Volvo 940, 960 or the new 850?

One of the prejudices against copywriters is that they'll lie in their ads, that the bars will bend. But that's not true. In principle quite the opposite. The competition reads and is quickly on the spot with a complaint about unfair advertising.

More than a balloon - advertising for the airbag
More than a balloon - advertising for the airbag

This means that the texts are normally not only approved by the customer's marketing department, but also by the legal department. But of course you try to put the product to be advertised in the best light. Whereby you may not always be objective.

For example, I was just praising the winter properties of the Volvo 940 and 960 in a brochure when I got stuck in a snow-covered parking lot on Lenzerheide with a fully equipped company car despite the limited-slip differential and all the trimmings.

That is, the rear wheels turned happily, but the 940 didn't move. What's more, I was even able to get out and watch the spinning of the rear wheels up close. Worse still, after all, a BMW driver (!) Had to rescue me from the awkward situation. However, we only managed to push the Volvo backwards on the steep mountain road. After all, the ABS functioned perfectly when "braking backwards".

Advertisement for the new Volvo 850
Advertisement for the new Volvo 850

The turning point in the image of the Swedish tanks was to bring on the one hand a 480 convertible and on the other hand the 850. The first big, real Volvo from Sweden with front-wheel drive. I was supposed to test drive both new launches on the factory premises in Torslanda near Gothenburg. Should, because the 480 convertible was simply not made ready for series production despite the great efforts of the Swedish engineers. A few potholes, two or three bumps or Berlin cushions were enough and the convertible didn't fall apart, but the body warped in all directions.

In short, the project including the ready-made advertisements was crushed.

But there was still the completely new 850. Before testing the hand-made prototypes, we were pelted on photo cameras because the exact appearance was top secret. And we all had to make a commitment not to divulge any details about the new Volvo until it actually launched. And, for heaven's sake, we should be careful with the 1 million Swiss franc prototype.

Advertisement for the Volvo 960
Advertisement for the Volvo 960

The day before, two German auto and motorsport journalists each wrecked one of the new 850s because they braked too late at the end of the airfield during the high-speed test.

I myself was more interested in cornering and the driving experience in general. And for that, the Torslanda factory has everything your heart desires. Up to cobblestones and small country lanes with bumps and potholes. Lo and behold, the 850 was a great car. Admittedly, I've always been a fan of front-wheel drive and strong, flexible engines. The car was actually more fun from lap to lap. And the laps got faster and faster. If you wanted, you could do a lap as a passenger with rally legend Stig Blomquist.

And whoever thought, like me, that he was now slowly approaching the limit, was taught better. In any case, I'll never get into his car again. Not even in a Volvo.

For a direct comparison, third-party brands were also available for test drives. Among other things, a Saab 900. Practically my Saab from home. So get in and do a lap for comparison. Accelerate on the straight up to 170 km / h and then into the long right-hand bend in exactly the same way as with the Volvo. But the Saab 900 wasn't a Volvo 850 and I wasn't a Stig Blomquist. The Saab broke out of the rear completely unexpectedly for me and just because I was actually a Saab driver, I was able to keep the car so barely on the road. But it hurt a bit, the Volvo 850 was actually better than my Saab.

And suddenly you're worth a Volvo
And suddenly you're worth a Volvo

But what's the saying, whose bread I eat, whose song I sing.

It made it easier for me to continue promoting Volvo's cars and safety philosophy as a Volvo copywriter. For example, with a groundbreaking campaign that has hit the nerve of the times. To protect yourself and your loved ones, you suddenly find yourself worth a Volvo. For most of them, this will probably still be the case today. And was formulated like this, for example.

Who would have thought that a wedding in white with a horse-drawn carriage and bridesmaids would ever be a topic. And who would have thought that such a renowned limousine as the Volvo 850 GLT would one day be at the door? But 170 horsepower, 5 cylinders, 20 valves, 215 km / h, 8,9 s to one hundred and ABS are also values ​​that become more persuasive the longer.

In addition, the first Volvo from Sweden with front-wheel drive has a few world firsts that until now one could only dream of. Like a transversely installed five-cylinder engine with a variable intake system *, a Delta-Link axle *, which for the first time combines the advantages of independent suspension and undivided rear axle, the absolutely best side impact protection system * so far, an automatic. Belt height adjustment * and, not to forget, a child seat integrated into the rear center armrest if required.

After all, the new Volvo should last a few years. You too can start with a test drive. AND SUDDENLY YOU'RE WORTH A VOLVO.

* World first

Text and pictures: Gigi

Previous parts:

Volvo or Saab or public transport?

Volvo or Saab, or Alfa Romeo?

Volvo, Saab or Volvo - copywriters at Volvo

4 thoughts on "Volvo 940, 960 or the new 850?"

  • Combinations

    See it like Hans and Simon (and like Gigi). With the 940 (2.3 soft turbo with moderate 150 hp) and with a V70 with front-wheel drive and 170 hp (not the renamed 850, but its rounded successor V70) I had the pleasure of each.

    The 940 was arguably the youngest and last non-lifestyle station wagon I've ever driven and of course the one with the largest trunk. A really great car that I like to think about.

    Never felt underpowered with the engine either. 2.3 + turbo = 150 hp doesn't sound like much, but it worked extremely well. The throttle response was spontaneous and the feeling of moving an agricultural utility vehicle (which I had in the 240 from time to time) could no longer be spoken of in the 940.

    Now I understand Gigi's headline too.

    At last, Volvo had cultivated engines and the chassis of their own rear-wheel drive vehicles within striking distance of BMW and Benz.
    But at the same time, the 850 comes with an overall concept that no longer aims to face competition on an equal footing. No, they wanted to outperform.

    But one has also surpassed oneself and abandoned old virtues. When the 940/960 rolled off the production line parallel to the 850, Volvo buyers in the upper middle class were given the free choice for the first and last time between a modern lifestyle and a pragmatism as dry as crispbread.

    For me one of the most exciting times in the entire Volvo story. Cool that Gigi (an insider) is writing about it here.

  • Nice article, I don't like the 480 at all. The station wagons of that time were at least real station wagons with enough space. What is offered today is, in my opinion, too much lifestyle and too little practicality.

  • When we returned from Africa after years with two small children in 1992, I bought a Volvo 940 station wagon. Endless space and the slogan; "And suddenly you are worth a Volvo" also totally convinced me. The 940 served us well for years. Unfortunately, Saab didn't have a station wagon on offer at the time. In my opinion, one of Saab's biggest failures to enter the station wagon market so late!

  • Thank you Gigi.

    Read again with pleasure and learned something again. Didn't know that there were such concrete plans for a convertible at Volvo at that time and that or why they failed.

    But it's probably better that way, because the national competition was really good on this point - really good. I would like to drive a Saabrio again in this life. On the other hand, I miss an open Volvo (especially a 480) as much as an underage Swedish climate activist with whatever syndrome would miss CO2 in our atmosphere ...

    Under the heading (the 480 does not appear at all), I would have expected other information, but it was good and a real pleasure to read. Many Thanks.

    I really hope that the Gigi article series will continue like this and that more will come? That would be really great.


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