Volvo truck, CH230 - 1980


Most trucks built by Volvo have been designed for a wide variety of different transport tasks and for global use. Sometimes national legislation has forced the introduction of very special trucks designed for one single country and built in fairly limited numbers.

Swiss legislations
Perhaps the most unique special legislation has traditionally been enforced by Switzerland, for a number of reasons. Switzerland's special landscape and road conditions (including severe winters) have necessitated restricting the width of the vehicles to 230 cm, while most European countries have always permitted a maximum width of 250 cm (today 260 cm for refrigerated transport).

The hilly landscape and other factors (including the need to restrict the efficiency of trucks in favour of the railway) have also contributed to the fact that Switzerland has restricted the GVW and train weights to levels below those normally valid for other countries.

The special "CH230"
Volvo faced larger problems in this area than most other manufacturers in the late 1970s, since the designers in Gothenburg decided to make the F10/F12 truck with 'full width' (250 cm) for maximum space in the cab for the driver and his passenger, and also offer the longest possible bunk in the sleeper cab (which is of course dependent upon the width of the cab).

For this reason, Volvo decided to make a special version 'CH230' for the Swiss market, combining the F89 truck (which was made two years longer than the F89 truck in itself) with the narrow F86 front axle and a narrow N10 rear axle, thus offering a very powerful truck for an intermediate period, until a new specially adapted truck was available.

A compact powerful truck
The second (and final) version of the CH230 truck was presented early in 1980 at the Geneva truck show. This was in fact a chassis derived from the F10/F12, but with narrower axles and an F7 cab.  Thanks to its optimal adaptation to Switzerland (sometimes with a cab painted in the Swiss colours of red and white) the CH230 soon gained a fair market share of the fairly small but respected Swiss truck market.

Due to the limited permitted total length and GTW figures, Swiss trucks often have had more than two, often three or even four, axles. For this reason the CH230 was most often delivered as a four-axle 8x4 chassis for construction work, something which contributed to the elegant shape of these powerful narrow compact trucks.

The CH230 was a success. In 1986 it was superseded by the 'FS10' truck.