August 3 In Swedish History
1956: The Volvo Amazon is being launched. A mid-size car manufactured by Volvo Cars, the Amazon shares both the wheelbase as well as its tall posture from its predecessor, the PV. It is being offered in three model configurations: 2-door sedan, 4-door sedan and a wagon. A year later, Volvo provides the car with front seat belts as standard equipment on all the cars, including the export models, becoming the world's first manufacturer to take this step.

The first time it met American consumers was at the New York Auto Show in April, 1959 and then under the model name Volvo 122S.

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The Amazon later becomes the first car in the world to feature three-point seat belts. When introduced, the car is called the Amason (with an 's'), which derives from the fierce female warriors of Greek mythology. Kreidler, the German manufacturer of motorcycles, had already registered the name, and the two companies agree Volvo can only use the name domestically (within Sweden), modifying the spelling to Amazon. The car is designed by Jan Wilsgaard (born in Brooklyn in 1930), chief designer at Volvo Cars from 1950-1990. Wilsgaard was one of twenty-five designers nominated for Car Designer of the Century, and was followed at Volvo by the noted designer Peter Horbury.

Volvo's present designer, Thomas Ingenlath, has translated much of the traditional Volvo elements into the 21st century while also taking those elements to new heights. The new concept, a future Amazon, was first introduced with the Volvo Concept Coupe at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show in 2013, here's a report from Autoguide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_837Z8iol2E

Even more telling of the highly Swedish influences of Volvo of 2014 and onwards is this video about the new engine technology, Drive E: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9KTVXI0efY&feature=youtu.be (The new technology will blow you away ... Swedish engineers have actually solved an age-old dilemma—increased power and performance along with a class-leading MPG .)