Volvo Concept Coupé
Volvo Concept Coupé
Volvo Concept Coupé. Click image to enlarge

Article and photos by Jacob Black

Car shows are funny places. Realms of wistful longing, optimistic future-gazing and general mouth-agape salivating. There weren’t many things in Frankfurt that packed those three together quite the way the Volvo Concept Coupe did.

Inspired by the iconic P1800, but with some futuristic tweaks, Volvo’s Concept Coupe was never without an audience. So what goes into a car like this? And does it have any real relevance to consumers? Lead interior designer Jonathan Disley, and lead exterior designer Maximilian Missoni argue that it does.

“You see a lot of [Volvo’s] design signatures,” Maximilian explained. “Like the daytime running lamp and the grill treatment, and the signature on the rear with the wheel house and also the surface treatment. You’ll see these things popping up in the whole next generation.”

The next generation? But I thought this concept was a nod to Volvo’s sporting ancestry?

“It was inspired by the P1800, but we didn’t want to be too retro with it,” Max says. “We wanted to strike a balance between introducing the next generation, but at the same time being inspired by the P1800.

“You will recognize the features, like the way the door handle is integrated into the shoulder and how that flies out into the wing – it is a very subtle wing compared to what it was in the 60s, we just hint at it slightly.”

Maximilian MissoniJonathan Disley
Designers Maximilian Missoni and Jonathan Disley. Click image to enlarge

Subtlety is a key feature of the concept, and that led many to question the production possibilities for the car. I asked Max if the design is feasible for production.

“It is definitely very realistic,” he said. “It is built on our existing SPA architecture. [That’s Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture.]

“It is a new platform that is completely independently developed. It is a new platform and it’s a very good platform for us as designers because it has a very nice dash to axle proportion – everything but this very critical measurement between the door opening and the wheel arch is very flexible. That measurement defines the possible length of the bonnet, which is quite large.

Volvo Concept Coupé
Volvo Concept Coupé
Volvo Concept Coupé. Click image to enlarge

“So it is realistic, we would definitely like to see something like that, but that is the next step.”

With Max’s eyes glowing, I thought I’d try to find out what he liked most about his project.

“We managed to get a very nice facial expression into the car. It takes a step away from this over-eager, aggressive and over-excited look that we see in so many cars around. It has this confidence, this calm confidence that is Scandinavian. And we looked to see what was Scandinavian. If you look into nature, in Sweden especially it is all about this big, vast, calm space. We wanted to put that into the car.

“The car shouldn’t be excited, it should be confident but calm. And I think that is something we have with this car. The whole design language has to be very well executed. At the same time it can’t be too eager – and that’s what I wanted.

“Then as a designer I had the challenge of how to integrate elements of the P1800, like to take the door handles and meld it into something better, and something that makes a lot of sense. This is making us as designers proud.”

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