IT is hard to imagine that 60 years have passed since the launch of the Volvo Amazon.
This mid-sized car was a solid and dependable saloon manufactured from 1956 to 1970which became an icon of all that is good in Scandinavian engineering.
Volvo is remembered by many for being the world's firstmanufacturer to provide front seat belts as standard equipment,with the Amazon later becoming the first car featuring three-point belts as standard.
When introduced, the car was named the Amason in homage to from the fierce female warriors of Greek mythology, the Amazons.
German motorcycle manufacturer Kreidler had already registered the name, and the two companies finally agreed that Volvo could only use the name domestically.
Subsequently, Volvo began its digit nomenclature and the line became known as the 120.
The car was manufactured at Gothenburg andlater at the Torslandaverken plant which opened in 1964.
By the end of production, 234,653 four-door models, 359,917 two-door models and 73,220 estates had been produced, of which 60% were exported.
Anyone looking at the Amazon these days would not be blamed for thinking there was a certain American influence lurking in its three-box styling.
It wasbased on the looks ofUS cars of the early 1950s, strongly resembling the Chrysler New Yorker.
Designer Jan Wilsgaard admitted that the car was inspired by a Kaiser model he spotted at Gothenburg.
The Amazon featured muscular shoulders and slight tailfins, inspiring the whole succession of Volvo designs.
The Amazon's bodywork was constructed of phosphate-treated steel (to improve paint adhesion) and featured heavy use of undercoating and anti-corrosive oil treatment.
This gave the car unusual longevity and it became a legend way beyond its projected lifetime.
The Amazon, whichfound considerable fame in motor sport gained a reputation as the car which would not die because it was that tough.