Open 14th. Volvo (9pts) 10

Season Summary | Season Points | Events Calendar

1974 WRC Open 11th. Volvo (7pts) 8

Season Summary | Season Points | Events Calendar

1973 WRC Open 4th. Volvo (44pts) 13

Season Summary | Season Points | Events Calendar