Volvo truck, F10 and F12 - 1970

F10 and F12

In the first half of Volvo's truck history, Volvo was often a fairly conservative company when it came to products. This was very much due to the lack of resources for design and testing of that era, coupled with ultra-reliability which was often present in existing designs from the old days (provided they were not stressed to the limit, of course).

In the forefront of European design
When Volvo grew and obtained larger resources, Volvo started to be in the forefront of European design. An example was the F86 and F88 trucks, which when introduced were unique in Europe but were influenced by American design trends.

Certainly, the most dramatic products ever introduced by Volvo were the F10 and F12 trucks of 1977. These revolutionary trucks created a completely new standard for ergonomics and safety. All trucks (of all makes) introduced during the last two decades have to a large extent been influenced by these trucks.

A special team for safety and ergonomics
Prompted perhaps by the influence of drivers and their Scandinavian organisations in the 1960 s and 1970s, Volvo created a special group for increased safety and ergonomics, one of the activities of which were to investigate all truck accidents in Sweden in order to find ways of designing safer trucks and more ergonomic trucks in the future. The most dramatic results were the F10/F12 trucks, but the same thinking has of course improved Volvo trucks ever since.

The basic chassis components and also the driveline components of the new trucks were to a large extent based on the ones introduced in 1973 for the new N trucks, which guaranteed that these components were thoroughly tried and tested. This was not the most revolutionary part of the new heavy-duty F trucks from Volvo.

Focus on preventing accidents...
The cab was mounted to the chassis with spiral suspension, creating a much softer environment for the driver, thereby eliminating much of the back pains and other health risks which had up to then been harmful for driver health in the long run. The ergonomics were also improved by the possibility of adjusting the steering wheel according to the driver's personal taste. In contrast to many other previous trucks, the new F trucks had very large windows which meant improved vision, adding to the 'active safety' (i.e. reducing the risks of an accident occurring).

Since these trucks were used to a large extent for long-distance transport a special luggage compartment was included, which was accessible from an exterior door (locked from the inside to reduce the risk of burglary).

...and reducing injuries
Integrated air conditioning was a novelty in Europe (previous air-conditioning was often an accessory blowing cold air only through a single outlet, creating a strong flow of air towards restricted parts of the driver's body, often harmful for the health instead of protecting it). Passive safety was improved through padding in the cab and the lack of sharp parts in the cab, reducing the risk of injury if an accident should occur. The cab was, of course, tested according to the Swedish cab test regulations, the most demanding in the world.

A light safety cab
Despite the sophisticated cab, careful design contributed to a fairly modest cab weight, but it would have been difficult, at a time before computer-aided-design was generally available, to make a safety cab like this as light as a 'normal' (not safety-oriented) cab.

The original version of the F10/F12 featured a flat roof, which is easily identified. A Globetrotter version would not be offered until 1979.