L42 and L43
In January 1933, Volvo introduced the forward-control 'LV75' truck at the Amsterdam Motor Show. It became quite popular as a basis for buses, but the number of F-type trucks demanded by customers was small in the 1930s.
For this reason, it would take more than 20 years before another Volvo truck of this type would be offered as a standard model (in the intervening time, conventional trucks were sometimes modified into F trucks).
"Snabbe" gets famous
However, in 1956 (actually at the same time as the Amazon car), the L42 'Snabbe' was presented and immediately met with a great deal of success. The reason was not only due to the F model, but due to the special qualities of the new truck series (and its parallel slightly heavier sister model, presented in 1957).
The L42 truck succeeded the L34 truck introduced in 1950. Compared with this model, the forward-control cab model offered a much shorter wheelbase and total length within a given (needed) platform length, offering very good manoeuvrability even in confined city areas, favourable axle loads and perfect vision from the drivers´ seat.
Easy to load, powerful to drive
Thanks to the design of the frame (which was not straight but lowered between the axles to decrease the load height of the truck platform), the L42 'Snabbe' was extremely easy to load, even without help devices like cranes or fork lifts.
Performance was extremely good thanks to the V8 (!) engine designed and produced by Volvo in Gothenburg/Skövde. Fuel efficiency was, on the other hand, very poor, but this was of lesser importance since trucks of this type were normally used only for a limited distance of transport per day.
The birth of "Trygge"
The L42 truck series was a light-duty truck. Slightly later the heavier medium-duty L43 'Trygge' truck was introduced. This had, however, a straight frame which contributed to a higher platform height, perhaps not a great disadvantage since the heavier loads carried on the L43 made loading devices like a crane or a forklift necessary anyway.
Fuel consumption in focus
With increased driving distances per day, and thereby increased transport efficiency, fuel consumption and fuel prices became more important in the early 1960s. For this reason a diesel version was offered on both the L43 (1963, named 'L4351 Trygge Diesel') and the L42 (1964, named 'L4251 Snabbe Diesel'). The '5' in the designation indicated a diesel Volvo truck, while '0' indicated a petrol truck (the complete designation for the L42 Snabbe petrol truck was thus, for instance, the 'L4201', the fourth digit '1' indicating a forward-control truck).
The L42/L43 trucks have a special place in the history of Volvo trucks, since they were the first Volvo trucks to feature a standard Volvo cab, which was made from steel (not produced in Umeå like today's Volvo truck cabs, but in Olofström).