Six years after building its first car, Volvo built a concept car called the Venus Bilo.1 "When it was unveiled in November 1933, Volvo claimed to have no involvement in the project, but it was later disclosed that the car had been built to test reactions to its advanced styling."2 The concept was "commissioned by Volvo to test the market for an advanced streamlined car."3 It was also used to showcase its ability to carry a large amount of luggage. "Nine specially designed suitcases could be fitted into spaces in the back and a compartment in the right front fender (the left fender contained spare tyre and tools.)"4
Although the car caught the attention of the public, people had mixed opinions regarding the out-of-the-ordinary design. The concept eventually led to the production of the PV36 which was "nicknamed the Carioca, perhaps because the Carioca was a South-American dance that was in fashion at the time."4 Despite the company's best intentions, the new car didn't do well. Perhaps, they should have stuck with the concept's interesting design?
The whereabouts of the 75 year old car are not presently known. But one historian traced its location as far as the 1950's.
So, what became of the fascinating Venus Bilo? After World War II it was sold to someone in Denmark, and in the mid 50s it was owned by a danish scrapyard owner. He rebuilt the body into a pickup truck. It was used as late as 1956, but from that on I don't know its fate."5
Notes & References:
- Apparently, this is a play on words in Swedish, but I have no idea what it means. —AR
- The Conceptual Art of the Motor Car by Richard Dredge
- Volvo Venus Bilo Concept by Ultimate Car Page
- Volvo Venus Bilo by Wikipedia
- Venus Bilo by Arne Granfoss
- Volvo History by Volvo Owner's Club
- Volvo Concept Cars – Part of a Conscious Strategy by Swedespeed