Ran When Parked: 1960 Volvo PV544

This listing for a barn find 1960 Volvo PV544 has curiously been posted for some time, despite looking like a worthwhile project at a fair price. The seller it’s a non-runner that did still spin over under its own power when parked in 1996, and given the reputation for durability these cars have, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see it come back to life with relative ease. Unless the rust situation is far more severe than we can see here, it’s a head scratcher as to why this one hasn’t found a new home. The seller is asking a reasonable $1,500 here on craigslist in Oregon, a place known for giving vintage cars and trucks an extra long lease on life.

The PV544 was a fascinating mix of features and styles, almost all of it surprising. The styling was a homage to 1940s Ford products, already looking quite mature when it was introduced. You might even have called it stodgy if you were a 16 year old when these Volvos were still fairly new on the scene. Despite this image, the later PV544 with the more powerful B18 engine was deceptively quick, holding its own against the far more sporting cars of the day thanks to low curb weight and 90 horsepower. As a 1960 model, I believe this Volvo has the smaller B16 that made a little over 60 horsepower and likely isn’t as entertaining as its later siblings; still, engine swaps are straightforward affairs with these bulbous classics.

The level of creature comforts and solid construction means the PV544 is one of the few imports from this era that can be used for daily errand running without feeling like you’re in a penalty box. Well appointed with an airy cabin, the PV544 reflects the sensibility Volvo was trying to sell American consumers on at the time – smartly packaged, safe, and built with extremely durability in mind. It’s largely the same reputation they adhere to today, with the exception of perhaps placing a greater emphasis on styling. The interior of this PV544 is clearly tired and in need of a deep cleaning, but it looks like it simply hasn’t been touched in eons rather than appearing as if it’s been hacked apart. The dash is split but that’s hardly a surprise; fortunately, the community behind these things should offer access to plenty of spares.

The B18 really is the way to go if you want to get the most out of the PV544 experience, but it’s not as if the horsepower difference is so dramatic that you’ll lose sleep over owning a B16. The seller provides no details on the health of the engine or whether he’s tried to start it; the good news is it looks relatively complete, continuing the theme of this forgotten Volvo not being raided for its useful parts in the time it’s been sitting. These classic Swedes are not immune from rusting from the inside out, so it’d be worth a call to the seller to find out if that’s the reason why this barn find PV544 remains available a month after being listed.


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  1. DRV

    An easy look at the spare wheel well will tell you the most, not all, about rust in these.

  2. t-bone BOB

    Located in Eureka, CA

  3. PairsNPaint

    Ah, memories! I bought one of these for $50 from a neighbor. It was only 6 years old, but already had Flintstone floorboards and a bad clutch. Sat parked in front of my house for 6 months before Dad said to get it the H*** out of there. Alas, at 16 I had neither the resources nor the skill to tackle a project. Would have been a cool rat rod long before the term was coined.

  4. Dave Mazz


    I don’t know where your Dad may be now, but you both can share a good laugh, knowing that your $50 Volvo is how worth maybe $1500. :-) :-)

    Like 1

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