Professor Owned: 1961 Volvo PV 544

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

As Volvo fans know, the PV 544, introduced in 1958, looks much like a hunchbacked 1941 Ford, though it was sold until 1966. This 1961 544 is listed here on Craigslist near Portland, Oregon. It’s a pretty sweet example, though not perfect, with a seemingly reasonable $6,500 price tag.

Mechanically, there’s a lot of overlap with later 544s and early 122S models. But this is an earlier 544 with a B16 engine instead of the B18 added in 1962. A single Zenith carb produced allows the engine to produce 66 horsepower, though this one might have a bit more oomph via a pair of SUs.

The main thing is how nice this car looks all around, with an ultra-clean interior and engine bay, plus still-nice 10-year-old black paint. The motor looks ready for the Concours judging team. The brakes work well.

And yet, the car is not without faults. The turn signals are absent without leave, and the heater/defroster is “disconnected and bypassed.” A new owner might want it back. There’s no radio, and the hood latch needs adjustment. The stick-on side trim is peeling. A bigger concern: The electrical system “needs debugging.”

The upholstery and headliner are new and appear very well done. All the glass is good. The engine was tuned in 2022, and a new oil filter was installed with synthetic oil.

“Basically,” the owner says, “this is a good, sound 1961 Volvo PV 544 survivor with better-than-average body, mechanical, and interior.” It may be of interest that the car was owned by a University of Idaho professor who, weather permitting, drove it to work in Moscow (the one in Idaho). It is still Idaho-tagged.

There is a healthy demand for 544 Volvos. puts the average price at $16,442, so should you buy this one, you can afford to spend a little to get it into shape. The turn signals, at least!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Unique, durable, and fun to drive. Don’t find them in this condition too often.

    Like 13
    • Bob

      That’s right bob

      Like 3
  2. RayTMember

    I’d love to have this. The electrical systems on cars of this vintage are none to difficult to deal with, and I suspect the heater needs a new core. None of that is as daunting as a modern car’s audio system, never mind today’s myriad of computers and sensors….

    My preference would be for a later B18-powered version, but at the price you could hardly go wrong. Extra displacement and power would be sure to drive the price for an otherwise-equivalent car considerably higher.

    Like 9
    • Frog

      Speed limit is still 55 it might take a few seconds longer to get there.

      Like 0
  3. Will Fox

    I always thought of PV544’s as 3/4 scale `47 Ford tudors. That’s what they look like!

    Like 7
    • ClassicP

      lol I was gonna comment how Volvo needs to get with the times it looks like a 40’s automobile.

      Like 0
  4. Howie

    Professor owned? As in Gilligan’s Island?

    Like 5
    • Frog

      Good point Howie but if he were the gremlins would be dealt with and fixed.

      Like 1
  5. CadmanlsMember

    Great looking car, wiring isn’t all that complicated. Should be a nice ride for someone.

    Like 3
  6. HoA HoAMember

    Well, I’m no professor, but I feel a bit more important, seeing a ’58 PV444 was my 1st real car. If true, there were a lot of professor wannabes back then, I was just talking to my brother about these, they were very common. Not sure why, had nothing in common with the then most common import, the VW, but I had one, my brother had another, we had a parts car, no motor, and the guy across the alley had one. For import buyers, this car had a lot going for it. They were a bit pricey, at $2195, when a VW was $1695, but many felt a car with a real heater was worth it, and it was. It wasn’t fast, or handled well, iffy brakes, but it was a solid car, and Americans took to it. Perhaps it did remind them of an older Ford. They sold almost 440,000 in its 18 year run, but unsure how many of those came to the US. It was this or an Opel, also a very popular car. Great find, oh, BTW, my brother sold his 544 in ’72 for $50!

    Like 8
    • HoA HoAMember

      Oh, where’s the window shade and chain for the radiator blind?

      Like 4
    • PairsNPaint

      LOL. I bought MY 544 in ’72 for $50!

      Like 4
  7. Gary

    I always figured there was a hidden quality in these to be able to sell a 1940s body style in 1961. A face only a Mother could love!

    Like 3
  8. Wademo

    I see Hot Rod potential!

    Like 1
    • peter havriluk

      It already is.

      Like 0
  9. Troy

    I remember a car like this from the Robin Williams movie with Garp in the title where he crashed into a car his wife was cheating on him…🤔

    Like 0
    • John Morrissey

      I read then book, and the details were gruesome !

      Like 0
  10. freakinutz

    This is clean and you don’t see them in this condition any longer. If it were closer to me, I suspect it would be coming home with me. I wonder if the professor smoked a pipe while driving to Moscow and back!

    Like 1
    • Frog

      Everything now is home delivery freakinutz from groceries to cars and everything in between. The ad did say nonsmoker.

      Like 0
  11. Shelbydude

    I am nearly breathless. All I can say is “be still my heart.”

    Like 1
  12. Eric

    What an absolute steal this old 544 is… you could add a 50% price premium if it were on the other coast. Out of style when it was new!! I have a 1957 (to the layman you can’t tell the difference) and it gets raves and waves wherever it’s shown. It’s nearly impossible to find a classic car this fine at this price point.

    Like 4
  13. Johnmloghry johnmloghry

    I reckon it must have been around 1963 when my friend and neighbor down the road a piece was lucky enough his dad bought him a Volvo of this style, probably late 50’s vintage. Well Ralph in short order blew the engine so his dad bought him a 58 Ford fairlane 500 2 door hardtop. His dad was a heavy equipment operator working out of the local Operating Engineers Union and made good money. He had bought an old Gold mining claim and built a nice house on it. After High School and 3 years in the army I came home and found Ralph was to upity to even talk to me anymore. Well life is like that sometimes.

    God Bless America

    Like 1
    • Frog

      Well John I wouldn’t call Ralph lucky or not. Pampered p*$0$ usually don’t and can’t stand on their own. He more than likely married a mother type to take care of him if he ever even left home.

      Like 3
  14. Lincoln BMember

    Is this car 6 or 12 volt?

    Like 1
    • WC Shook

      I would guess a 6 volt. Not for sure. Good question tho.

      Like 2
    • PairsNPaint

      Mine was 6 volt IIRC

      Like 1
  15. JoeR

    Tub that puppy, put steam roller tires on, add blown big block and reach for the sky when you hit the loud pedal in anger!!

    Like 1
  16. Citizen X.

    ls. :)

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds