In 1950 – only 20 years old – Jan Wilsgaard was employed by Volvo’s new design department – even before he finished his design studies in Gothenburg. Before, Volvo engineers were responsible for the car design, and CEO Assar Gabrielsson was doubtful about the need for trained designers. The technical director, Gustaf Larson, had trouble remembering the name of the young new designer and simply called him “the guy with the long hair”. However, Jan Wilsgaard quickly showed his skills. In 1953, he presented a design proposal that would become a classic three years later: the Volvo Amazon. It still holds as an iconic design around the world. The young, long-haired Wilsgaard was soon appointed as the director of Volvo Design and was able to sign his signature on many Volvo models over the next 40 years: Volvo 140, 1800 ES, 240, 760 and 850. As long as these vehicles were driven somewhere on a street World, the designer legacy of Jan Wilsgaard will continue to live.
The Volvo Museum in Gothenburg opened a special exhibition, commemorating the former Volvo chief designer Jan Wilsgaard, who died in August 2016.