Fate can be a cruel mistress, and in the automotive industry it can be very cruel indeed. Ole Sommer knows all about that, as in the wake of the failed Volvo P1900, he decided in 1960 to create his own Volvo coupé using a shortened and lowered Duett (PV544) chassis along with a handful of Amazon panels.
Sommer was a Danish businessman, and it was inevitable that he’d work with machinery in some way as his father ran a Ford dealership. In the 1940s his father had tried to set up his own car making business (without success) and later on Ole would go on to successfully sell Jaguars and Volvos in Denmark.
Between 1949 and 1951, Sommer trained with Jaguar then Jowett; from 1952 he furthered his training at Copenhagen Technical University. However, the sudden death of his father in 1952 meant that Sommer had to run the family business, which by now was focusing on Jaguar; by 1957, Volvo had been added to the fold. It wasn’t long before Ole Sommer was running Denmark’s largest Volvo dealership.
In the thick of all this, Sommer reckoned there was a market for a high-quality coupé, so he set about having one constructed to his own design. Introduced by Sommer in 1960 as the Volvo Special, but known forever after as the Sommer Coupé, this intriguing machine was built by hand and featured largely bespoke bodywork. The coachbuilding was done by the B Stesnas Coachworks, the Coupé’s front window being borrowed from the rear of an Amazon while the back window was taken from a Jaguar XK150.
The car was largely well received, but by the time it was unveiled Volvo had revealed a sporting coupé of its own – the P1800. Sommer lost interest in the car when it became clear that it was never going to be a viable proposition – although he would later buy it back and hold on to it.