Volvo XC70 Surf Rescue Concept  

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Volvo XC70 Surf Rescue On Patrol at the 2007 SEMA Show

Lifeguards on Southern California's famous beaches have been glamorized by Hollywood for decades. While they share the spirit of adventure and camaraderie, these dedicated men and women are highly trained professionals who take safety very seriously. Half a world away, a Volvo designer in Sweden who is captivated by lifeguard skill competitions accepted the challenge to design a show car for his heroes. The result, Volvo's XC70 Surf Rescue (SR) concept, pays homage to the brave individuals who protect and serve the ocean-going public.

At the Volvo Concept Center in Gothenburg, Sweden, Joel Alexandersson was charged with creating the conceptual design for a one-of-a-kind rescue vehicle that upholds Volvo's core value of safety in a bold and dynamic new way. The XC70 SR's interior concept was assigned to Volvo's styling center in Barcelona, Spain. Larry Abele, design manager at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center (VMCC) in Camarillo, California, coordinated the global teamwork and vehicle build.

As a testament to Volvo's advanced design capabilities, the XC70 SR concept was initially created in a virtual world. "The entire design process was performed digitally," says Abele. "This enabled us to review and modify the design in real time by projecting it onto large scale screens at each studio."

Volvo selected the Aria Group in Irvine, California, to build the concept. Starting with a production XC70, the Aria team completely stripped the vehicle of its paint, trim, bumpers and interior. Custom-designed parts were crafted for the concept without the traditional method of building clay models. Being able to go directly from digital designs to a process called rapid prototyping greatly reduces development time.

Guided by the surfing lifestyle and casual beach culture, the XC70 SR's paint scheme is developed specifically for the show car by DuPont. Colors are selected from DuPont's Global Advanced Design Show, which represents cutting edge trends in automotive color. The exterior yellow is a multi-layer effect coating incorporating a vibrant color with pearl like qualities. The secondary red uses a tinted clear to produce high chroma with warm undertones. These exotic finishes use DuPont's wet on wet coating technology for multi layer effects without the high cost of multiple baking steps.

Eye-catching Surf Rescue graphics are added for instant recognition on a crowded beach. The exterior also sports a custom-crafted front fascia that wears a one-off milled aluminum billet grille. Front and rear skid plates and wider wheel lip cladding provide extra body protection from flying sand. The new fascias also reduce front and rear overhang, thereby improving approach and departure angles.

The chassis is lifted an additional five inches from the stock ride height for improved ground clearance. It also makes way for a massive set of custom designed 20-inch wheels and Pirelli 275/45R20 tires made specifically for the XC70 SR. The tread is designed for increased grip on loose and sandy soil with the flexibility to provide excellent traction both on and off the road. The rear subframe is beefed-up for added ruggedness with milled aluminum billet components.

True to form, the XC70 SR is topped by a unique aerodynamically designed roof-mounted emergency light bar integrated with a rescue board rack. Not only does this treatment contribute to the stunning good looks of the vehicle, it also helps to reduce wind drag by attaching directly to the XC70's OEM supplied roof rails.

When it's time to respond to a call, the driver or front passenger can activate a barrage of flashing blue strobe emergency lights. In addition to the roof, they're neatly inset into the lower front valance panel, headlight and rear combination light clusters as well as the inside rearview mirror.

Lifeguards get wet and sandy on the job so the interior is modified for heavy-duty use - without sacrificing style. The XC70's standard front bucket and folding rear seats are recovered in wetsuit style neoprene fabric that's custom tailored in black and gray with bright yellow inserts. Decorative interior panels throughout the cabin are yellow tinted with clear to segue with the spirit of the exterior hue.

Bulky emergency rescue gear housed in the cargo compartment can easily be accessed via the XC70's power rear tailgate. Secured to the neoprene covered floor are two scuba tanks, an oxygen tank, a small first aid kit, a resuscitator box and a large waterproof box containing additional medical supplies and surf rescue equipment.

The XC70's 3.2-liter in-line 6-cylinder normally aspirated engine produces 235 horsepower and 236 lb.-ft. of torque. It's mated to a six-speed "Geartronic" automatic transmission that enables the driver to shift manually when desired. All-wheel-drive with Instant TractionTM is standard. Electronic Hill Descent Control (HDC) uses the vehicle's brakes and engine torque to crawl in bottom gear on steep downhill slopes.

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