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One Owner Barn Find: 1965 Volvo PV544

This 1965 Volvo PV544 reminds us that outside of the classic air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle, Volvo once made one of the more iconic car shapes the industry has ever seen. Looking like a cross between the 1946 Ford Super Deluxe that Biff Tannen drove in Back to the Future Part 1 and the aforementioned Bug, the Volvo became a hit not for its looks but for its surprisingly robust performance. This Volvo PV544 listed here on Facebook Marketplace is supposedly a one-owner example that comes with a treasure trove of spare parts and two parts cars.

For $1,500, that seems like a fair deal and you should be able to build one solid runner out of the stockpile of parts and cars. The one-owner status is an interesting aspect to the whole deal, as many collectors specifically seek out cars with low owner turnover. While this Volvo will need plenty of love and likely require a financially reckless restoration, ending up with a true one-owner example of a car that often changed hands many times due to its impressive durability may make it a car worth saving. It’s in Virginia, so hopefully rust isn’t a major issue outside of surface-level patina.

No matter what happens, that upholstery pattern has to be saved and replicated in whatever form this car takes post-restoration. The combination of a white exterior with that red tartan-style cloth is a killer combo, and I hope it comes back to life. I can’t tell if that’s a hole in the floorboard or just a tear in the rubber floor covering; either way, it will have to be repaired. The seller notes that the PV544 turns over but has no spark; even if it’s terminal, there’s lots of good spares out there, and opportunities for OEM+ upgrades abound.


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    The “see through” driver’s floor might be an indication of what’s underneath.

    Like 12
  2. HoA Howard A Member

    Seasoned viewers will know, if it’s something I had, you’ll probably hear about it. Renault, Packard, Diamond T, or any truck for that matter, and yes, Volvos. Before the “Asian Invasion”, small cars were few. The Bug, of course, Renault, a smattering of Fiats, maybe a Mini, but Volvo was actually quite a popular car, perhaps because of its vintage Ford looks. While my 1st “real” car, well, technically the 4CV was the 1st, but I never drove it on the streets, probably just as well too, was a 1958 Volvo 444, that amazingly, one was featured here a while back. While the guy across the alley had a 544, my car was simply a $50 beater from a junkyard, that ironically, had no spark too. We dragged it home with a chain, I’ll spare you the harrowing details of THAT ride, a new coil, and BAM,,,1st car. Somehow we accumulated parts from several cars, mine had a B16, but a 3 speed. A 4 speed was found and installed, after cutting the longer input shaft, stupid kids, hey, it worked, and I drove that car all over creation. It was a 6 volt, so I had a 12v battery in the back seat for the KRACO 8 track, it didn’t handle the best, poor brakes, but had a heater, and you never forget your 1st,,,um car,,,that is.
    This car? Unless someone is actually familiar with these, and it was pristine, maybe a chance, but to restore one is not on many peoples minds. Shame, Like most of my vehicles, I never drove junk, and these were just the best cars. Got the name out there for the much more successful 140 series.

    Like 14
    • kaf

      Howard A,

      Did the 6v 444 have that armored cable between the coil and the ignition switch like the 544?

      Like 5
      • HoA Howard A Member

        Ha! Good one, and yes it did, and was harder to cut than the transmission shaft. I believe it was Volvos attempt at an anti-theft device, as most hooligans know, back then,, all it took was a hot lead from the battery to the coil, jump the starter and off you go.

        Like 6
    • Rallye Member

      4CV rarely mentioned anywhere. Wife of the 70s bought one cheap because no one could find a starter. She especially liked starting it with the crank after the machos failed to start it for her at the gas station. She was the one that got me started with the Volvos.

      Like 3
  3. Tracy

    I see that it has the ankle vent option

    Like 7
  4. Brian Fahey

    Looking at that drivers seat begs the question; how long was the body in the car before it was discovered?
    Just kidding, but these cars are a hoot to drive and they’re not very complicated. I just have too many projects, but this is a REALLY cheap father-daughter or father-son project. And when they’re done, paint it their choice and it’s their first car. Bullet proof car with a low cost learn machanics on the fly (do-it-yourself) re-hab. It’s so old it’ll turn heads for them. Or re list it here.
    Sorry for the tacky question. I just couldn’t help myself.

    Like 1
  5. bob

    You can get a very nice 544 for about 8K so this one should be under 1K. It need a lotta work. The Volvo rear does sort of look VW ish but it really was a shrunk down 46 Ford.

    Like 4
  6. Gary

    So this is what Volvo was selling in 1965? Obviously, styling was not the car’s selling point.

    Like 3
    • Rallye Member

      Volvo was also selling the Amazon in the 60s. It had 50s styling.
      1967 was the beginning of the boxy 140 series. I think 66 was the last year for the PV.
      Safety was the big selling point followed closely by long life and durability…. then came rally and racing successes.

      Like 0
  7. George

    The Other George here. Back in the 60’s a local guy had one of those mini 46 Fords that was cherry red and pristine. Being a hot rodder he installed a small block Chevy motor with corresponding 4 spd. and supportive rear end. As part of his ‘sleeper’ profile he maintained all of the original appearance except for wider rear tires and hidden dual exhaust. Deceptive even to retaining the original single exhaust pipe. Street racing was in fashion and the slight rumble that this car gave off at a stoplight hinted to those in-the-know that it wasn’t as it appeared. Any doubt was removed when the traffic light turned green, the drivers looked at each other, nodded, and that little red Volvo blasted off. Didn’t take long before word got around and the late night hunt was on to run against this rocket. If that sounds like a Springsteen song, well maybe a bit like that. Glory Days.

    Like 4

    HAD a 1964, installed a 327 in it completely restored. A 16 year old millionaires son who had no drivers from one of the oil countries who had literally 30 minutes earlier had just paid cash for a 56 Belaire ran a red light and totally demolished it in front of a Denver police officer ….I MADE $35K ON that DEAL,

    Like 0
  9. Andrew S. Mace Member

    Sorry, But has to be saved and replicatedI suspect the “red tartan-style cloth” that “has to be saved and replicated” is nothing more than an aftermarket seat cover. Nice, but nothing I’d spend two days wandering around Hershey or Carlisle to find! ;)

    Like 1
    • Andrew S. Mace Member

      (Sorry the above got a bit garbled!) I suspect the “red tartan-style cloth” that “has to be saved and replicated” is nothing more than an aftermarket seat cover. Nice, but nothing I’d spend two days wandering around Hershey or Carlisle to find! ;)

      Like 1
  10. JerryZ

    I had a 1960 PV 544 had split manifold spun aluminum hub caps great car had to sell because my wife couldn’t drive stock. It was fast I beat a hot road corvair with it at the local drag strip

    Like 0

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