Usually when an automaker celebrates the anniversary of a vehicle or an event, it's something that is very important as it marks a significant success in the industry. However, Volvo appears to be following a different path as they are preparing to celebrate the anniversary of a flop.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Sport, a two-seater roadster that was Volvo's first sports car and, by most accounts, a failure. The story of the Sport begins in the early fifties when founder and managing director of Volvo, Assar Gabrielsson, took a number of trips to U.S. to meet with people and learn more about the marketplace before launching the brand. During his trips, Gabrielsson noted that there was a huge interest in small, European sports cars. Gabrielsson also met with people from Glasspar, a company that had begun building boat hulls and bodies for sports cars using a new material at the time, fiberglass. It was these two things that led Gabrielsson to come up with the idea of building a sports car. Thus, the Sport was born.
Work began on the Sport in 1953 with Glasspar building a body and Volvo's engineers working a chassis. Within three years, the Sport was ready for production. The model itself was a unique design with a short wheelbase and front end that looked like a turbine. Under the skin was a tuned version of the 1.4L four-cylinder from the PV 444 that made 70 horsepower.