Volvo Estate Owners Recall Memories of the Swedish Workhorse as it Exits the UK Market

A Volvo 245 estate model

Once derided as a utilitarian closet on wheels, and simultaneously esteemed as an emblem of resilient Swedish craftsmanship, the inaugural release of the Volvo estate took place 70 years ago. However, the company has recently disclosed that its era of shuttling families and their myriad belongings across the UK is drawing to a close.

In a strategic shift, Volvo has resolved to discontinue the sale of its estate and saloon car offerings in the UK, opting to exclusively promote its SUV lineup. The company explained:

“The demand for our saloon and estate models has dwindled significantly within the UK, compelling us to make the decision to phase out these particular models.”

The announcement has been met with disappointment among the dedicated enthusiasts of the dependable workhorse. Below, individuals express their recollections of the cherished Volvo estates they have encountered and held dear.

Cai Antoney, antiques dealer from Shropshire

During my formative years, my parents acquired a pre-owned Volvo estate in a vibrant shade of orange – certainly not the type of vehicle one strives to flaunt among peers when exuding a sense of coolness takes precedence.

Sincerely, I held the belief that our possession of the sole bright orange Volvo estate on the planet was an absolute truth – that is, until a second one came into view within a Morrisons parking lot. Interestingly, my parents were insistent on waiting so as to cross paths with this enigmatic owner. Consequently, we settled down and enjoyed a picnic atop the car’s hood.

In due course, the car reached its end and was sent to the scrapyard. To my chagrin, not long after that, they succeeded in locating an identical orange Volvo estate that was up for sale, and proceeded to buy it. As fate would have it, this turned out to be the very same vehicle we had come across in the parking lot before.

Fortunately (at least from the perspective of my younger self), that second one also met its demise, leading our family to transition to a far more understated vehicle.

In hindsight, the vivid orange Volvo estate unquestionably carved out a memorable niche in my childhood. It undeniably garnered attention – and the convenience of spotting it in any parking space was unparalleled. If ever the chance arose, I believe I’d be tempted to acquire one for myself, should such a vehicle be available for sale.

Nic Tucker, 28, from London, works in luxury travel

Nic Tucker’s Volvo tattoo

The initial automobile that stands out in my childhood memories is a crimson Volvo estate. Being the youngest among my siblings, I invariably found myself situated in the rearmost row of seats, facing unsettlingly backwards. This arrangement allowed us to exchange waves with those fortunate enough to be trailing behind us.

The photo I hold most dear captures a moment with my three elder sisters and me, positioned alongside the Volvo at our grandparents’ residence. I was quite young at the time – I reckon we likely bid farewell to the car when I was around four years old.

I hold such endearing recollections of that car – my sisters and I, those rear seats that could be flipped up, countless moments of playful mischief – and the photograph is something I hold in high regard. It’s truly remarkable. There’s a tattoo artist whose artistic approach resonates with me, and I had this idea – I wanted to have that image inked. I went ahead with the tattoo approximately two weeks ago. Initially, I was concerned that my family might disapprove of the idea, but to my delight, they all admire it. It serves as a lovely means to keep the bond with my sisters close and everlasting.

Niall Oswald, electrical engineer from Bristol

Niall Oswald tending his Volvo 740 Turbo

My parents had a habit of consistently choosing Volvo estates – starting with a 240 and later upgrading to a 740, which felt notably contemporary and sophisticated in comparison. A multitude of memories revolve around embarking on early departures and extended voyages to destinations like Scotland or Cornwall for family vacations (overseas travel wasn’t our thing), all the while cramming the car to its limits and relying on road atlases for navigation. One journey that stands out is our visit to Orford Ness in Suffolk, accompanied by the radio broadcast of John Peel’s Home Truths – a collection of simple yet cherished pleasures.

In 2018, I made the decision to acquire a 1989 Volvo 740 Turbo estate, a journey through nostalgia in itself. I hadn’t actively been seeking a project, but as fate would have it, the project seemed to find me. The various sounds – the sturdy clunk of the doors, the distinct thunk of the central locking mechanism, and the resounding roar of the cooling fan – all serve as vivid reminders of those memorable holidays from the 1990s.

After its purchase, the car experienced two breakdowns in rapid succession, prompting a substantial amount of repairs. However, since that time, its reliability has notably improved – mainly because I’ve essentially replaced nearly every component that had the potential to malfunction.

Dan Sayers, semi-retired, living in France

Daniel Sayers and his family on holiday alongside their Volvo estate in Europe in the 1970s

During the 1970s, our family embarked on camping (and later, caravanning) adventures across Europe. Our estate car was packed to the brim with camping gear and a Mirror dinghy. My dad, who happened to be a Volvo dealer, took on the role of the driver, while my mum skillfully handled the map reading duties. Meanwhile, my two brothers and I had the freedom to roam around the spacious flattened back area – a space devoid of seatbelts, but equipped with cozy pillows and cushions.

Equipped solely with four promotional cassettes for the eight-track player: Beach Boys, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and the rather persistent presence of the “Best of Henry Mancini” on eternal loop – a source of mixed feelings. Our collective plea of “Let’s drive through the night!” echoed, to which dad, perhaps somewhat reluctantly, conceded with an “Alright.” Surprisingly, the three of us were fast asleep within a mere 10 minutes.