1930s / 2017 Shanghai Auto Show / Swedish / Volvo

Live from the Shanghai Auto Show: Volvo PV652

Introduced in 1929, the PV650-series was the very first Volvo powered by a six-cylinder engine. The name says it all: PV stands for PersonVagn (passenger car), the six stands for six-cylinder, the five stands for five seats, and the third digit refers to the version.

The PV650 was just a bare chassis that could be outfitted with different bodies by aftermarket coachbuilders. The PV651 was the first passenger-carrying version of the car to hit the market, and it was largely aimed at similarly-sized American models that were becoming increasingly popular across Sweden.

The PV652 replaced the PV651 in early 1930. The two looked similar when viewed from the outside. Volvo made improvements to the interior and it designed a new dashboard, but many of the upgrades were found by looking under the sheet metal. Notably, the 652 received a new carburetor and hydraulic brakes.

The 652 used the same 3.0-liter side-valve straight-six engine as the 651. It generated 55 horsepower at 3,000 rpm, which was enough to send the 652 to a top speed of 68 mph (110 km/h). Interestingly, early and late cars used a three-speed manual transmission, while 652s built in 1931 received a four-speed manual unit.

All told, 2,176 examples of the 650, 651, and 652 cars were built from 1929 to 1934.

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