America's Definitive Marine Engine Magazine
The origins of Volvo Penta can be traced back as far as 1868, when the foundry and mechanical workshop Sköfde Gjuteri & Mekaniska Verkstad was founded. The company manufactured cast-iron goods and hardware such as boilers, pots and pans, ploughs and threshing machines. it evolved into a world leader in diesel engines for marine and industrial use.
In 1959 Volvo Penta and James Wynn introduced the Aquamatic, the first production stern drive. It offered boaters a third power option, beyond the outboard motors and inboards of the day. In the early 80s Volvo followed up with Duo Prop, a diesel stern drive that spins twin propellers in opposite directions on the same axis. At about the same time Volvo began to experiment with inboard versions of Duo Prop, including one wild machination spinning triple propellers. By the mid 80s interest in developing a Duo Prop style inboard waned. In 1997 the project was resurrected and evolved into IPS.
Recently Volvo Purchased 7Marine and now builds those outboards in its Lexington Kentucky Plant. But outboard motors are not a new endeavor for the company. Back in 1922 introduced the small, two-cylinder U2 outboard, slightly improved in 1926 and renamed U21. The U21 remained in production until 1962. Then in the 1970s built 2-strokes.
Volvo Penta, with approximately 3,500 dealers in more than 130 countries, is a world-leading and global manufacturer of engines and complete power systems for boats, vessels and industrial applications. The engine program comprises diesel and gasoline engines with power outputs of between 10 and 1,000 hp. Volvo Penta is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of heavy trucks, buses and construction equipment.
Volvo Penta’s compact sailboat motors are available in a wide array of horsepower ratings starting at 7.5 hp and ranging all the way up to 189 hp. Compact means lightweight and tight fitting. No big surprise, two- three- four and six cylinder configurations are all offered. These Swedish designed and built diesels enjoy a well-deserved reputation for low fuel consumption matched against a flat torque curve. Throttle response is impressive no matter what the rpm. Two of Volvo’s most popular engines are its D2-55 and D2-75. The more powerful of the two models is endowed with turbocharged and charged air cooling. Due to relatively high output, these auxiliaries would most likely find a home in 45-foot or longer sailboat equipped with a wide array of electronics and appliances. To cope with the heavy electrical demand, the D2-75 comes with a high output, 115 amp alternator. Optional is a 220 volt alternator that can output either 2.2 or 3.5 Kw. With that electrical output on board air conditioning and refrigerator are no problem. Volvo sailboat motors are shipped as a complete package which includes engine and transmission, and configured in either inboard or saildrive.