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Volvo’s First Vehicle to Sell More Than 1 Million Units Celebrates its 50th Birthday

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The Volvo 124 Series was the first Volvo car to sell more than 1 million units and its celebrating its 50th birthday

Car lovers couldn’t wait to get their hands on the Volvo 140 Series

Available as a two-door coupe, four-door sedan, and five-door wagon, the 140 Series is notable for being the first Volvo model to surpass 1 million vehicles sold and it’s celebrating a birthday.

Fifty years ago, on August 17, 1966, the Swedish automaker unveiled the Volvo 140 Series at the Lorensberg function rooms in central Gothenburg, despite the fact that an enormous manhunt was going on in the city to find two cop killers. In fact, while officials were in the process of bringing the new Volvo models to the facility, an adjacent movie theater had to be evacuated after authorities received a tip that the killers were in attendance.

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In total, more than 400 journalists attended the debut of the Volvo 140 Series in Gothenburg. These vehicles were the subject of many rumors and earned lots of hype prior to their unveiling. Moreover, at the same time these vehicles were being revealed Gothenburg, three similar events were occurring in Oslo, Copenhagen, and Helsinki.

So what made the Volvo 140 Series so popular and successful?

Well, for starters, people took a liking to the vehicle’s clean and simple exterior design, while safety features such a chassis featuring crumple zones, as well as a protective roll cage gave consumers added piece of mind they were traveling in a safe and stylish vehicle. In addition, the Volvo 140 Series marked the debut of a unique naming scheme, with the first digit signifying the model series, the second number accounting for how many cylinders the engine used, and the last digit identifying the number of doors the vehicle featured.

Just eight years after the Volvo 140 Series began production, more than 1.25 million of these rear-wheel drive cars were sold, making it the first Volvo model to move more than 1 million units. In the years since, other Volvo models such as the 240, 700 Series, and 950 Series, have all achieved sales of more than 1 million vehicles.

Today, Volvo’s best-selling model is the XC90 SUV, which has moved more than 700,000 units globally since its inception. In fact, the redesigned XC90 has been such a big hit that it won the North American Truck of the Year Award, was named Yahoo Autos Ride of the Year, and also earned the honor of being the Motor Trend SUV of the Year.

Speaking of the XC90: Take a closer look at Volvo’s current best-seller

Gallery: The Volvo 140 Series