While (probably) doing a bit of spring cleaning in advance, the Volvo Museum stumbled upon a concept few of us have probably heard of. The Light Component Project 2000 is way more than 22 years old as you might be tempted to believe given its name. The idea was born in 1979 and it stemmed from a previous EV study. The concept wasn’t finalised until a few years later as the premiere took place in 1983 at an environmental seminar in Stockholm.
The museum in Gothenburg, Sweden has now taken the concept out of what is known as the “hiding place.” Technically, it’s not a car per se, but rather a painted shell on wheels. It has now been literally unboxed and Volvo plans to bring the LCP 2000 to a car show soon. Much like the Bertone-designed Tundra concept that went on to become the Citroën BX, this one-off has hints of models from that era carrying the double chevron.
Former Saab engineer Rolf Mellde was the project manager during development and the idea was to conceive an ultra-frugal car that would remain safe and practical even by 2000 standards. It had to meet additional criteria, including a curb weight of no more than 700 kilograms and a fuel consumption below 58.8 miles per gallon.
Volvo made a total of four vehicles, and each had slightly different technical specifications. The wedge-shaped two-door hatchback had a plastic tailgate providing access to the rearward-facing rear seats. Power came from turbodiesel engines, a 1.3-litre with 50 bhp and a 1.4-litre unit with 90 bhp. Output was sent to the front wheels via a five-speed manual or a CVT (yes, really).
One made from magnesium and the other from cast iron, the diesel engines were conceived to run on any oil fuel, including rapeseed oil. To achieve the ambitious weight target, Volvo used a variety of aluminium, magnesium, and plastic. Fun fact – the door frames had carbon fibre… some 40 years ago!
It was too advanced for its time to go into production as efficiency wasn’t a priority back then. Oh, how the times have changed, especially in Europe where stringent emissions regulations are killing the combustion engine. Even though it didn’t hit the assembly line, design traits can be found in the 480 compact model launched in 1986.