Dual Purpose Hauler: 1959 Volvo PV445 Duett

The utilitarian Volvo PV445 Duett is the granddaddy of today’s luxurious Volvo wagons. It was based on the PV445 chassis that was first available in 1949, using the same engine, front suspension, and front sheet metal as the PV444 sedan. Unlike its unibody passenger car counterpart, the PV445 employed a ladder frame with leaf spring rear suspension. This separate body-on-frame construction allowed it to be offered as a bare commercial chassis from the cowl rearward, for commercial and coachbuilt versions, which included both pick-up truck and convertible variants. In 1953, a factory built-wagon was introduced with the name “Duett,” which was intended to signify this vehicle’s dual purpose of hauling goods and people. Few details are given on this 1959 Volvo PV445 Duett available here on Craigslist in Bend, Oregon, but it looks like a solid and complete example. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Gunter Kramer for the tip!

There is barely any text in the ad, so I am going to have to do a little speculating here. This wagon is covered in a layer of dust which suggests it has been stored inside for some time, though who knows for how long? It wears a factory two-tone paint scheme with a white window section and blue body and roof, so it seems likely that this Duett still has its original paint, as shown on a fully restored example on the Volvo Cars website. The split windshield easily identifies this example as a PV444-based P445 Duett. Its successor, the 210 Duett, based on the PV544, had a single piece curved windshield and was released in 1961 and remained in production through 1969.

This car wears a Washington State front license plate with a frame from Bob Simonds, a car dealership in Phoenix, Arizona. Both clues suggest that it spent at least a portion of its life in a salt-free climate. There are some rust spots and possible perforation on the driver’s door, but otherwise it appears solid. A potential buyer would want to ask for more photos as only three are provided in the ad. A rear view of the Duett shows barn doors which open to reveal a cargo area lined in wood. More could be stored on an optional rack that attached to mounting points on the roof.

Volvo Duett brochure image, photo courtesy of Volvo Cars News Room

Again, with virtually no information given in the ad, anyone interested in this old Volvo will want to ask a lot of questions regarding its mechanical condition. The asking price of $11,000 is fair assuming it is not rusty and is close to running and driving. Would you clean this one up and make it into a driver, or restore it to as-new condition like the one in the Volvo press photos?


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  1. BlondeUXB Member

    Very high on my very long bucket list…

    Like 4
  2. SMS

    Agree, close to the top of my bucket list too. These do have known rust areas like the spare tire cubby. Also the frame can often be rusted out. Have a feeling these are found with more rust than their sedan brothers and sisters because they did time off road for farm duty or family outings.

    May not look like it but they are very handy. Geared low so can go many places. Not very heavy so mud, sand, and snow don’t stop them. Have a large enough room in the back to hold a ‘56 Matchless G80.

    Like 2
  3. chrlsful

    world car? Which copy who? Only way I can ever tell is by yrs 1st produced. A good copy of my 2nd all time fav (this is 1st cuz smaller) the plymouth suburban. Just call me wagonman If not aware 8^ )

    Never saw a 444 vert or pick up. BF gets its 2 or 3/yr shout outs for “aint never seen dat B4!” This 1 (again due to wagonish nature) is quite familiar’n loved – I had several of it’s children’n grandkids (240, 850 waggys). Keep it up Jonathan’n BF, esp those rare links just mentioned ! Nice surprise reward for followin the opening thumbnail~

    • Jwaltb

      I don’t want to work hard enough to decipher what you’re saying

      Like 1
  4. Stephen F Sharp

    I’d take a Jeep wagon first…..


    I have just one comment. If you want to get $11K for a car, wouldn’t it be good idea to at least take a garden hose to it, for the photos?

    Like 1
    • Karl Sisson

      I agree. Must be the whole leave on the dust barn find thing.

  6. t-bone bob

    I live in Bend, OR. I’m not a certified inspector, but if someone woudl like me to put some eyes on this cool vehicle, I woudl be happy to go check it out. I wil check out the two areas that SMS identified.

    Like 1
    • Eric B

      Nice of you to make the offer. I’m envious! The PNW seems to be survivor central. Beautiful surroundings and people too. I’m in the Northeast; the exact opposite in every way. Cars are disposable.

  7. Bill McCoskey

    We had one just like this, right down to the colors, even same year. Dad traded it in on a new Peugeot 403 Familial wagon with 4 rows of seats. Said the Volvo had to go when he had a load of boy scouts in the back, and on pulling out into traffic, the back double doors popped open and one of my friends fell out the back onto the pavement.

    A quick thinking C&P Telephone company lineman in one of those cool green service trucks, seeing my friend fall out, turned his truck into the opposing lane and jumped out to grab him. Fortunately my friend was not hurt, but dad was furious that a VOLVO could have such a safety problem!

    Like 1
  8. chrestian willhans

    I must correct one thing in the text: The Duett and the sedan version did not share front end sheet metal. Although it looks the same it it not interchangeable. I think the Duett’s fenders are higher than the sedan’s. The same goes for the front section. The doors also have different windowframes, which is more obvious.

  9. David Conrad Member

    My very first car was a 1963 PV544 2 door coupe in cream w/ a red interior. It was a great car and went everywhere including long trips. Wish I’d kept it!

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