The heavy-duty N trucks introduced in 1965 within the 'System 8' family of trucks were not very exciting to the casual spectator. They looked, in fact, almost identical to the predecessors ('Viking' and 'Titan', respectively) but were completely redesigned under the skin/the bonnet.
When Volvo had introduced their trucks in the USA in the late 1950s, the experiences from this very demanding market had great impact on future Volvo trucks. It is, in fact, very much due to the lessons learned during the 1950s and the 1960s, that Volvo trucks of today are among the best trucks in the world.
Targets behind the engine design
With the exception of the bonnet and the cab, the N86 and the N88 were completely new trucks. A most ambitious renewal had taken place under the bonnet, where new engines of 7 and 10 litre capacity had taken the place of older engines of the same nominal capacity but were now designed with greater safety margins and increased output in mind.
The two new engine sizes had been designed for very high outputs and efficient turbocharging. Five targets had had top priority; total reliability, long service life, low fuel consumption, low weight and potential for future development. In addition to these five targets, the engines would also show in the future that they had great potential to prove unique environmental characteristics like low noise level and clean exhaust emissions.