20 YEARS ON: Here are 10 things you should know about the Volvo C70. Image: QuicKPic
Cape Town - The C70 represented a new niche in an important period for Volvo, a project that was driven by enthusiasm and a love of cars by a small and passionate team.
Twenty years ago, it was first shown to the world.
When the Volvo C70 was first unveiled, it was not only the slender body that was brand new. It was Volvo’s first ‘proper’ coupe since the 1800 model, and the first time Volvo had cooperated with engineering firm TWR on a new car, says the automaker.
At the beginning of the 1990s, Volvo decided to expand its passenger car programme with a coupé and a cabriolet.
The two versions would be developed in parallel and built on the technological base of the 850 model.
Gallery: 20 years of Volvo C70
The first-generation Volvo C70 Coupé was manufactured for nine years between 1993 and 2002, while the cabriolet lived on for a further three years until April 2005. By this time, 76 809 C70s had been built, of which 27 014 were coupés and 49 795 cabriolets.
The second generation C70 convertible, featuring a three piece retractable hardtop and built by Pininfarina, was launched at Paris Motor Show in September 2005.
The C70 was launched exclusively with five-cylinder turbo engines. The strongest engine was a 2.3-litre unit (176kW), a 2.5 litre (142kW) unit, and a 2.0-litre version offering 132kW and 165kW, respectively.
READ: Facelifted C30, C70 driven
10 facts about the Volvo C70:
1. The C70 had one of the world's best sound systems at the time: loudspeakers from the Danish prestige brand Dynaudio, Dolby Surround and an amplifier with up to 4x100 watts.
2. The 17 different exterior colours were developed under the supervision of designer José Diaz de la Vega. He also led the design work for the interior, while Anders Gunnarsson played the same role for the exterior.
3. In Sweden, there is a special club for C70 owners - the Swedish Volvo C70 club. They are organising a parade from the factory in Uddevalla to the Volvo Museum in Gothenburg to coincide with the 20th anniversary.
4. The 1996 première in Paris could also be followed online - it was the first time this had ever happened in Europe.
5. In 1998, the C70 was ranked as the best Volvo in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction survey and it came in fifth overall.
READ: Tested - Volvo's lithe C70
6. Finnish firm Valmet produced a proposal for a C70 cabriolet with a metal roof. This did not make production, but the C70’s successor was given a roof of this type in 2005.
7. Tom Walkinshaw, the man behind TWR, was an experienced racing driver with three touring car world titles and two victories at the Daytona and Le Mans 24-hour races, respectively.
8. In 1999, Volvo acquired TWR from Autonova and continued production in-house. Later on, Volvo formed a company with Pininfarina.
9. In the film production of The Saint (1996), Simon Templar, played by Val Kilmer, drove a Garnet Red Volvo C70. The film was shot before the C70 had been unveiled, which meant a great deal of secrecy was called for.
10. The preliminary prospectus for the C70 was sparse. It consisted of elegant pictures, a few technical facts and a three line quotation from Peter Horbury: “I’ve tried to create a car that people will want, not a car people need.”