Volvo closed its museum in Gothenburg, Sweden, in December 2023, but its collection of classic cars won't remain out of sight for very long. The brand will display some of its vintage models in a new location called World of Volvo that's scheduled to open its doors in April 2024.
Located south of Gothenburg, World of Volvo aims to lump everything Volvo-related under one roof. In this sense, it almost sounds like the Autostadt complex that Volkswagen operates in Wolfsburg, Germany. Some of the cars from the museum will return as part of an exhibit dedicated to vintage vehicles, but the venue will also include meeting spaces, concert halls and areas dedicated to guest speakers and workshops. Volvo promises no two visits will be the same, which was part of what made walking through its old museum so interesting.
Inaugurated in 1995, the old Volvo museum showcased a fascinating selection of cars ranging from the brand's first model, the ÖV 4 built in 1927, to more recent concepts, such as the Adventure Concept Car (ACC) unveiled at the 2001 Geneva auto show to preview the original XC90. As an enthusiast, the museum fascinated me because it cast light on nearly every facet of Volvo's past. The usual suspects were all accounted for: pre-war models such as the PV36 Carioca, sleek-looking coupes like the P1800, and boxy classics including the 240 all got the chance to shine. Volvo also didn't forget about newer classics; several 400- and 900-Series models were on display as an example.
Volvo wasn't content with merely putting its greatest hits on a pedestal; that would be boring. It also showed some seriously weird stuff. How about the Philip? Built in 1953, about three years after Volvo opened its design department, it looked and sounded like a scaled-down American car with a massive amount of chrome trim and a 3.6-liter V8. It ended up being too expensive to build, but the V8 lived on in some of the Swedish brand's trucks. The 1972 Volvo Experimental Safety Car (VESC) was a rolling laboratory of technology with anti-lock brakes, airbags, impact-absorbing bumpers, and a massive rear-view camera that transferred footage to a screen on the dashboard. The 263 GL from 1975 explored what the 200-Series would look like as a two-door hatchback. We've covered the 1976 Elbil concept before.
Racing is part of Volvo's DNA. You wouldn't know it by looking at the brand's current range, even Polestar (its former racing division) has put away its racing suit, but you could learn all about how it won the 13th edition of the East Africa Rally with a 1965 PV544 and how it became the first company to enter a station wagon in the British Touring Car Championship with a 1994 850 in the competition part of the museum.
Scroll through our gallery for a virtual visit of the old Volvo museum, and let us know which one you'd like to take home in the comments.
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