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Volvo Venus Bilo: the invention of the concept car

The world's first concept car. Created by the son of famous industrialists LM Ericsson, M.Sc. Gustaf LM Ericsson. The car was called Volvo Venus Bilo and only this one was built. It was in 1933.

The first Volvo ÖV4 was anything but aerodynamic. Even though the “Jakob” was already equipped with the first technical inventions, the engineers wanted to go further. How to save fuel, increase comfort or mileage performance? But also: how to best reduce the amount of dust raised on unpaved roads? The questions followed. Handyman Gustaf Ericsson, among others, provided the answers. He came up with a design that took into account the science of aerodynamics and was fascinating in many ways.

G. Ericsson developed an aerodynamic vehicle that was far ahead of its time. The Volvo Venus Bilo had hinged doors and side doors to access the engine compartment. The aero automobile also had a streamlined underbody which raised very little dust and kept the car on the road. The Venus Bilo had to be not only aerodynamic, but also functional. The concept car thus had a large load capacity: the Vénus Bilo could contain nine suitcases, as well as two spare wheels. The second spare tire placed at the rear was used as a bumper.

It was based on the chassis of the Volvo PV655, and the bodywork was made by Gustaf Nordbergs Vagnfabrik AB in 1932. The name was a play on words referring to Venus de Milo, bil meaning “automobile” in Swedish. The concept was a four-door, four-seater sedan, and it led to the production car Volvo PV 36 Carioca. The Carioca was also a four-door sedan.

In February 1934, the New York Times ran a big article on “Streamlining as Embodied on a Foreign Car.” Volvo the company loved the Bilo, eager to show this concept car to everyone. Touring Sweden and Denmark , as well as the American cover, success seemed imminent.

Unfortunately, the public believed otherwise, the Volvo Venus Bilo never went beyond prototype status.

The fate of the car itself is currently unknown. It was sold to a buyer in Denmark after WWII. In the mid-1950s it belonged to the son of a scrapyard owner in Denmark who rebuilt it into a van. It was in use until 1956, after which there is no trace of it.


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