Volvo Truck, Sharpnose - 1930

The "Sharpnose"

Not until the 1950s would Volvo be a major supplier of heavy-duty trucks. From the very start up to WW II, Volvo was, however, a major producer of medium-duty trucks, which sometimes were used for heavy-duty purposes due to the rugged design.

The influence of international trends
Sweden is nowadays the base for two major truck producers of global scope. This was by no means the case in the late 1930s. By then, countries like the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany were major 'truck-producer countries'.

For this reason, the design of the Volvo trucks of the mid and late 1930s was very much influenced by major design trends of other countries, and also by Volvo cars, which were to a very great extent designed by engineers who had been trained and had been working in American automobile companies.

A major sales success
Typical of the late 1930s is the generation of Volvo trucks which have become known as the 'Sharpnose', which consisted mainly of light to medium-duty vehicles. They replaced the LV76-78 vehicles of 1934/35 and became a major sales success, especially considering that the total number of vehicles produced during WW II was fairly limited, and that very few civilian customers were permitted to obtain a new truck and new tyres for it.

The first presentation of these trucks took place in 1938, when the LV101 was introduced. This was a light truck, which bridged the gap between the light pickup vehicles (derived from the Volvo Taxicab chassis) and the heavier trucks like the LV79 and the LV8 series. A little later the slightly larger LV102 and LV103 trucks were introduced - these were vehicles which were to a true extent real 'trucks', but still being used mostly for distribution purposes.

Simple, but very well-designed
The mechanics of these trucks was rugged and simple, with a side valve engine of 75-86 bhp (running on petrol, but also available during WW II in a producer-gas version with an output of about 50 bhp). The transmission was a three-to-four-speed mechanical unsynchronised gearbox and the chassis components were in general simple but well-designed. The 'Sharpnose' trucks were loved by the customers, and the general design should (with design changes) be carried over to new generations of Volvo trucks.