Volvo of Mississauga
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Volvo Seatbelt saves over 1 million lives since invention


A journey that started with a ‘Click’


Three Point Seat Belt


On July 14, 2010, our simple life saving device, the three-point seat belt, will forever be a part of American history. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History will officially accept Volvo’s three-point seat belt into their collection. On that day, with a press event for media, business, government and Smithsonian officials, a little bit of Volvo will forever be a part of Washington, DC.


About 18 months ago Volvo called the Smithsonian to ask if they were interested in acquiring the three-point seat belt for their collection. After all, 2009 would mark the 50th anniversary of this invention. As luck would have it, the Museum was working on a collection of automotive safety “firsts” and Volvo's seatbelt would be a key acquisition for the collection. However, first we had to document and they had to verify that we were first. Then we had to prove it was fitted as described, and that it was standard in our cars. What we finally agreed upon was that after 1961 all our cars were fitted with that seat belt.


Originally Volvo was just going to give them a seat belt but since the process took so long, we finally had a belt mounted to a mock-up PV 544 driver side seat with floor pan, seat attachments and ‘B’ pillar for auto shows. We couldn’t authenticate the seat or belt came from a 1961, which is what the Smithsonian needed, so we bought a ’61, took out the original equipment and mounted it on a display stand. The Smithsonian then back-tracked the original car to its previous owner, authenticated that it rolled out of the factory with standard-fitted three-point belts, and I thought we were good to go. It turned out that finding a good, original seat that’s 50-years old was a tougher task than I could have ever imagined.


For over a year, our display sat, packed, ready to ship, on our loading dock, right next to our trash compactor.  Yeah, can you feel the fear I had, almost daily, that someone would consider it trash and we’d be back to first base. I thank the Swedish Viking gods for protecting it from our compactor.


Finally late last month we got the call to ship. The display was repacked, shrink wrapped and sent on its way with kisses from all of us.


Nils Bohlin


I doubt that Nils Bolin would have ever thought his invention would save more than 1 million people’s lives and that it would become standard in all cars, mandated by law in 1972. Through the years, Nils has received many awards and accolades, but I think this one simple donation would stand out as his crowning achievement, aside from personal thanks from people whose lives were saved by his invention.


Today we like to say there is a little bit of Volvo in all cars.


This July, Volvo Cars of North America will be heading to Washington to present our three-point seat belt to the Smithsonian, a very good day for Volvo.


Below is our two-point seat belt. I think we sold it just for couple of years. When I had my first Volvo, ’58 444, there were mounting holes for seat belts, sold as an accessory. 


Two Point Seat Belt


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