"Until this afternoon we didn't even know that Zagato had ever worked with Volvo. But it happened. In 1971 this low-nosed, light steeled 2+2 Volvo 3000 GTZ appeared, looking like a vaguely Nordic, possibly speedy hearse. The lines evoke for us something cinematic "
Josse Indigo 3000
Ever wondered what would have happened if TVR was Swedish?
To run the risk of sounding a little bit like Prof. Brian Cox here, Josse was the briefest of flashes in our galaxy of motoring.
Unless you happened to be looking in the right place at the right time, you might not have even noticed Josse’s appearance. From 1994, this little Swedish manufacturer lasted just 5 years and produced under 50 of its ‘Indigo 3000’ before fading away never to return.
The amount of information available on Josse is fairly limited. The company was born and died before the internet truly blew up and as the firm was so small anyway, it barely registered on the fledgling platform at the time. Nevertheless, fragments of a story can still be placed together and it’s really a relatively straightforward one. When company founder Bengt Lidmalm visited the UK in 1993, at some point during his time there he found himself in front of some TVRs. Now, we all know what TVRs can ordinarily make a person feel – and it’s unlikely those feelings involve making money. With our friend Bengt though, they did inspire this business feeling, so in 1994 he embraced it and started his very own loss-making sportscar company.
After founding his new company and having a few ideas, the car that was developed was certainly very TVR in spirit. Though its name suggests it was one of those sports-broomsticks from the Harry Potter universe, the Indigo 3000 was actually a lightweight, composite-bodied rear-wheel driven sports car that weighed in at around 1,000kg. It was designed by Hans Philip Zackau, the man behind the the Volvo 850, and utilised plenty of parts from other major Swedish automakers.
The engine was a Volvo 3.0-litre all-aluminium 6-cylinder unit producing around the 200bhp mark, it doesn’t sound much but the Indigo was so light that it was enough to power the car to a top speed comfortably over the 150mph mark. A 5-speed gearbox from the Volvo 960 was the cog-swapper of choice, while the rear suspension was taken from the very same car. How about the steering column? Volvo 850. Fuel tank? Saab 900. Base for the seats? Volvo S40. The idea was to keep costs down in order to make the Indigo 3000 affordable and appeal to a wider market, but throughout all of 1996 the company built just 3 cars.
A new factory was built, and production stepped up. Each car was built to the requirements of the owner with Josse offering extensive options. However, just a year on from the factory opening the last car was being made and bankruptcy soon followed. This is where most sources tell you the story ends, but the Dutch motoring website autoblog.nl reported in 2015 that the rights to Indigo and the remnants of Josse was purchased by a supercar dealership that tasked Hans Philip Zackau once again with rejuvenating and enhancing the Indigo 3000 ‘for the next decade’.
Will the Swedish TVR make a return in the 2020s? Well, as we all know, stranger things have happened.
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