LV8 and LV9
In the mid 1930s, the exterior design and basic engineering design of trucks were changed in some important areas. The LV8 and LV9 series of truck were two important steps towards Volvo's position as a major truck manufacturer.
Moving the engine forwards and upwards
Distribution of Gross Vehicle Weight between the axles has always been a very subtle matter. The most radical step towards improving the front/rear axle load split is of course to move the engine under the cab, creating an 'F' truck. For various reasons this principle did not gain many followers until the mid 1950s.
Instead, the engine, which had normally been placed behind the front axle, was moved forwards and upwards on top of the front axle, thereby greatly improving the axle load distribution. The result was the LV8 and LV9 trucks, two very popular truck series which were to become Swedish 'Standard trucks' during the late 1930s.
The steel cab - comfortable and heated
Compared with the previous Volvo trucks (and other trucks) the LV8/LV9 had a much more aerodynamic shape with rounded curves (in contrast to the previous truck models which had had vertical and horizontal lines, combined with 'razor-edge' styling).
Before the LV8/LV9, most of the heavier Volvo trucks had been delivered without a cab. With this series, in the mid 1930s, the norm was to have a steel cab (often still with a wooden framework and a canvas roof) with a reasonably aerodynamic shape, all of which drastically improved comfort and ergonomics. At this time, an important novelty, the heater, became much more common, providing a more pleasing driver environment.
One truck family for many different tasks
Previously, every single truck model differed greatly from other models, size being the governing factor. With the LV8/LV9, a single truck family was available for a great variety of different transport applications, from light-duty distribution to transport over longer distances or for construction operations.
This was possible due to different engines being available (including side valve or overhead valve petrol engines, Hesselman engines and even, during WW II, producer gas engines). Due to various suspensions, axles, wheels and tyre dimensions, there were huge possibilities for adapting the LV8/LV9 to a variety of various tasks.
The LV8/LV9 became very popular primarily as a truck, but in the longer production runs it was also quite efficient as a light to medium-duty bus.