Volvo Truck, L34 - 1950


Volvo was a fairly conservative company for a long time. That was not without reason. Since laboratory resources were limited in the old days, it was safer to continue using tried and reliable solutions, rather than trying to incorporate novelties which had perhaps not always been thoroughly tested.

This was completely in accordance with the honest principles set by the two founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson, who did not want 'the customers to have to act as test drivers'.

A well-tried truck...
A typical example of the conservative design of Volvo trucks in the old days was the L34. This medium-duty truck was a direct successor to the 'Sharpnose' trucks and was very similar (in fact nearly identical) in technical respects to the previous 'Sharpnose' L20 truck. As a result, the L34 was a well-tried truck, a fact which was most certainly popular with the customers (often firms like breweries and local delivery companies).

...but quite modern-looking 
The exterior design was very modern, being very similar (but on a larger scale) to the famous PV444 car (and also to the PV83 taxicab). This Volvo design (which was probably influenced to a great extent by American cars of the era) became popular with the customers, and was of course quite modern-looking, with its headlights embedded in the fenders.

The L34 was primarily intended for local delivery work, a task which was very much facilitated by the low frame/chassis height, helping the driver to load and unload (the driver of the era had to make do with his own body strength for loading and unloading, since help devices like cranes and forklift trucks were more or less items of the future).

Favoured by the breweries
Perhaps the most famous L34 trucks were those used for the introduction of Coca-Cola soft drink products into Sweden in 1953. In contrast to other companies of the era, Coca-Cola actively used the trucks for spreading their product message, both by an ad message on top of the special superstructure (influenced by American brewery trucks) as well as on big posters on the rear of the trucks.

The L34 trucks were superseded by the L42 Snabbe in 1956, and it was in fact the last N type distribution truck from Volvo, i.e. with a bonnet. Later distribution trucks would all be of the F type.