CC Outtake: 1971 Volvo 144S – Scan Design Classic


The 144’s brand new airy, boxy and upright body seemed so out of step with American design in 1968. Modern Scandinavian design had finally hit the automotive sector; given that prior Volvos had been heavily influenced by American design. It was a bit of a shocker, when I first saw it. But it had excellent space utilization, and one sat so upright and comfortably in it, with splendid visibility. But little did I imagine in 1968 that this basic design would be built for a quarter of a century. And that I’d still be admiring (and shooting) its clean lines a half century later.


Apparently the 142E sport sedan did get FI in 1971, and then it was available across the line in 1972. But the twin-carb 118hp version was also still available too. Hmm. I did not remember that obscure detail.


I certainly remember other aspects of these cars very well. A friend of my older brother bough one of the first 1968s available, a 144S, and I remember vividly him coming over to show it off and take us for a ride. He was an enthusiast, and caned the B18 engine that came in the early versions on a very brisk ride into the countryside. very memorable indeed. It seemed light years more modern than the 1963 Buick Special he traded in for it. The owner of this one has put an upswept extension on its long shifter.

Nice 14o Series Volvos are getting a bit thin on the ground, so I had to peel off a few shots of this very period-correct schoolbus yellow one. I assumed it was a 144E, as I thought fuel injection became standard across the board in 1971. Along with the new grille and a few other minor changes. But this one says 144S on its front fender, and a bit of checking confirms I was wrong.