Original Paint? 1957 Volvo PV444

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The story behind this supposedly original paint 1957 Volvo PV444 makes me wonder if the seller and I bought projects from the same guy. Originally found in Georgia – like my ’81 Toyota Hiace project – and said to have run recently, but having some starting issues (basically, the same line I was fed), this largely original Volvo here on eBay¬†looks like a deserving project for potentially short money.

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Bidding is currently just under $700 with the reserve unmet. Much like when I bought my ‘Yota, the seller of this Volvo claims the previous owner told him it did run well at one point, but some undetermined issues have sidelined it as of late. Volvos of this era are impressively styled, with lots of character and high-level finishes for a car designed to be utilitarian and tough.

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As a twin-carb model, I *think* this qualifies as a B16B engine, but I’ll leave that to our Volvo experts to sort out. These rugged engines offered impressive fuel economy and performance, and the later PV544 cars went on to enjoy a respectable amount of success on the road/rally circuit. The seller does not know much about the car’s mechanical health beyond it having a no-start issue.

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From where I am sitting, this looks like a car deserving restoration or at least a return to driver status. The seller suggests it’s a good candidate for parting out or rat-rodding, and I really hope it doesn’t come to that. These Volvos are supposedly great drivers and would be welcome at any number of cars and coffee and vintage cruise events, so here’s hoping it returns to the road soon.

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Comments

  1. Kenneth karlsson

    Thats not the original engine, Its a later B18-20 engine.
    This car came whith B16b 85hp 3 mains/counterweighted crankshaft engine.
    Volvo B18/20 is 5 mains much more rugged, although B16 were quite good too..

    Greetings from “Swedespeed” – Sweden

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    • terry

      I hope it got the 4 speed along with the B18.

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  2. Howard A Member

    sniff, this was my 1st car ( well, not THIS particular car) a 1958 black 444. I never expected to see one grace the pages here, but this was my exact car. I paid $50 dollars for it in 1971 from a junkyard, and all that was wrong was a bad coil. Mine had a B16, but it had a 3 speed( that I switched to a 4 speed), so someone must have put the whole unit in. It wasn’t a fast car, or flashy, but it was my 1st car, and gained my respect for Volvo’s and thanks for reminding me of what it looked like. A few years ago, when cleaning out my parents house, I found that 444 script below the radio. I think I removed it to put a tape player in that space. It now sits on top of my computer. Great find, thanks again, Jeff. btw, these are 6 volt, so might want to watch for that.

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    • Frank M

      I have the same sentimental feelings for this car. My first was a 61 PV544. Paid $200 for it, bought it from our neighbor when I was 15. Learned to drive on the desert back roads of eastern Arizona. Had to sell it when my family moved to Missouri a year later.

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  3. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    From Kenneth Karlsson’s comment above, this PV 444 might be more like a 544 to drive‚Ķassuming it does drive.

    I have a soft spot for these PVs. The first Volvo I owned was a PV 544 with the B18 engine, which didn’t look much like a rally car when stock but did quite well back in the day. One won the Safari Rally in 1965 despite looking like a small ’46 Ford sedan. An example of a restored example is here:
    http://borderreivers.co/portfolio/volvo-pv-544-1963-rallyrace-car/

    These Volvos might look top heavy and dull but they went down the road real well for a 4-cylinder sedan, especially the 544. And they were rugged. You could drive them close to their limit for hours with no protest. This one on Ebay looks like it will need a lot of work. I’d rather have a 544 that doesn’t need as much work.

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  4. Tre Deuce

    A 58′ _ ‘544’ was the first foreign car I put a V8 into. I put a 260″ Ford Sm. Blk and 4-speed from a Falcon Sprint into the little Swedish car that looked a lot like a 48′ Ford.

    I had the rear wheels widened so I could run bigger rubber, but leave the car looking stock with the dog dish hubcaps. The engine was slightly built, cam, 4-Barrel, Shaved and Ported & Polished heads. I built the headers(4-pairs) based on the firing order so it still sounded like a 4-Cyl. That was the hardest part of the build after a minor 2-1/2″ tub job.

    If you were following the car you might notice the wider rear tires and wheels, but that would be the only clue that something was awry until I smoked you off the line.

    Fun car that became locally famous. Wonder where it is today.

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  5. jaygryph

    Man, my dad’s brother had one of these when they were younger. He bought a rolled 442 Olds and cut the body off and rolled the pan and hacked up frame under the Volvo. Apparently it was a monster in a straight line but nearly impossible to drive in the rain because of how overpowered it was. No idea where that car ended up.

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  6. Rustytech

    I always thought these looked like a baby 46 Ford. A friend had one years ago, not very fast but a fun rally car. I like it especially if it stays under $3k.

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  7. Wayne Thorpe

    I learned how to drive a standard on a 1957 PV 444 one hot Sunday afternoon in August 1966. I was 11 years old and my uncle offered to teach my older how to drive a standard. When she refused, I spoke up and he said okay. To say that the man had the patience of Job, would not be doing him justice. We went back and forth in his side yard for at least two hours. By the time we had finished, I held my own. Many years later, I taught my son how to drive a standard on my 1998 Volvo V70 T5. He was a much quicker learner than I was. He was able to handle the clutch/gas on a hill within one hour. Anyways, if I had the space for this car, it would be on its way to CT.

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  8. Tre Deuce

    There is an outfit in Ballard/Seattle that converts 544’s to EV’s. The town was originally made up of Scandinavian’s, so there are a lot of Volvo’s and Saab’s there and a lot of EV’s.

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    • rod444

      Would be interested to know their name as I am an EV and Volvo fan looking for a project.

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      • Tre Deuce

        Rod444> Can’t recall the name, but it is on the south side Market street between 24th. Ave. NW and NW 54th. St. _ Ballard/Seattle

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  9. DRV

    That is a B18 or 20. I would check the rust over the rear fenders first as that’s a tough area to rework! I’ve had this one and drove it in to storage this weekend.
    http://barnfinds.com/original-driver-1965-volvo-pv544/
    Thanks BF, I am enjoying your sight more and more.

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  10. terry

    I always preferred the 444 steering wheel and round speedo to the 544 pieces.

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