In 1983, Volvo unveiled four versions of the LCP 2000 at an environmental summit in Stockholm. Each had slightly different technical and mechanical setups. For instance, two different three-cylinder transverse turbodiesel engines were used. One was a 1.3-liter 50 hp lightweight magnesium engine, the other a cast-iron 1.4-liter 90 hp engine.
This cast iron engine was odd because it was wrapped in a cooling jacket that actually used the engine oil as a coolant. Even more bizarre (especially for the time), these engines could run on an array of fuels, like low-octane gasoline, rapeseed oil, and even sunflower oil. The EPA was able to eke out 56 mpg in the city and an incredible 81 mpg on the highway during testing. It could go from 0-to-60 in 11 seconds and had a top speed of 110 mph.
The car’s shape was also quirky, sporting an aerodynamic wedge shape (with a drag coefficient of 0.25) to help with fuel efficiency. The two-door hatchback had a plastic tailgate that included nearly half of the roof and swung up high so passengers could clamber into the rear without contorting their bodies to sit in a backward-facing bench seat. This feature was included to save space as well as bolster safety.
The LCPs sat on an all-aluminum chassis with magnesium subframes, and even sported carbon fiber door frames, a wholly new and untested material at the time. All four vehicles were fitted with front-wheel drive, but a 5-speed manual transmission was used in some, while an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (CVT) was used in others.