“Buyers will get two cars for the price of one”, stated Chairman Hans-Olov Olsson confidently at the Frankfurt Show as he presented the new Volvo C70. The car could prove to be a trump card for the Swedish marque, not only because it represents the point of highest maturity for the coupé cabriolet category – metal top that folds away completely, a concept introduced ten years ago by Mercedes-Benz – but it also heralds the start of a new industrial enterprise. The C70 was designed by Volvo and engineered by Pininfarina, and will be manufactured in the Uddevalla factory, 60 per cent owned by the Turin firm and 40 per cent by the Swedes.

“We choose to work with a particular company for its experience”, says Steve Mattin, former Mercedes-Benz designer, who took over the management of Volvo design a few months ago. “We had built up close relations with Pininfarina with the previous C70 and if you’ve got a good partner, you keep on working with him”.

Mattin defines the C70 as “sporty” and “emotive”; he says that the new model is a step forward “in terms of function and practicality”, that it “broadens the market”, that it is a possible guide for his future work, which essentially concerns developing the new Dna for the Volvo’s of the future.

“Finding harmonious lines with and without the roof,” says Fedde Talsma, project manager, “is no easy task. That is why I decided to design not an open car that closes, but a closed top one that opens”.

Great attention was paid to the design of the interior, manager for which was Tony Pettman: The aim was to blend exterior and interior”, says Pettman. “With the bodytub of the S40 we succeeded, with the roof down, in creating a continuous line from the right hand side of the tail to the dash and round again to the left hand side of the tail”.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 155

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