News Culture

Volvo Made Its Designer Pose With a Taillight for These Uncomfortable Photos

These might look like high school senior photos, but they're actual Volvo press images.

Just like any other job, writing about cars can be boring—it’s usually fun, but not always. Poring over press releases day after day gets repetitive, but when looking back at the archives, you can sometimes strike gold. Such is the case with these images from Volvo, in which the automaker had the C30’s chief designer pose with the car’s taillights like some kind of high school senior photo shoot.

No, these aren’t portraits from Olan Mills. These are actual Volvo press photos and I absolutely adore the energy they put off.

The person in the photos is none other than Simon Lamarre, the studio chief designer at Volvo who was responsible for styling the C30. Lamarre has said that the C30 project was “extra fun” to work on because it went against the grain of the normal family sedan that Volvo was known for and instead focused on something sporty that technically sat four, but worked much better as a two-seater.

That being said, I have no idea whose idea it was to pose Lamarre with a C30 taillight, but I assure you that I’m here for it. Give me your engineers geeking out over their latest innovation, your software engineers with a UI tweak they’re proud of, and everything in between.

Now, I may be a bit biased here because the Volvo C30 is actually one of my favorite cars, visually. It was just different in a sea of mid-2000s beigemobiles and the closest thing to a modern shooting brake that the U.S. was going to get. It had a Swedish face that’s so Volvo and a hot hatch profile that was the polar opposite of what one might expect from the brand.

But the real meat of the design, at least for me, is the rear. The profile of the bumper, roofline and hatch made the car utterly unique. And the tail lights in particular made the car looks so damn happy all the time when you were behind it—like it’s gone cross-eyed from holding in a laugh and pinching its lips. It’s cute, damn it, and I wouldn’t even be mad if it gapped me in a race.

Hats off to Lamarre and his team for creating such a gleeful ride, and thanks to Volvo’s PR department for publishing these ridiculous yearbook-style photos. Now I’m headed back to the salt mines.

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