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Volvo se toetrede tot premium voertuie

Erkenning aan die Volvo 140 en 160-reekse.

Deur Daantjie Badenhorst.

Nadat Volvo groot sukses met die Amazon (122S in Suid-Afrika), die PV 444 en 544 en P 1800-modelle behaal het, het dié Sweedse vervaardiger in 1966 in ‘n hoër liga begin speel met die bekendstelling van sy 140-reeks.

Daar was drie bakvorms, naamlik die 142 (twee-deursedan), die 144 (‘n Sedan met vier deure) en die 145 (‘n Stasiewa), maar toe die reeks aan die begin van 1968 in Suid-Afrika bekend gestel is, was net die 144 S, soos hy bekend-gestaan het, beskikbaar. Die enjin het uit die 122 S B 18 B gekom; dit is net in Suid-Afrika vir hierdie reeks gebruik aangesien die moeder-maatskappy bepaal het dat die 122 S en die P 1800 nie dieselfde enjin kon gebruik in markte waar albei reeks beskikbaar was nie. Die P 1800 is nie amptelik in Suid-Afrika bekendgestel nie hoewel ‘n paar die land binnegekom het, daarom kon sy enjin wel vir die Suid-Afrikaanse 122S gebruik word. Die 144 S-handratmodel is met hierdie enjin toegerus en die outomatiese een met ‘n minder kragtige weergawe van dieselfde enjin. 

In 1969 is die B 18B-enjin aan die Suid-Afrikaanse mark onttrek en vervang deur die B 20, weereens met verskillende kraglewerings vir die handrat- en outomatiese modelle. Die werkverrigting van laasgenoemde model, wat ‘n ratkieser aan die stuurkolom gehad het, het mense nie juis gaande gehad nie.

Die groot nuus van Volvo se kant af het egter teen die einde van 1969 plaasgevind; vir die eerste keer is ‘n Volvo met ses silinders bekendgestel. Die 164 was toegerus met ‘n drie-liter enjin, en het weer eens ‘n keuse tussen ‘n hand- of outomatiese ratkas gebied, maar daar was geen verskil in die kraglewering van die twee modelle se enjins nie. Die 164 het ‘n splinternuwe stilerings-kenmerk wat tot vandag toe nog in alle Volvo-modelle gebruik word, bekend-gestel, naamlik ‘n skuins chroom-strook oor die sierrooster. Die 164-reeks het tot aan die begin van 1973 onveranderd gebly maar ‘n nuwe sierroster vir die 144 met hierdie chroom-strook is stilweg bekend-gestel, terwyl die B 20-handrat-model se enjin ook vir die outomatiese model gebruik is.  Dit het beteken dat die outomatiese model se werkverrigting en brandstof-verbruik aansienlik verbeter het. Twee belangrike nuwe kenmerke is in 1973 vir die hele reeks aangekondig; die deur-handvatsels aan die buitekant sou voortaan gelyk met die bakwerk wees en die outomatiese modelle het ‘n nuwe ratkieser op die vloer gekry. Daarby is die lang spoedmeter van die 164 met ronde instrumente vervang. Hoewel die 145-stasiewa nie in Suid-Afrika bekendgestel is nie, het ‘n unieke model nogtans hier ontstaan. Droomers, die destyde Volvo-handelaars in Paarl, het iets spesiaals ontwikkel. Hulle het die 145 se bakwerk en die 164 se neus gekombineer en die enigste 164-stasiewa ter wêreld, wat die 165-naam sou dra as dit ‘n volwaardige produksie-model was, geskep. Die tydskrif Car het in die Oktober 1973-uitgawe berig. Hierdie motor, wat blou geverf is, is steeds in ‘n lopende toestand en is al by die jaarlikse Cars in the Park-uitstalling in Pretoria vertoon.

Dit was egter nie lank voordat groot veranderinge aan die reeks aangebring is nie. Die reeks sou voortaan in Volkswagen se aanleg in Uitenhage vervaardig word. Die hele reeks is daarby opgeknap. Die 144-reeks is uitgebrei met die toevoeging van die 144 E-handrat en outomaties wat met brandstof-inspuiting toegerus was. Die hele 144 S-reeks het ook nuwe sitlerings-kenmerke gekry, asook ‘n nuwe paneelbord en ‘n stuurwiel wat ‘n lugsak, wat toe nog as ‘n belaglike idee in Suid-Afrika beskou is, kon huisves. Dit was egter ‘n teken dat Volvo vooruit gedink het wat veiligheid betref. Die 144-reeks het effens verwarrende kentekens gekry; die 144 S het die De Luxe-kenteken agter gekry en die 144 E het ‘n GL-kenteken, soos wat oorsee gebruik is, op sy sierrooster gehad. Hierdie twee model-benamings is egter nie amptelik in Suid-Afrika gebruik nie.  Die 164 E was die nuwe vlagskip, weer eens met brandstof-inspuiting en die keuse van ‘n hand- of outomatiese ratkas. In 1975 is die klein kantvensters op albei modelreekse weggelaat en die kantruite sou net uit een stuk bestaan. Daarby is die 144 TE en 164 TE by die reeks gevoeg; albei het onder meer allooiwiele en leerbekleedsel gehad en was die vlagskepe van die onderskeie reekse.

In 1974 is die plaasvervangers van die 140/160-reekse, naamlik die 240 en 260, oorsee bekendgestel en daar was groot planne vir hul Suid-Afrikaanse bekendstelling. Daar was egter ook onderhandelings oor die bemarking en verspreiding van Volvo’s in Suid-Afrika. Die moedermaatskappy het, onder druk van die Sweedse regering, besluit om nie die nuwe reeks na Suid-Afrika te bring nie, met die gevolg dat Volvo in 1976 aan die Suid-Afrikaanse mark onttrek het en produksie en verspreiding van die 144 en 164 gestaak is.

 

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