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First in Austin: 1956 Volvo PV444

1956 Volvo Pv444

While looking through the classifieds, we found this 1956 Volvo PV444. The blue paint looks worn and faded, but it is claimed to be completely original and unrestored. The seller does not provide many details but we assume it is going to need some work to get back on the road. This car has an interesting story though and they are only asking $4,500. View the ad here on Hemmings.

1956 Volvo Pv444 Rear

All used cars hold a story. Some have participated in high speed races from the glory days piloted by fearless drivers. While others carry memories from family road trips. Whatever it is, there is still a story to be told and this old Volvo is no exception. Volvos were known for their high level of durability. In fact, the company made claims in  marketing campaigns that they built their cars to last for at least ten years.

1956 Volvo Pv444 Sticker

This car is proof that they were well made machines. The seller purchased the car from Austin Texas’ Volvo dealer, Import Motors, back in the nineties and it has been off the road since 1996. This car had previously sat in the dealership there with a sticker in the window which read, “First Volvo purchased in Austin. Owner drove it 11 yrs. and traded it in for a new Volvo”. You just don’t hear things like that anymore.

1956 Volvo Pv444 B16 Engine

One source of these car’s durability was this four cylinder engine. With only three main bearings and around 40 horsepower they didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary, but Volvo designed them to last. They were overbuilt, well cooled, and used good materials. The power wasn’t anything to get excited about either but when combined with a light unibody, it provided spirited driving with room for the family.

1956 Volvo Pv444 Roof

The exterior styling was already outdated when released, but you didn’t buy a Volvo for the looks. You bought one to have a reliable form of transportation. They were entered in many rallies with some success and continue to be popular for long distance events. Clean this one up, get it running, and leave that sticker in the window. There is at least another eleven years of life left in this old girl and that is plenty of time to make even more stories.


  1. Larry

    Had a PV444 back in the early 70’s. Great car, really miss it. I rolled it and we pushed it back on it’s tires and i drove it for a couple of weeks until the police told me to take it off the road. Most dependable car i ever had. Wish I could find another one in my neck of the woods (central FL.)

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  2. Tom Greenacres

    It’s a 3/4 scale ’47 Ford. And made a tidy racecar; they were on the track (not as vintage racers) at least until the 1970s.

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  3. Jim Rizer

    I think a very sensible car.

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  4. Dolphin Member

    I owned the younger brother of this, a 1959 PV544, back a long time ago. The main difference is the more primitive engine (with 3 main bearings and less HP) and the split windshield in the 444 compared to a larger 5-main bearing engine and a one-piece curved screen in the 544. As one of the photos of the 444 shows, these cars had dual SU carbs on the engines, which really helped performance. Virtually any other economy car maker would have used only a single carb. These cars are primitive, with painted surfaces inside as I recall, but they performed well compared to other economy cars of the 1950s. I remember one ad for them showing a bird’s eye view from above, with the Volvo easily out-accelerating some unnamed competitors. I also remember seeing a few of these on the road and at races on regional tracks that were “prepared”, with engine mods, lowered, and wider tires, and they performed as well as or better than many of the sports cars of the day. I bought mine because I was a poor student and I couldn’t find a better, more dependable and fun to drive car for what I could afford, but for the true Volvo fan, owning at least one 444 or 544 in your lifetime is required, and this 444 is a car that is affordable and will probably never be worth less than it is now. Although the hot Texas sun hasn’t done the blue paint any favors, at least the body seems to be intact, and the car seems complete, making it an easy restoration.

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  5. mincht

    I have a ’65 544 right now and drive it regularly. Imagine how outdated by”65 it was! With a B20 it keeps up with ordinary traffic and the rest is priginal, dull black paint and all.

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  6. J. Pickett

    I think I’d rather have a real 46-48 Ford.

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  7. Grant Malherbe

    I remember as a young boy in the 1960’s in South Africa, our neighbour bought a new 544 in bright red with 544 SPORT on the back. This was really something special!….and it was, considering that the average car in the street was a second hand Austin or Morris 1000 or maybe a Ford Anglia/ Popular. We had mostly small British cars then, with the occasional Big American boat. Great rally cars, together with the old 2 stroke SAABs.Memories of almost 45 years ago! Pity its not a SOUTH AFRICAN barn find, then I could add it to my collection of old TRIUMPHs!

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  8. Chris

    What a neat find, someone give this a new home. Just a neat cool car. Can you still get Volvo parts for these? I love old cars where you can look in the engine compartment and see the ground underneath. And a manual choke just like my snowblower.

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  9. minch

    You can get every part and fix it yourself easily. I like the MPG and safety for its age.

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