50 Years Later, the Volvo 140 Is Still One of the Greatest Cars Ever Made

Who said status symbol is a function of horsepower?

August 16, 2016 9:00 am

This week, Volvo is celebrating the 50th anniversary of  the 140 Series. Unassuming but unwaveringly stylish, this little two-door is one of the best cars ever made. Here’s why.

After 40 years, people still drive ‘em and they don’t cost much.

Probably because parts are relatively simple to acquire.

Then there’s the design. It’s timeless. Just look at ‘em. Clean cut, sporty, roomy, iconic.

It was Volvo’s first model to sell over a million units. Over a million drivers can’t be wrong, right?

They were (and still are) crazy safe. Gr0undbreakingly safe. So safe that safety became a standard-bearer throughout the industry largely thanks to the 140’s innovations.

Volvo’s chief designer Jan Wilsgaard’s motto was “Simple is beautiful” and this is exactly what the 140 Series is. It’s the tough little brother that you can forever count on.

If you’re not convinced, take a page from the book of Don Draper: “What do men want? A man wants to buy a car and feel like he made the right decision … he wants to feel empowered. He wants his wife and kids to look at him with admiration; maybe he doesn’t get that admiration at work. Maybe he never experienced it with his own father. You’re not selling a car, you’re selling confidence.

A Volvo isn’t a Lincoln or a Cadillac, it’s something else. It’s a different kind of status symbol, but a powerful one nonetheless. It tells the world that you’re too smart to be taken in with trappings and doodads alone; you’d rather protect your family than turn a few heads on Main Street. You want safety, security. You’re a man, and a confident one. A man comfortable enough in his own skin that he doesn’t need a car to do the talking. A man who drives a Volvo.

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