Chip Foose draws his take on the Volvo Amazon

by Hagerty
13 March 2021

Think of the classic European shapes, says Chip Foose, and you tend to think of the usual suspects: Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar. But cast your net a little wider and plenty of other manufacturers have something special to offer, one of whom is Volvo.

Best known for its estate cars, the Swedish manufacturer has some surprisingly elegant shapes in its past. Most will be familiar with the P1800 coupe and quirky ES shooting brake, but that car was based on the Amazon, launched to the public in 1956.

Successor to the bulldog-like PV444 launched in the 1940s and the revised 544 of the 50s, the Amazon took the form of a three-box, two- and four-door saloons and a five-door wagon, with smooth, ponton-style bodywork and strong shoulders, powered by a lineup of inline-fours.

One key selling point was safety: in 1959 the Amazon became the world’s first car to be fitted with seatbelts as standard equipment in all markets, and later also the first with standard three-point belts.

And while the road-going variants weren’t fast, their toughness proved popular with rally drivers, with Amazons competing in several off-road disciplines over the years. More than a few went circuit racing too, and even drag racing – that Americanesque styling apparently invites the fitment of an enormous engine and a pair of drag-racing slicks.

For Chip Foose it’s the style that matters though, and after noting some similarity to a couple of American designs at the time – designers take inspiration from all over, after all – he gets to work creating his own special take on the Amazon. We’ll let you watch the video for the full effect, but we reckon the end result stays true to the original form but has its own uniquely appealing flourish.

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