Type Designations

The Volvo Amazon was series produced for 15 years in 14 model years in three different bodies and in several different editions. In order to be able to distinguish these and their combinations from eachother Volvo used type designations. To understand the structure of the type designations on these cars it helps to first look at the different bodies and editions plus the combinations in which these were manufactured.

It also helps with an understanding of the term model year, including how this is not the same as calendar year. Volvo were completely oblivious of the term model year up until the introduction of the Amazon and the PV 544 in the USA in 1959, after which they were more or less forced in to the concept and started using it from around 1960. One consequence of this is that Amazons with model years prior to 1961 does not really fit in to the template. So things are a bit shady concerning model years between 1957 and 1961. As we know model years after 1961 is that they include cars manufactured between the industrial vacations. For instance model year 1962 was manufactured between August 1961 and July 1962.

Sections:
Bodies
Editions
Type Designations
Type Designations 1957-1960
Type Designations 1961-1970
Police Edition
Military Edition
Delivery Wagon
Occurring Type Designations
Other Designations
Type Plates
S-codes
Matching numbers

Bodies

The Volvo Amazon was manufactured in three different bodies. From the beginning in 1957 only as four door sedan, which is called P 120 (sometimes also P 1200, but then only for the very first model years). Four door bodies were discontinued in December 1966 which includes half of model year 1967. Two or three months into the production of model year 1962, in October 1961, the two door sedan is introduced which is called P 130. It remains in production until the bitter end in 1970 and the last produced Amazon is a P 130. Later during model year 1962, in February 1962, the Volvo Amazon Station Wagon is added to the program, also known as the Estate, and is called P 220. The last model year for the Estate is 1969 (although it wasn’t produced until October 1969, which is within the production span of model year 1970).

P 1200Four door sedan of early model year (1957 – 1958)
P 120Four door sedan (including P 1200), model year 1957 – 1967
P 130Two door sedan, model year 1962 – 1970
P 220Estate (five doors), model year 1962 – 1969

Editions

The Volvo Amazon is available in four different editions: the standard edition Favorit, the special edition 121, the sport edition 122 S, and the top of the line model 123 GTVolvo Amazon and Volvo Amazon Sport early change names on markets outside Scandinavia to Volvo 121 and Volvo 122 S respectively due to the trade mark infringement with German moped manufacturer Kreidler. From September 1958 Volvo uses 121 and 122 S consistently outside Scandinavia while Amazon and Amazon Sport is used during the entire life span of the model (i.e. up to the bitter end in 1970) within Scandinavia. For one model year only, 1962, Volvo use special designations for the then new Amazon Estate: 221* for its special edition and 222* for its sport edition (only North America). The table below lists what editions were available with what bodies during what model years:

Body
EditionP 1200P 120P 130P 220
Volvo Amazon1957 – 1958
Volvo Amazon Sport1958
Volvo 1211958 – 19671962 – 19701963 – 1969
Volvo 221*1962
Volvo 222*1962
Volvo 122 S1958 – 19671962 – 19701963 – 1968
Volvo 123 GT1967 – 1970
Volvo Amazon Favorit1966 – 1968

* The Volvo 221 is a P 220 body in 121 edition and was only badged 221 this model year (1962). In the same way, a Volvo 222 is a P 220 body in 122 S edition that was only badged 222 this model year (1962). Both these were only sold on a limited amount of markets.

So already a bit hazy. But we can shorten down and simplify this table quite a lot by refraining from playing with words and frankly conclude that P 1200 and P 120 is the same body and that Amazon, 121 and 221 are actually the same edition with different wordings on different markets (and also some ambivalence from Volvo regarding the Station Wagon in 1962). The same thing goes for Amazon Sport, 122 S and 222. The table then actually boils down to this:

Body
EditionP 120P 130P 220
1211957 – 19671962 – 19701962 – 1969
122 S1958 – 19671962 – 19701962 – 1969
123 GT1967 – 1970
Favorit1966 – 1968

One edition, for instance 121, can have more than one body and – the other way round – one body, for instance P 130, can have several editions. Normally, the edition is used to designate a particular Volvo model. We talk about Volvo 122 S or Volvo 123 GT rather than Volvo P 130. This is apparently difficult for some, including Volvo…

There were also a few thousand cars (all 122 S) that left Jannesson’s famous Smitty in Rally Sport or R edition intended for the competition scene – please refer to the power train section for more information on these cars from Volvo Competition Service. In addition, there are a number of other special models, including police and other authority vehicles (see the section on S-codes further down on this page). If the order volumes were big enough Volvo would equip special editions at a separate production line. With a self-supporting construction, the Volvo Amazon was not available as delivery chassis and certain kinds of special editions (for instance funeral cars) were therefore completed outside Volvo after being sold. As a side note here, the Volvo Amazon was rarely used as taxi as it was considered to be too small on most markets. In Sweden, the Amazon didn’t meet the legal minimum measurements of a vehicle to be used as taxi, but it could be found as taxi on other markets including Switzerland and Australia:

Sydney, Australia around 1965. Courtesy of George Minassian.

Volvo has never been particularly consistent with their naming and the model has officially been called ”P1200”, ”P120”, ”120”, ”Amazon”, etc. in various contexts. This is true for other models as well, such as the P 1800. Most commonly, though, Volvo tend to refer to the 120-series, but the exceptions are many. Not all combinations were sold on all markets. The Volvo 121, for instance, was not sold in the USA and Canada as the output in the A engine of the 121 was considered to be too weak. The Volvo Amazon Favorit was also sold only on a limited number of markets. Also time matters as some combinations, for instance P 130 in 122 S edition, were first sold only on some markets to later become available on several.

Type Designations

Volvo changed the type designations on the Amazon between the model years 1960 and 1961 and from around ch.-no. 54400 (possibly earlier) they used hybrid type designations like 12106VD (ch.-no. 54406) before completely having moved over to the new type designations by around ch.-no. 54490. This is clearly connected to Volvo’s newly found insights on the term Model Year. For model years 1957 to 1960, therefore, there is a different interpretation than for the following model years. It should be added that it wasn’t until the mid 1960s that Volvo managed to both structure their model years and also to consistently use this structure. Up until 1964 Volvo state two years in the registration cards for their cars, for instance ”1961/1962”, probably in an effort to indicate what production period the car was manufactured in and where the latter of these two is the model year. The chassis number tells (without exceptions) what model year the car belongs to and this is described on the page on production. It might therefore be a good idea to also look at the list with the differences between the model years. Not rarely, authorities like the National Road Administration (Vägverket in Sweden) have registered the car on the wrong model year, especially on the early model years (up to 1964). During the first years of production many details were changed at a certain chassis number rather than between two model years. The type information of the car can be found on the plate on the pedal box next to the fuse box in the engine room (see picture further down on this page).

Model year 1957 – 1960
Since the Volvo PV 444 was designated ”110” it felt natural to assign the Volvo Amazon ”120”. The first model years had type information that was based on these numbers and on the principle of adding more digits and characters as seen necessary. At chassis number 250 a V is introduced after the type designation P 1200 to indicate left hand drive (V is an abbreviation of vänster, which is Swedish for left) and an H to indicate right hand drive (H is an abbreviation of höger, Swedish for right). This strongly suggests that there were no right hand drive cars produced prior to ch.-no. 250. Generally speaking, model year 1957 and model year 1958 up to somewhere between ch.-no. 8720 and 9570 have type designation P 1200. At the Geneva Motor Show in March 1958 the Volvo Amazon Sport is introduced and for the first time it becomes relevant for Volvo to distinguish it from the standard Volvo Amazon. The type designation for Volvo Amazon Sport is initially stated as P 12105. At the same time the standard car, Volvo Amazon, is assigned the type designation P 12004. The third digit – P 12105 and P 12004 respectively – separates the Sport from the special edition *. The fifth digit – P 12105 and P 12004 respectively – indicate what equipment level the car was delivered from the factory with. The 5 indicates that the car came with windshield washers, mud flaps on all four wheels, front two point seat belts, and that it had full underseal treatment. The 4 indicates that the car lacks this equipment. In September 1958 Volvo choses to ”due to certain special circumstances, especially on our foreign markets” (the settlement with Kreidler) change the type designations which from now on starts with 121 for Volvo Amazon and 122 for Volvo Amazon Sport:

This change takes place from ch.-no. 12083 and was continued through all model years. At the same time, the fifth digit 5 is replaced by 6. The digit 8 also occur as fifth digit from 1959 which indicate an equipment level deemed appropriate to meet or exceed the demands and expectations on the American car market (intended for sale in the USA) with differences in (among other things) the interior, which included upholstery partially in leather.

The Volvo Amazon Sport sold on the Scandinavian market has type designation P 12206 and are better equipped than the Volvo 122 S being exported (P 12204), with the exception of the first cars (P 12105). P 12204 lacks electric windshield washer, mud flaps and safety belts and also only has partial underseal treatment. The first car with type designation P 12204 is ch.-no. 12083 and is delivered to Brussels, Belgium on September 20th, 1958 and the first car with type designation P 12206 is ch.-no. 12170 delivered to Piteå, Sweden four days later. Volvo’s delivery books show that the first Amazon with type designation P 12104 had ch.-no. 12379.

From the start, the Amazon had the same type designation plate as the PV 444 but this is changed the first time relatively early during production, when English text is added for all fields except chassis number and with the text for chassis number altered a bit from Chs. Nr. to Ch. Nr.. This happens during the spring of 1958, sometime between ch.-no. 8720 and 9570, and highly likely in connection with the above mentioned change of the type designations which in turn was related to the introduction of the Amazon Sport. The early type plate is also found on later export cars (see picture below). A few months later, in September 1958 and at ch.-no. 12083, the type designation plate is changed again when the fields Colour ext is combined with Colour int to Colour. At the same time, the fields are moved up and the text VOLVO Göteborg Sweden is moved down.


Type plate ch.-no. 1 – c:a 9000. Only Swedish text.

Type plate ch.-no. c:a 9000 – 12082. Swedish and English text.

Late use of early type plate on export car. Model year 1961.

Type plate ch.-no. 12083 – c:a 20000.

Type plate ch.-no. c:a 20000 – c:a 27000.

Type plate ch.-no. c:a 27000 – 225049 (P 120) **

The text is enscribed from the front of the plate up until around ch.-no. 20000, after which it is stamped from the backside of the plate. The font used on the stamped version of the type plate is changed at around ch.-no. 27000. This font is kept for the rest of the production, but the type designation plate is changed again between model years 1966 and 1967 when the chassis number is moved to the torpedo wall and S-code is added. See further down on this page.

As a result of the improvements that Volvo made during the first time of Amazon production, including the switch to a four geared fully synchronized gearbox (M4) but also several other, smaller differences (such as a smaller gap between the rear wheels and the rear wheel archs), Volvo adds the letter B to the type designation. This is not a model year letter, even if it in retrospect has come to denominate the model years 1958-1960, but instead a body letter. Volvo differed the B-body from the initial (which nowhere except in later written information is labeled as A). For cars later decided to be of model year 1959, a U is introduced to indicate that the car had full underseal treatment from factory, an option that the customer up until then had to pay extra for. U is an abbreviation of underredsbehandling, Swedish for underseal treatment.

* All Amazons were initially in special edition and only on its predecessor PV 544 do the standard, special and sport editions occur at this time. In 1958 the sport edition is added to the Amazon and in 1966 the standard edition (marketed as Favorit on most markets).
** Also ch.-no. 1-216949 on the P 130 and ch.-no. 1-44599 on the P 220.
*** On most markets. Several earlier options become standard this year. See the section on model years.

The type designations P 12124 UVB and P 12224 UVB are somewhat of a mystery still but pictures of the latter recently (2021) surfaced and has been verified against Volvo’s production cards. Specifically P12224UVB26508 was reported ready on July 9th, 1959 and was delivered to the Hague in the Netherlands four days later. According to the production cards, whole series consisting of both 121 and 122 S were built with these so far unknown type designations, all of them with delivery district the Hague stated on the production cards. If they were also built as right-hand-drive is therefore unclear, or if they were also built in more model years. What the ending 2 stands for remains to be discovered. Qualified guesses include car built for foreign assembly (CKD) as the digit 2 was used on Volvo PV around the same time with this particular meaning (but so far not known to have been used on the Amazon), as well as an indication of equipment level. That ch.-no. 26508 came with two-tone paint is stated on the type designation plate:

Newly discovered and previously unknown type designation on Volvo Amazon.

Model year 1961 – 1970
From chassis number 54400 for the P 120 and chassis number 1 on the P 130 and P 220, Volvo introduced new type designations for the Amazon. At the same time a model year letter is added for the first time. Please note that Volvo changed the layout of the type designation plate after the industrial vacations in 1966 (i.e. from model year 1967). The changes are illustrated by the picture further down on this page. In the table below, the type designation P131341S is used as an example to illustrate how this is decoded into a left hand drive 1969 Volvo 121 in special edition with two door body, B20 A engine and M40 manual transmission produced at the Torslanda plant.

* Not all cars sold in Canada were assembled in Canada and may therefore not have this 9 in the type designation but instead a 4, same as cars sold in USA. See for instance this specification regarding the Volvo Canadian series. A limited number of Amazons assembled in Canada were sold new in the USA, but the vast majority of the US sold Amazons were built in Gothenburg, Sweden. Cars sold in Canada after model year 1968 also have a 4 in this position instead of a 9. Read more about the nine here.
** Bench type front seat available on P 120 with gearboxes M40, BW35 and M40RV. Mostly non-domestic markets. Rarely chosen option in Sweden.

The model year letters were not aligned for all bodies until model year 1967, which also is the last model year for the P 120, but on the other hand this change was made across the whole line of Volvo models (Amazon, 140, P 1800, etc.). The reason for going from B to D and not C is related to the car bodies. The new gearboxes M30, M31, M40 and M41 were introduced with model year 1961 with changes necessary to the tunnel of the body to make room for the new gearboxes. This new body was called the D-body, which also got to indicate model year 1961. Apparently, this jump in model year letters was later applied also to the P 130 and the P 220. If there was ever a C-body is somewhat unclear, and also why Volvo skipped some letters later on, but there is probably an explanation to this.

P after the model year character indicates police edition, for instance P131341SP. Other characters after the model year character also occur, for instance P121341MAR and P221341SV. The Swedish Volvo PV Club lists in their roster a number of Swedish governmental special editions for the Volvo Duett. Most likely, the Volvo Amazon was not produced in all of these editions: AR – Army edition, ART – Army edition with air tracker hatch (sunroof), F – Telephone company edition, L – Power supply authority edition, LT – Rail Road Authority edition, P – Police edition, R and R1 – Telephone Company edition. For the Amazon also V – Delivery wagon (read more below) occurs. On top of the Police (60) and Army (58) several other Swedish government authorities had their own designated paint codes at Volvo: 55 – National Road Administration yellow, 62 – Postal Service yellow (Duett, with black front fenders), 66 – Power Supply Authority blue, 74 – Telephone Company orange and 77 – Rail Road Authority red (Duett, with black front fenders).

Police Edition

During 1958 the Swedish police buy 11 Volvo Amazon Sport for traffic surveillance, as they find the relatively new Swedish four door car well suited for the task as a police car. The cars are painted black and white with the word ”POLIS” on the roof, front doors and trunk lid. This is completely new in Sweden and something they had learned from the USA. For later orders with Volvo, the tops are requested to be black instead of white as the police districts in northern Sweden complained that the cars had poor visibility in the snow covered landscape. Volvo Amazon meets the expectations well and during the coming years Volvo will deliver around 750 cars (both marked and unmarked) to the Swedish police. Volvo Amazon in Swedish Police edition have a P after the type designation. Volvo also delivers Amazon in police edition to police authorities in other countries, including Norway, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Greece, Nigeria, Peru and Chile.

Early (B16) prototype of Volvo Amazon in Police edition.
Volvo Amazon in Police edition.
Special steering wheel with buttons. *
Interior of early Police Amazon.
Trunk of early Police Amazon.

Early black/white Police Amazon, white top.

Black Police Amazon.

Late black/white Police Amazon, black top.

* The police edition kept this steering wheel also after the new steering wheel was introduced on the Amazon with model year 1968, as this did not have the buttons. In other words, the pictured steering wheel exist also on model years 1968-1970.

Although the appearance of the police edition catches everyone’s eye, the mechanical differences compared with the standard Amazon were small. The first cars have type designation P12206VPB (note the placement of the Police P before the body letter B) and are delivered with the standard B16 B sport engine with its 85 hp SAE and with the M4 gear box and with nothing more special than stronger road springs, upgraded dampers, Pirelli radial tires and in some cases also limited slip differential. But the electrical differences compared with the standard Amazon were much bigger, with more powerful headlights (Marchal Amplilux, same as contemporary trains used in Sweden), front fender turn signals from Mercedes-Benz, red lights, back up light, sirens, radio, search lights, etc. The police cars were among the first to be fitted with alternator (Leece Neville/Prestolite) and bigger battery compared with the standard Amazon. The instruments also included Ampere meter and in some cases a tachometer. Volvo Amazon in police edition early got equipment that later became standard on the regular customer versions of the car and in that sense they drove the product development of the Volvo Amazon. Examples include disc brakes, radial tires, three-point seatbelts, more powerful horns, laminated windshield and alternator. External rear view mirrors were also standard on the police cars long before they were standard on the regular Amazon.

Police Amazons ready for delivery in 1967.

The police cars were in the beginning adopted versions of the standard Amazon Sport / 122 S and were equiped at a special station after the standard car was finished at the regular production lines. At this station they were painted and fitted with the extra equipment that the orderer wanted. The color was most often black (19) but the Police edition eventually got its own paint code (60). The differences in the interior were significant. The seats were better cuishined and there was plenty of storage compartments on door sides (before the standard car got it), under the back seat and in the trunk.

Military Edition

The Swedish armed forces were also a frequent buyer of Volvo Amazon in special edition. They preferred black (19) four door Amazons as command and staff vehicles. Just as with the police edition, these tend to have red interior. But they also ordered Amazons in the paint military green (58). Many regiments in Sweden had a preference towards Volvo Duett and this was a more common sight than the Amazon. Special equipment on these military Amazons includes blackouts for the lights and extra lights, extra reverse lights, special extra (small, round) reverse lights, etc. and also an extra switch panel by the instrument panel to control these functions. Also, holders for reflectors (white in front and red in rear) as well as a special regiment sign holder. These cars could be equipped with sun roof, a so called plane detector hatch, although this was probably more on Duett than on Amazon.

Volvo Amazon on Swedish military duty.

Chassis number 232825 is a late four door Amazon of model year 1967 with S-code 1403 delivered to the Swedish Army. The Volvo Amazons delivered in Army special edition had an ending AR – Army edition or possibly also ART – Army edition with air tracker hatch (sunroof) after the type designation.

Delivery Wagon *

On some markets, including Norway and Finland, it was possible to register the Amazon Estate as a small truck provided that the vehicle met certain local legal requirements. One example of such requirement could be that the car was not allowed to have a rear seat. If the requirements were met the vehicle ended up in a different tax segment and was no longer considered a passenger car. These Estates were initially rebuilt externally, outside Volvo, but later – around 1968, 1969, Volvo delivered Estates from factory with certain modifications, for instance having the rear seat delivered with the car but not fitted. These cars have a ”V” (which probably designates Varuvagn, Swedish for delivery wagon) after the type designation, for instance 221341SV. Highly likely but not yet certain, these Estates were delivered to Yngve Nilsson Karosseri AB in Laholm in southern Sweden to be finished as delivery vans according to the different market specifications.

Suddenly there was a need for resellers of the Amazon Delivery wagon to differentiate these from the regular Amazon Estate and at least in Norway this was solved by changing the type designation. In the price sheet below from Isberg’s Volvo in Norway the Amazon Delivery wagon is listed as 221241, but these cars have 221341 on the type designation plate, on the firewall and in the delivery books. In many cases it was possible to convert a Amazon Delivery wagon back to an Estate provided that it was re-registered as a passenger car. This is likely why Volvo delivered the rear seat with the car.

Isberg’s Volvo, price sheet 1969.
221341SV, Amazon Delivery wagon.

* R. Jansen, ”1969 Volvo Amazon varevogn – Amazon-utgaven som gikk i glemmeboka”. AmazonPosten #1, 2022.

Occurring Type Designations

Below table lists a number of examples of type designations per edition, body and model year. It also contains type designation mentioned in contemporary Volvo literature, including page 3 of this document. The table is probably not complete. Some models also came in Police edition with an added P after the model year letter of the type designation. At least two of these are unique: 133341MP and 223341MP (i.e. they are only available in Police edition and were not sold to private customers) and are included in the table (the others are not, but occur as 121 and 122 S in all three bodies).

An x is used in the table to indicate that the type designation in question is valid for both LHD and RHD. For model years 1957 – 1966 x is V for LHD and H for RHD. V represents Vänster, the Swedish word for left and H represents Höger, the Swedish word for right. For model years 1967 – 1970 x is 1 for LHD and 2 for RHD.

From the section on production and foreign assembly we know that Belgium was the only country outside of Sweden that assembled Volvo Amazon in its standard/special editions (121 and Favorit), from which follows that all type designations starting with 1219, 1319 and 2219 are left hand steered. From the same section we know that the only foreign plant that assembled right hand steered cars was South Africa, and that P 130 replaced P 120 there – meaning that there are no 13294H prior to 1967. This and a few more things lies behind the fact that some type designations in the table above are complete while some are not.

Worth mentioning here is that when the 122 S is equiped with the B18 B engine with model year 1968 (some already with model year 1967), both the 123 GT and the 122 S get 133 as the first three digits in the type information. By the same logic, the P 220 in sports edition get 223 as the first three digits. This is the case also with the B20 B engine in 1969 and 1970. A 3 as the third digit in the type designation does not indicate GT engine, as both B18 B and B20 B were used in the 122 S. Overdrive is still not available as option on the 122 S, making the 5th digit the distinguishable factor between a 122 S and a 123 GT in the type designation (there are of course more differences, primarily in terms of equipment level). So as an example 133351P is a 1968 123 GT while 133341P is a 1968 122 S – both have the B18 B engine but only the 123 GT has the overdrive.

A few of the 122 S of model year 1967 that were fitted with the B18 B engine were a number of four door (P 120) and Estates (P 220) shipped for assembly in South Africa (although not all, some still had the B18 D engine). This was because the P 1800 – for which the B18 B engine was reserved – was not sold in South Africa. These 1967 122 S with B18 B engine have type designation 123942M and 223942M respectively and in analogy with the information in the table above. The 123942M are the only Volvo Amazons with a type designation starting with 123, but they are 122 S and not 123 GT.

1967 Estate Sport to the USA with B18 B.
1967 122 S in police edition with B18 B.

Others of the 1967 122 S with B18 B engine were export cars (both P 130 and P 220) to the USA. Also in this case, not all 122 S got the B18 B but some were delivered with the B18 D engine. Those with B18 B have type designation 133441M and 223441M respectively and examples include ch.-no. 265294, 266872, 271207, 271552 och 277623 (all P 130) plus ch.-no. 47627, 59034 and 60656 (all P 220). Generally, the 1967 models to the US with the B18 B engine have high chassis numbers but there are overlaps.

1967 122 S with B18 B engine are found also in Sweden but only in police edition. They were not sold to private customers. Orderer was the Swedish National Police Board and these 122 S (both P 130 and P 220) were delivered in police edition and were painted in Police black-and-white (paint code 60) or civilian (typically black, paint code 19). They have type designation 133341MP and 223341MP respectively and examples include 230805, 231488, 251837, 251854 and 262243 (all P 130) plus ch.-no. 59940 (P 220).

Other Designations

Volvo sometimes refer to a model using one of the following designations, that doesn’t really say much except that it’s a car from the 120-series and (most of the time) a specific model year. Mostly, Volvo doesn’t bother to state the correct model but has a tendency to stick to P 120 x for all bodies. The model year letters A and B are only used on the P 130 and on the P 220, not on the P 120. For P 120 the letter A is not used at all and the letter B refers to the body (see above). It is not until 1967 that the three bodies get the same model year letter but this is also the last model year for the P 120.

Model YearP 120P 130P 220
1961P 120 D
1962P 120 EP 130 AP 220 A
1963P 120 FP 130 BP 220 B
1964P 120 GP 130 DP 220 D
1965P 120 KP 130 EP 220 E
1966P 120 LP 130 FP 220 F
1967P 120 MP 130 MP 220 M
1968P 130 PP 220 P
1969P 130 SP 220 S
1970P 130 T

Type Plates

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a character/number combination issued and guaranteed by the manufacturer of a vehicle to uniquely identify such manufactured vehicle. On modern cars this is not rarely the same as the chassis number, but for older cars it is often a bit more complicated. This is the case also for the Volvo Amazon, because of the fact that Volvo used different series of chassis numbers for the different bodies of the Amazon. There is at most three different cars having the same chassis number all being Volvo Amazons. So more information is needed. Commonly used in insurance matters as the VIN on Volvo Amazon is the combination of the type designation (for instance 131341S) and the chassis number (for instance 324684) to form a character/number combination that uniquely identifies each and every Amazon produced. In the example it forms 131341S324684. It works. It uniquely identifies each and every Amazon because the type designation contains information on what body it is.

For cars produced 1956 through 1966 both the type designation and the chassis number appear on the type designation plate on top of the pedal box in the engine compartment. This is illustrated by the pictures of the early type plates above. Due to problems with identity thefts (the type designation plate is not particularly difficult to neither reproduce nor move from another car), Volvo starts to punch in the type designation and the chassis number in the body around 1960. It’s still unclear exactly when this started but up until the start of model year 1962 this punching is done on the right hand side near the radiator in the engine compartment. For model years 1962 through 1966 the punching of the type designation and the chassis number is done to the right of the heater unit in the engine compartment, now with the text tilted. After the industrial vacations in week 33 1966, i.e. with the production start of model year 1967, Volvo changes the type designation plate on the Volvo Amazon for the second and last time (the first was made at ch.-no. 12083 – see above). At the same time, the chassis number is removed from the type designation plate and is instead punched in to the torpedo wall above the heater unit together with the type designation. A new field for special model, called S-code, is also added on the type designation plate.

Type designation plate, Volvo Amazon model year 1967-1970.
Type designation and chassis number (VIN), Volvo Amazon model year 1967-1970.

VIN c:a 1960-1961.

VIN c:a 1962-1966.

As mentioned previously in this section the layout of the type designation plates were changed during the course of production. The actual text has also varied, from the scribing on the early type plates to being stamped from behind on the later ones. Also the font has varied, which is illustrated on different pictures of type plates in this section. There are also differences in the font used in the punching of the type designation and the chassis number in the body, in particular on cars of model year 1967 – 1970 (with the punching done above the heater unit)t, where the same digit can have different shapes in different positions of the punching. This is probably due to that single digits were replaced as they were worn on. Note the threes in the chassis number of this 133441S:

Note also that the model year letter is missing in the type designation. This starts to occur already on 1968 model year cars on some, but not all cars in export edition to the USA and Canada. Here the sign ”-” has been stamped in to the torpedo wall instead of the model year letter but also ”*” occurs. Why Volvo did like this is unclear but the same pattern can be seen on the type designation plates. Below are three examples of type designation plates for the same edition but for three different model years that all are missing the model year letter:


1968 133441 without model year letter.

1969 133441 without model year letter.

1970 133441 without model year letter.

On the model years 1961 through 1970 there are other relevant information to be found in the car than the type designation. Their locations are illustrated in the picture below.

1.2 – Chassis number
The chassis number is a consecutive number assigned to each chassis leaving the production line. For instance 324684. Each body type (P 120, P 130, P 220) has its own series of chassis numbers. Click on the link in the header for more information.

1.3 / 2.2 – Paint code
States the color code used for the paint. For instance 97. Click on the link in the header for more information.

1.4 / 2.3 – Upholstery
States color and material of the upholstery in the interior of the car. For instance 430-595. Click on the link in the header for information.

2.4 – S-code (Special edition)
The S-code is used to identify what equipment level a unit had upon delivery. Such equipment could be standard on one market, but extra option on others. Examples would include headrests, limited slip differential, special upholstery, etc. and combinations of these. Also police and taxi editions, etc. for different markets as well as special models for launches, shows or certain sales activities. In some cases this equipment was installed by the marketing companies in the sales countries and hence not necessarily factory installed. Volvo’s division for Technical Documentation is responsible for these S-codes, but the technical or commercial meaning of the codes are often only known by the orderer of the special model. Volvo state that they only have S-codes from and including the 240-series in their computer systems, and hence owners of the P 120, P 130 and P 220 are referred to each other in trying to decode them. The chart below is therefore not complete. A sincere thank you to Per Mårtensson for the help with decoding in particular the S-codes for Volvo Amazon in police edition. Many, but not all, S-codes for Volvo Amazon in police edition are described in more detail in this document. From this it is clear that an S-code not always corresponds to a specific detail but can in fact be an edition of a car with (very) many specific details. Some of these details can also be found under several S-codes.

S-codeEquipmentModel yearType designation
1136Different forward carburettor armament on engine type B16 B (?)1958 – 196112105, 12204, 12206, 12208 (B16 B)
1180?196212134HE106442
1203?196212234VE
1217Special delivery to the Royal Danish Court, incl. upholstery and paint (31)1963, 196512134VF131881, 12134VK182906
1242P 120 equiped for the Swedish police
1243P 120 equiped for the Swedish police
1259On cars assembled in Arica, Chile196312298VF
1262P 120 equiped for the Swedish police
1263P 120 equiped for the Swedish police
1264P 120 equiped for the Swedish police
1273P 120 equiped for the Swedish police
1274P 120 equiped for the Swedish police
1280P 120 equiped for the Swedish police
1299P 120 equiped for the Swedish police
1300P 120 equiped for the Swedish police
1305P 120 equiped for the Swedish police196612234VLP
1318P 120 equiped for the Swedish police
1326P 120 equiped for the Swedish police196612234VLP221269
1328P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1329P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1401P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1403Equiped for the Swedish Army (P 120)1967121341MAR232825
1412P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1413P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1416P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1417P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1418P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1424P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1426P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1429P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1432P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1434P 130 equiped for the Swedish police1967133341MP279051
1436P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1441P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1442P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1446P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1448P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1450P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1451P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1453P 220 equiped for the Swedish National Road Administration1968221361P66673
1455P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1456P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1457P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1458P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1466Adjustments for engine type B18 B run on low octane gasoline (ROT 95 – 100), incl. 1.6 mm cylinder head gasket (?)1967 – 1968x33xxx (B18 B)
1473P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1474P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1475P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1476P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1477P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1478P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1481Adjustments for engine type B18 B run on low octane gasoline (ROT 90 – 95), incl. 2.4 mm cylinder head gasket (?)1967 – 1968x33xxx (B18 B)
1488P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1489P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1490P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1492P 130 equiped for the Swedish police1969131341SP
1495P 220 equiped for the Swedish police1969221341SP
1497P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1499P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1501P 220 equiped for the Swedish police223341SP
1502P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1503?1969221341SV
1513P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1518P 220 equiped for the Swedish police1969221341SP
1519P 220 equiped for the Swedish police1969221341SP
1526P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1536P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1537P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1538P 220 equiped for the Swedish police
1545P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1546P 130 equiped for the Swedish police
1566Equiped for the Swedish police1970133341TP
3259On cars assembled in Arica, Chile196312298VF
5037On cars assembled Mexico196112294VD
5091On cars assembled in Ghent, Belgium1967121941M, 122941M
5092Withdrawal bearing 672122 43mm for P 120 122 S together with Borg & Beck’s clutch 4194261962 – 1967122x4x, 132x4x (B18 D)
5110On cars assembled in Durban, South Africa1968 – 1970133942P, 133942S, 133942T
5118On cars assembled in Ghent, Belgium1967 – 1969131911M, 133951M, 131941P, 133941P, 131941S, 133941S
5125Swedish police and national phone company Televerket1967, 1969133341MP, 131341S, 131341SP
5127Equiped for the Swedish police1969221341SP, 223341SP
5144On cars assembled in Halifax, Canada1967122941M
5145Limited slip differential on rear axis for the Canadian market (?)1967133951M
5148On cars assembled in Arica, Chile1965 – 196612298VK, 12298VL
5153Withdrawal bearing 672122 43mm for P 220 122 S together with Borg & Beck’s clutch 4194261962 – 1967222x4x (B18 D)
5159On cars assembled in Halifax, Canada1967222941M
5213?1967 – 1968131341M, 131342P, 133342P
5250Rear axis Hayes 4.1:11965 – 196913244VE, 132461M, 132342M, 133951M, 133342P, 133441P, 133461P, 131941P, 133941P, 133942P, 131941S, 133342S, 133441S, 133941S
5252?1967 – 1968131211M, 131211P
5274?1967121941M
5276Air filter 671738 (B18 D) for the French market196612294VL, 13294VF, 13295VF
5297On cars assembled in Ghent, Belgium1967133951M
5311?1967131911M
5314GT edition for the European market1967 – 197013335xM, 13335xP, 13335xS, 133352T
5324GT edition for the Canadian market (?)1967133951M
5343?1967 – 1968131211M, 131341M, 133351M, 131341P, 133441P, 133461P, 133351P, 133352P, 223341M, 221341P, 223341P
5370Radiator in steel for the Nordic market1968 – 1970131211P, 131341P, 13335xP, 221341P, 223341P, 131341S, 131341SP, 221341S, 221341SP, 221341SV, 131341T
5371Headrests, black upholstery (417, 511)1968133441P, 133461P, 223441P, 223461P
5372Headrests, red upholstery (424, 518)1968133441P, 133461P, 223441P, 223461P
5373Headrests, leather brown upholstery (425, 519)1968133441P, 133461P, 223441P, 223461P
5374Headrests, blue upholstery (427, 521)1968133441P, 133461P, 223441P, 223461P
5396Engine type B20 B part number 496924 with special fan clutch for Switzerland1969 – 1970133351S, 133341T
5415?1969133351S
5445? Could be 55451967131341M
5558Headrests, beige upholstery (430)1969133441S
5559Headrests, blue upholstery (431)1969133441S
5560Headrests, red upholstery (432)1969133342S, 133352S
5573?1969131342S
5575Amendment to S-5314 for lefthand steered cars1969133351S
5576Amendment to S-5314 for righthand steered cars1969 – 1970133352S, 133352T
5577Door mirror for the Nordic market1969131341S, 133341S, 221341S, 221341SV
5652Four-way emergency flasher unit for the Japanese and Canadian markets1969133342S, 133441S, 133441T
5653Adjustment for Japanese market?1969 – 1970133342S, 133352S, 133342T

In the absence of official documentation the chart above only contains known and verified examples, except where the equipment is stated in italic font – which indicates that a verified example is missing and that the most probable equipment is stated. Any given S-code can therefore exist on more model years and in combination with more type designations than those listed here. Some S-codes were also used on other cars; for instance are 5370 and 5577 also found on the 140-series and on the P 1800. Please help by sending in the S-codes on your car together with model year, chassisnumber, color code, upholstery code and type designation.

3 – Type- and chassis number (VIN)
The type designation and chasis number are stamped into the body of the firewall inside the engine bay on cars manufactured after week 33 1966, i.e. model year 1967 and on (for instance 131341S324684). The combination uniquely identifies the vehicle and is often used for insurance purposes; this is the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). On cars manufactured prior to week 33 1966 the chassis number is found on the type designation plate.

4 – Body number
The body number is found stamped on a plate on the inside of the left front fender, just in front of the relay for the head lights. For example 324602. The body number is a serial number assigned to each complete body at the body parts factory in Olofström, Blekinge before transport to Lundby or Torslanda, and is generally not the same as the chassis number (which only is assigned to complete cars). Some bodies were removed from the production line due to quality reasons, others were used for tests, research or development, etc. Above all, the order in which the car bodies were put on the production line in Gothenburg was not always the same order in which they left Olofström. Finished bodies were stored in intermediary buffers (below picture is from the Torslanda plant) and body numbers above as well as below the chassis number of the finished car exist. In general, the deviance is within ±100 numbers but bigger deviances occur, especially for cars assembled abroad.

Buffer of finished Amazon bodies at the Torslanda plant.

The bodies for Volvo cars are still today manufactured in Olofström in Blekinge and transported by rail to Gothenburg. Olofström delivered car body parts to Volvo already in 1927 and Volvo bought the company in 1969 from Alfa Laval. It is since then called Volvo Olofström. During the 1950s and 1960s complete bodies were delivered to Volvo:

Transport of complete bodies from Olofström to Gothenburg.

One of the first steps that the car body underwent upon arrival to the factory in Gothenburg was painting. The plate with the body number is therefore without exceptions painted in the production color of the car, since this plate was affixed to the body already in Olofström. On Amazons produced up to around 1962 this plate has a symbol with the letters O and B before the body number, with the meaning Olofströms Bruk. After that the plate has Volvo’s iron mark instead.


Body number plate before ~1962.

Body number plate after ~1962.

The body number has only an internal meaning at Volvo during production. It was not used for anything else. It was not until a car was finished that it was assigned a chassis number. Together with the type designation of the car the chassis number forms its VIN number, which uniquely identifies each produced Amazon.

5 – Engine
The engine designation (B18 or B20), part number (for instance 496900) and serial number (for instance 10919) are found on the left side of the engine block, in front of the distributor. The designation and the first four digits of the part number are molded in to the engine block, while the remaining two digits of the part number and the serial number are stamped directly in the engine block. Earlier engines have five molded digits and the remaining ones stamped. The part number is essentially all that is needed to identify the engine. Click on the link in the header for more information.

6 – Gearbox
Type designation (for instance M40), part number (for instance 254584) and serial number (for instance 319047) can be found on the plate on the gearbox. Click on the link in the header for more information.

Rear axle
The reduction ratio of the rear axis is stated on the plate found on the lower part of the inspection cover (for instance 4.1:1). The plate can also state the number of splines (for instance 41-10). Both occur but not necessarily at the same time. Click on the link in the header for more information.

Matching Numbers

Matching numbers is a term used in the collector car industry to describe cars with bigger, vital original parts still in place from factory such as the serial numbers of the engine and of the gearbox matching the chassis number upon verificationn with the manufacturer’s delivery books. Basically that the car still has the bigger, vital parts that it had when it was originally delivered from the factory. The term is becoming more and more common and is being used also in Amazon circles, especially for cars that call for a higher price than what is otherwise customary, being a measure of its authenticity. On top of already mentioned engine (for instance 10919) and gearbox (for instance 319047) serials and chassis number it can for Volvo Amazon also be interesting to consider the information on color (for instance 97) and upholstery (for instance 430-595) which both can be found on the type designation plate in the engine bay. The body number is on the other hand not particularly interesting in relation to matching numbers as it was used internally by Volvo before a body became a ready car and got a chassis number assigned.