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Brief background to the Volvo Amazon

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Source: Volvo Car Corporation.

Amazon 1956 - 1970

In 1956, a prototype of a new passenger car from Volvo was presented. The car became known as the Amazon in Sweden and the 121 and 122S on the export market. The designation 122S was used for a version with a more powerful engine.

Production began in 1957 and this car was initially regarded as a larger model than the PV444. The fact that the 121/122 S was a 4-door model naturally contributed to this.

The styling was modern and this model was the first car from Volvo with a pontoon body. People found the car very attractive. The front was characterised by the two oval air intakes. The rear wings were extended and ended with a hint of a fin, a very popular design feature at the time.

The Amazon 121/122 S also had a very high safety level with features including a padded upper half of the dashboard, a laminated windscreen and seatbelt attachments both front and rear.

In the autumn of 1961, the P120 models included a number of relatively large changes. The previous 1.6-litre engine was replaced by the B18 with an output of 75 or 90 bhp, a 12-volt electrical system and a new grille, while the 90 bhp model featured disc brakes on the front wheels.

The 4-door model of the P120 was produced until the autumn of 1966, when it was replaced by an entirely new car, the Volvo 144.

Model: P 1200 / P 120 AMAZON, Sedan
Variants: P 1200 V
P 1200 H
P 121
P 122 S
Produced: 1956 - 1967
Volume: 234208
Body: 4-door saloon
Engine: 4-cylinder, in-line, overhead valves, 1,583 cc, 79.37 x 80 mm, 60 bhp at 4,500 rpm or 85 bhp at 5,500 rpm. 1961: 1,778 cc , 84.14 x 80 mm, 75 bhp at 4,500 rpm or 90 bhp at 5,000 rpm, increased in 1965 to 95 bhp.
Transmission: 3- or 4-speed manual with or without overdrive, with floor-mounted gear lever (some cars delivered with gearshift mounted on the steering column). 3-speed automatic with gear lever on steering column.
Brakes: Hydraulic drums on all wheels. 1961: disc brakes on front wheels for S versions. 1964: disc brakes on front wheels for all versions.
Dimensions: Overall length 445 cm, wheelbase 2,600 mm.

In September 1961, yet another version based on the 121/122S was presented - a 2-door saloon. This version was an eagerly awaited model, particularly on the Swedish market, as Sweden was a typical market for 2-door cars at that time.

Technically speaking, there was no difference between the two models. The doors were naturally longer on the new 2-door model to make it easier to get into the rear seat, and the front seats could, of course, be folded forward for the same reason. The rear side windows could be opened at the rear edge to improve ventilation.

The engine programme was originally supposed to follow that of the 4-door model. However, as the 2-door was somewhat lighter, it was also regarded as somewhat more sporty and was therefore used in competitions, both rally driving and motor racing

To enhance the sporty image of the Amazon, the fast and lavishly equipped 123GT version was introduced in 1966, with the same engine as the 1800S sports car.

In 1968, another engine version was added to this model - the so-called B20 engine, a 2.0-litre version.

Production of the P130 continued until July 2nd 1970. This was the final version of this car family, with a total of 667,323 P130s produced over the years.

Model: P130 Amazon, 2-d
Variants: P 131
P 132 (SPORT)
P 123 GT
Produced: 1961 - 1970
Volume: 359916
Body: 2-door saloon
Engine: 4-cylinder, in-line, valves overhead valves, 1,778 cc (108 cu. in.), 84.14 x 80 mm, 75 bhp at 4,500 rpm or 90 bhp at 5,000 rpm, 95 bhp in 1964, 115 bhp in 1966. 1968: 1,986 cc, 88.9 x 80 mm, 90 bhp at 4,800, 118 bhp at 5,800 rpm.
Transmission: 3-speed manual or or 4-speed manual with overdrive with floor-mounted gear lever. 3-speed automatic with gear lever on steering column.
Brakes: Hydraulic drums on all wheels, S-version with discs at front. In 1964 all with discs at front.
Dimensions: Overall length 445 cm,wheelbase 2,600 mm.

This model can be described as an estate based on the 121/122S (Amazon). It made its debut at the Stockholm Motor Show in February 1962. This extension of the model range gave Volvo a more extensive programme in one and the same car family than ever before.

The P220 had four doors and the tailgate was divided into two parts, one part folded down and the other folded up. This design was inspired by station wagons from the USA.

The production of the P220 took place alongside that of the P210 and the P220 became more frequent outside the Nordic markets. This car represented yet another important step towards a more family-oriented estate which was less of an into the commercial vehicle market. In this way, the P220 played an important role for Volvo in its development as leading producer of estate cars.

Model: P 220 Amazon Estate
Variants: P 221
P 222 (SPORT)
Produced: 1962 - 1969
Volume: 73169
Body: 4-door estate
Engine: 4-cylinder, in-line, overhead valves, 1,778 cc, 84.14 x 80 mm, 75 or 90 or 95 bhp, and later 1,986 cc, 88.9x80 mm, 90 bhp.
Transmission: 4-speed manual (with or without overdrive) with floor-mounted gear lever or 3-speed automatic with gear lever on steering column.
Brakes: Hydraulic drums on all wheels initially, discs on the front wheels at a later stage.
Dimensions: Overall length 449 cm,wheelbase 260 cm.

Some more Volvo Amazon facts in shorter form:

121 (B16A, 1957-1961). First production model with 60bhp 1582cc single-carb engine, four doors and a 3-speed manual gearbox.

122S (B16B, 1958-1961). Produced for export with 85bhp twin-carb 1582cc engine and four speed gearbox.

121 (B18A, 1961-1968). Single carb with new cylinder head and 1778cc, 75bhp engine. (85bhp from 1966). 2-door, four-door and 5-door estate. The 4-door ended in 1967.

122S (B18D, 1961-1968). A twin-carb 121. A 2-door from 1963, with the last 4-door being built in 1967. Power outputs were 90bhp (1961-1965), 95bhp (1966), 100bhp (1967), 115bhp (1968).

221/222 (B18A, B18B, B18D, 1962-1969). Amazon estate with 1778cc engine. Sometimes called the 121 or 221 Combi or estate. Fitted with the 4.5J wheels from the 1800.

121 (B20A, 1968-1970). 2-door with B20A 1998cc 90bhp engine of the 140 series.

123GT (B18B, 1966-1968). 2-door with 115bhp high compression version of the P1800 engine. Also with 4.5J wheels.

122S (B20B, 1968-1979). A 118bhp 1998cc engine of the 140 series. With either twin SU's or Strombergs. 2-door only.

131 (B18D, 1965-1970). A 2-door entry-level Amazon with single-carb 75bhp engine.

Volvo Amazon Cars by Series.

A-Series (from 1957):

  • 60bhp B16A engine
  • 4-door saloon only
  • 2-tone paintwork

B-Series (from spring 1958):

  • B16B engine
  • 4-speed M40 gearbox

C-Series (from August 1958):

  • Standard front seat belts for all cars
  • Amazon Sport for Swedish market
  • New type of brake servo (known as the duo-servo)
  • Improvements to the heating system

D-Series (from August 1960):

  • New 3-speed and 4-speed all-synchro gearboxes
  • Overdrive option for the 3-speed gearbox
  • New seats

E-Series (A-Series for P130 and P220, from August 1961):

  • 12-volt electrical system
  • B18 engine
  • Asymmetrical headlights
  • New grille
  • 2-tone paint option dropped
  • Stronger front suspension is reinforced and heavier
  • Girling front disc brakes for sportier models
  • 2-door option introduced

F-Series (B-Series for P130 and P220, from August 1962):

  • Rear axle strengthened
  • New rear lights (now incorporating reversing lights)
  • Improved rustproofing

G-Series (D-Series for P130 and P220, from August 1963):

  • Borg-Warner BW35 automatic gearbox offered
  • Redesigned boot handle incorporated number plate light
  • New headlining design

K-Series (E-Series for P130 and P220, from August 1964):

  • Front disc brakes standard on all models
  • Estate gets brake servo
  • New radiator grille
  • New wheels and hubcaps
  • New emblems on the sides
  • Rear seat passengers get their own heating duct
  • Rear armrest on all models
  • Front seat passengers gets handle on the dashboard
  • Radiator blind no longer fitted
  • Estate gets gas struts for upper tailgate
  • New ergonomically designed seats

L-Series (F-Series for P130 and P220, from August 1965):

  • New compression ratio for B18 (by fitting thinner head gasket)
  • New camshaft
  • Sealed front suspension and propshaft
  • Rear wheel now has a valve to help prevent locking when braking
  • Amazon Favorit economy special introduced (no chrome around the windows, black or white paint only, and M30 3-speed gearbox)

M-Series (from August 1966):

  • New grille
  • Redesigned seatbelts
  • 123GT introduced
  • Extra power for all engines (thanks to the use of Stromberg carbs)
  • Sealed cooling system with new radiator
  • P120-Series discontinued for most markets

P-Series (from August 1967):

  • Collapsible steering column
  • New steering wheel
  • Brake servo on all models
  • End of production of 4-door models (replaced by the 144)

S-Series (from August 1968):

  • B20 engine
  • Dual-circuit brakes
  • Brake servo

T-Series (from August 1969):

  • Production of the Amazon estate ends
  • Only B20 engine offered
  • Standard seatbelts for the rear seats
  • Adjustable headrests for front seats

The following tables are reproduced with the kind permission of Fredrik Lofter and his Volvo Amazon site www.volvoamazonpictures.se

During the first years of the production of the Volvo Amazon series the "model year" was not very clear and many changes were introduced at certain chassis numbers and not the actual calendar year.

Period Model year P120 Ch nr P120 produced P130 Ch nr P130 produced P220 Ch nr P220 produced Totals Accumulated
April 1956 and June 1956 1956* X1, X2 - - - - - - -
August 1956 - spring 1958 1957 1 - 5272 5,184 - - - - 5,184 5,184
February 1958 - November** 1958 1958 4436 - 14999 9,815 - - - - 9,815 14,999
November** 1958 - October** 1959 1959 15000 - 32999 18,000 - - - - 18,000 32,999
October** 1959 - July 1960 1960 33000 - 54399 21,400 - - - - 21,400 54,399
August 1960 - July 1961 1961 54400 - 84299 29,900 - - - - 29,900 84,299
August 1961 - July 1962 1962 84300 - 112799 28,500 1 - 10499 10499 1 - 1399 1,399 40,398 124,697
August 1962 - July 1963 1963 112800 - 139999 27,500 10500 - 39999 29,500 1400 - 8274 6,875 63,575 188,272
August 1963 - July 1964 1964 140000 - 166399 26,400 40000 - 84599 44,600 8275 - 17949 9,675 80,675 268,947
August 1964 - July 1965 1965 166400 - 193799 27,400 84600 - 144399 59,800 17950 - 29399 11,450 98,650 367,597
August 1965 - July 1966 1966 193800 - 225049 31,250 144400 - 216949 72,550 29400 - 44599 15,200 119,000 486,597
August 1966 - July 1967 1967 225050 - 234653*** 9,604*** 216950 - 279899 62,950 44600 - 61799 17,200 89,754 576,351
August 1967 - July 1968 1968 - - 279900 - 312499 32,600 61800 - 70299 8,500 41,100 617,451
August 1968 - July 1969 1969 - - 312500 - 339999 27,500 70300 - 73220*** 2,921*** 30,421 647,872
August 1969 - July 1970 1970 - - 340000 - 359918 19,919 - - 19,919 667,791
Total - - 234,653 - 359,918 - 73,220 667,791 -

* Includes the two prototypes X1 and X2 which had chassis numbers 1 and 2 respectively in their own chassis number series. Both were registered for traffic in Sweden and therefore included here.

** Calculated point in time based on available chassis number data and the assumption of an even distribution of produced cars during the period.

*** The actual figures for these models are unclear as they vary according to source. Even Volvo's sources are different. They also record the following:

  • P120 totals - 234209
  • P120 model year 1967 - 9160
  • P220 totals - 73196
  • P220 model year 1969 - 2897
  • Total Amazons - 667,323

The last manufactured P 220 was saved and is on exhibition in the Volvo Museum in Arendal and has chassis number 73220.


Model year Chassis number Type designation Comment/Gearbox
1957 1 - 248 P 1200 H6
1957 249 - 4435 P 1200 V/H H6
1957 4447 - 4636 P 1200 V/H H6
1957 4639 - 5193 P 1200 V/H H6
1957 5214 - 5215 P 1200 V/H H6
1957 5271 - 5272 P 1200 V/H H6
1958 4436 - 4446 P 1200 VB/HB M4
1958 4637 - 4638 P 1200 VB/HB M4
1958 5194 - 5213 P 1200 VB/HB M4
1958 5216 - 5270 P 1200 VB/HB M4
1958 5273 - 12082 P 1200 VB/HB M4
1958 12083 - 14999 P 12204 VB/HB -
1958 12170 - 14999 P 12206 VB/HB -
1958 12379 - 14999 P 12104 VB/HB -
1959 15000 - 32999 P 12104 UVB/UHB -
1959 15000 - 32999 P 12204 UVB/UHB Export
1959 15000 - 32999 P 12206 UVB/UHB -
1959 21000 - 32999 P 12208 UVB USA
1960 33000 - 54399 P 12104 UVB/UHB -
1960 33000 - 54399 P 12106 UVB/UHB -
1960 33000 - 54399 P 12204 UVB/UHB Export
1960 33000 - 54399 P 12206 UVB/UHB -
1960 33000 - 54399 P 12208 UVB USA
1961 54400 - 84299 P 12132 VD/HD M30
1961 54400 - 84299 P 12133 VD/HD M31
1961 54400 - 84299 P 12134 VD/HD M40
1961 54400 - 84299 P 12234 VD/HD M40
1961 54400 - 84299 P 12235 VD/HD M41
1961 54400 - 84299 P 12244 VD USA

In March 1958 Volvo issue a service bulletin about the introduction of the new gearbox M4, and eventually also stated what chassis numbers belongs to what model year based on the gearbox (H6 means 1957 and M4 means 1958.)


Model year Production run P 120 Ch nr P 120 numbers P 130 Ch nr P 130 numbers P 220 Ch nr P 220 numbers
1957 August 1956 - December 1956 1 - 34 34 - - - -
1957 January 1957 - December 1957 35 - 3100 3,066 - - - -
1957 January 1958 - spring 1958 3101 - 5272 2,084 - - - -
1958 February 1958 - November* 1958 4436 - 14999 9,815 - - - -
1959 November* 1958 - December 1958 15000 - 16057 1,059 - - - -
1959 January 1959 - October* 1959 16059 - 32999 16,941 - - - -
1960 October* 1959 - December 1959 33000 - 38408 5,409 - - - -
1960 January 1960 - July 1960 38409 - 54399 15,991 - - - -
1961 August 1960 - December 1960 54400 - 66064 11,665 - - - -
1961 January 1961 - July 1961 66065 - 84299 18,235 - - - -
1962 August 1961 - December 1961 84300 - 96301 12,002 1 - 1852 1,852 - -
1962 January 1962 - July 1962 96302 - 112799 16,498 1853 - 10499 8,647 1 - 1399 1,399
1963 August 1962 - December 1962 112800 - 124544 11,745 10500 - 20615 10,116 1400 - 4039 2,640
1963 January 1963 - July 1963 124545 - 139999 15,455 20616 - 39999 19,384 4040 - 8274 4,235
1964 August 1963 - December 1963 140000 - 150170 10,171 40000 - 57366 17,367 8275 - 11593 3,319
1964 January 1964 - July 1964 150171 - 166399 16,229 57367 - 84599 27,233 11594 - 17949 6,356
1965 August 1964 - December 1964 166400 - 176552 10,153 84600 - 106768 22,169 17950 - 22209 4,260
1965 January 1965 - July 1965 176553 - 193799 17,247 106769 - 144399 37,631 22210 - 29399 7,190
1966 August 1965 - December 1965 193800 - 206184 12,385 144400 - 172294 27,895 29400 - 35146 5,747
1966 January 1966 - July 1966 206185 - 225049 18,865 172295 - 216949 44,655 35147 - 44599 9,453
1967 August 1966 - December 1966 225050 - 233747 8,698 216950 - ? ? 44600 - ? ?
1967 January 1967 - July 1967 233748 - 234653 906 ? - 279899 ? ? - 61799 ?

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