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The Volvo Amazon is a mid-size car manufactured by Volvo Cars from 1956 to 1970, and introduced in the USA, as the 122S at the New York International Auto Show in April 1959.
The Amazon shared both the wheelbase from its predecessor, the PV, as well as its tall posture and high H-point seating — while offering three model configurations: 2-door sedan, 4-door sedan and wagon. In 1959 Volvo provided front seat belts as standard equipment on all the cars, including the export models, becoming the world's first manufacturer to take this step — later becoming the first car featuring three-point seat belts.
When introduced, the car was called the Amason (with an 's'), which derives from the fierce female warriors of Greek mythology, the Amazons. Kreidler, German manufacturer of motorcycles had already registered the name, and the two companies agreed Volvo could only use the name domestically (i.e., within Sweden), modifying the spelling to Amazon. Subsequently, Volvo began its tri-digit nomenclature and the line became known as the 120 Series.
The Amazon was originally manufactured at Volvo's Lundby plant in Gothenburg and subsequently at the company's Torslandaverken,[ which began operating in 1964. By the end of production, 234,653 four-door models, 359,917 two-door models and 73,220 station wagons had been produced, 60% of them for export — for a total of 667,791 vehicles.
Under prototype designation 1200, following the PV444's internal designation as the 1100, the Amazon was released in the press in February 1956, with production initially set to begin in July of the same year, and deliveries commenced in August 1956 — under the now modified internal designation 120 series. Further iterations included the 121, the base model with a single carburetor 66 bhp (49 kW) engine, the 122S introduced in 1958 as a performance model equipped with a dual carburetor 85 bhp (63 kW) engine, and the later 130 (two-door sedan), 120 (four-door sedan) and 220 (4-door estate wagon) models. The Amazon's handbrake location outboard of the driver's seat, was intended to accommodate subsequent bench seat models with column shift transmissions — which never materialized. Buyers began to receive the first cars in February 1957, and initial models were two-tone red and black with light gray roof, light grey with a black roof, followed by a dark blue with gray roof in 1958.
In 1966 the Volvo PV ended production, replaced by the Amazon Favorit, a less expensive version of the Amazon, without exterior chrome trim, a passenger-side sunshield or cigarette lighter, and with a three-speed rather than four-speed transmission — available in black with red interior and later white or black with red interior. The newer Volvo 140 was becoming the company's mainstream model, and the last of the four-door 120 saloons were produced in 1967. In 1967 came the 123GT that was a 130 with high compression B18B engine (from the Volvo P1800), M41 gearbox, fully reclining seats, front fog and driving lights (on some markets), alternator, fender mounted mirrors, special steering wheel, dash with a shelf and tachometer, and other cosmetic upgrades. In 1969 the displacement of the old B18 engine was increased and the engine was called the B20.
The last Amazon was manufactured on July 3, 1970.
Bodywork. Length/width/height/wheelbase – cm (in) : 445/162/151/260 (175.2/63.7/69.3/102.5); weight : 1010 kg (2229 lb).
Engine. Inline 4 cylinders 1778 cc (106 ci), LPG equipped, 8 valves, manual 4-speed gearbox, rear-wheel drive. Maximum power : 66 bhp @ 5700 rpm; torque : 115 Nm @ 2500 rpm. Top speed : 148 km/h (92 mph); 0-60 in 15.6 sec.