Swedish marque Volvo has a ludicrous history of surprising the motoring community. When they put their boffins together in a room and point at words like ‘Practicality, Comfort, Style, Elegance and Safety’ you get the sense the finished product had a lot of ‘common sense’ planning put into it. This practice of humble, hardworking Swedish staples has translated into their pièce de résistance of car design, the station wagon. Whether they were making competitors red-faced on the track, shuttling families around or changing the world’s perception of what is practical, you can always trust a Volvo estate. And this was the book of genesis, in the shape of the gorgeous Volvo P210 Duett.
Over the years we have driven some very pretty cars but this has to be one of the most unexpectedly beautiful creations we’ve ever laid eyes on. In fact, it took the guys in the office quite a few hours to convince this was actually a Volvo, and not some pininfarina-penned Italian stallion from days gone by... But then again, we all know the Swedish are masters of elegance in functionality.
But it wasn’t always this way. When owner Simon, first purchased this mouth-watering IKEA super bus, its condition was less than Swedish showroom excellence. To start with this car was imported from the USA some years ago by its new keeper. Deciding that the wagon needed a new lease on life, the body was stripped away for an all new coating of paint, woodwork, chroming and of course a new heart transplant. The new powertrain is the same engine commonly found in the P1800 sports car, a raspy four cylinder unit, fed through dual carburetors and output via a tight manual gearbox. I’m not going to discuss performance because that's not what this car is about. I will say however despite it’s girthy exterior, the Duett is a great laugh to pedal in a hurry, but is best suited to the ‘cruise along the coast’ sort of experience.
The thing that really makes this car special is its design. The car has been flawlessly fabricated. To the naked eye it might just be another school bus, but the car is so much more in the details. Take the tire storage compartment as an example. The spare tire is located under the boot as always, but its accessibility is through the rear license plate panel. Its subtle, hidden seamlessly and as you sit and stare at the compartment you can’t help but think; ‘well that’s pretty bloody clever isn’t it?’
The body has perfectly crafted panels to give the body its voluptuous lines. The whole side is just one panel too, modern mass produced cars have several panels to make up the vehicle’s profile, the P210 Duett however is a lesson in hand craftsmanship. The interior is much of the same story, with the very first three point seatbelts in mandatory mass-production and delicate wooden runners for sliding luggage in & out of the boot.
From the detail in the chromed roof racks or the seamless contrast between varnished wood and steel in the rear storage compartment, everything is there for a reason and does its job in incredible functional beauty. The whole car exudes elegance whilst remaining completely 110% quirky and charismatic. We love the P210 Duett, it's a perfect example of Volvo’s signature staples of design; Comfortable, practicality, elegance & functionality. A beautiful piece of Swedish Architecture.