Volvo Experimental Safety Car from 1972: a concept car long before its time in the field of car safety research
The VESC (Volvo Experimental Safety Car) was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show 1972 – a forerunner in the field of car safety and equipped with a range of technical solutions that subsequently became a natural part of Volvo’s leadership in this important area.
From the viewpoint of appearance too, VESC hinted at the design language of the forthcoming Volvo 240, introduced in 1974 and later became Volvo’s longest-lasting model ever, with almost 2.9 million cars produced during its 19 year production run. The Volvo 240 also became the reference car for the American road safety administration NHTSA.
Innovative in terms of environmental consideration too
The VESC also served as mobile test-benches for other technical solutions such as a modified front suspension system. What is more, the four-cylinder fuel-injected B20 engine was further developed to meet the 1974 US exhaust emission requirements. With what is today known as EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) and a catalytic reactor, the VESC concept can be regarded as a forerunner of Volvo’s subsequent catalytic converter with Lambda sensor, which was a sensational innovation at its introduction in 1976.
Before its time
The VESC project clearly demonstrated Volvo’s determination to continue setting the agenda in the field of car safety. Most of the technical solutions that were integrated into the VESC met in-house Volvo standards that were far stricter than contemporary legislation. Many of the solutions also found their way into the Volvo 240 – and even more have been gradually introduced into subsequent Volvo models.