VOLVO 300-series (1976-1991)
When the Volvo 343 was presented in the winter of 1976, it was the first totally new car from the Dutch company Volvo Car BV. The Volvo 343 entered a very important segment for the European markets - the compact segment.
The Volvo 343 was a 3-door hatchback and the large tailgate at the rear ended in a small spoiler. The car was roomy and had a flexible luggage compartment.
A 5-door version, the 345, was introduced in 1979.
Autumn 1982 saw the introduction of a new model in the Volvo range - the 360. The Volvo 360 was based on the 340 range and featured a 4-cylinder 2-litre engine together with a 5-speed gearbox. The "360" model designation was introduced to give these better-equipped and more powerful cars a profile of their own.
A year after the launch of the 360 Series, the range was expanded with a 4-door saloon featuring a conventional luggage compartment. This version gave the body a longer rear overhang and thus increased total body length as well.
From the beginning, the car was only available with a 1.4-litre engine and continuously variable automatic transmission. It was rear-wheel-driven and had its gearbox at the rear next to the differential to guarantee good weight distribution. The rear-wheel suspension was a De Dion system.
During its lifetime, the 300-series underwent a number of changes in terms of appearance, engine and gearbox. The largest change in its appearance took place in the autumn of 1981 and included a new front and a new interior.
Model: 343, 345, 360
Body: 3-door hatchback, 4-door sedan, 5-door hatchback
Engine: 1.3 – 2.0 litre 4-cylinder petrol. 1.6 litre diesel.
Transmission: Automatic, continuously variable CVT, 4-speed manual, 5-speed manual.
Brakes: Hydraulic, disc brakes at the front and drums at the rear.
Dimensions: Overall length 419 cm (360 430 cm), wheelbase 239.5 cm.