The Way We Were
Hampshire, May 1966
We bet that Hampshire Constabulary’s transport bosses were drooling over this new arrival in 1966. Yup, the Volvo 140 series – the car that spawned generations of boxy estates and mobilised generations of British antique dealers in the same way that the Citroën 2CV did French farmers – made its debut.
The 140 had an almost entirely new bodyshell but, even though it used much of the outgoing Amazon’s drivetrain, it also incorporated disc brakes all round. The cars were also extremely well-built, with crumple zones and – from 1967 – rear seatbelts.
Power for the 144 saloon came initially from Volvo’s well-proven 1778cc four-cylinder engine, but that was soon replaced by a 1986cc motor. The enormously useful 145 estate came along in 1967 and sold well wordwide, particularly in the UK and US, establishing an excellent reputation for longevity.
Though the Volvo 140 was dropped from the range in 1974, the type’s boxy and cavernous basic styling was carried through to the 240 and thus persisted right up until 1993, by which time surely every grandfather clock to reach the market in Britain had been carried in one at some time. And our friends in Hampshire Constabulary had signed a lot of order forms.