Swedish Hot Rod: Upgraded 1959 Volvo 544

flared Fenders

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

It’s easy to spend more money on a restoration project than the car will ultimately be worth. Take this 1959 Volvo 544 for example. The owner dropped an engine from a newer Volvo into it. They then replaced just about everything else needed to go, stop, and turn. After that the exterior was resprayed and new rims went on. When it was all said and done, they had spent over $14,000! Normally these don’t go for big money, but that figure make the $8,189 asking price here on craigslist seems like a bargain!

B20 Engine

This Volvo came from the factory with a B16 engine. It wasn’t a bad engine, but the B20 now residing in its place features five main bearing instead of three and substantially more power. I’d rather have SU carbs instead of the single Weber, but some guys prefer this setup. The IPD header and 2″ exhaust probably really open things up and help this thing breath. Some people may think Volvos are boring, but after having owned a couple of cars (145, Singer) with this engine in hotted up form, I can confirm that they can be lots of fun!

1959 Volvo 544 Hot Rod

The flared fenders and alloy rims may not be my thing, but they do allow the use of modern wide radials. These old Volvos were known for their durability and I bet with the work done here, this one drives quite nicely. Eight grand is still a lot to spend on one of these, but it’s doubtful you could find one in rough shape and bring it up to this level for less. What do you think?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Tirefriar

    Very cool, flares and all. I’d problem go with steelies or something sporty from Volvo pars bin. Wish it was closer, I’m shopping for something to replace my 2001 E39 Touring…

    Like 0
  2. Moxman

    This is a pretty cool car. I remember, as a teenager, a friend of mine had one of these with a supercharger on it! It was a really fast four cylinder car. I don’t remember what kind of supercharger, but I vaguely recall that the setup used a single barrel carburetor from a six cylinder Ford??? He had trouble keeping clutches in it!

    Like 0
  3. Francisco

    Needs bumpers.

    Like 0
  4. Paul R


    Like 0
  5. Blindmarc

    That’s a sweet little car!

    Like 0
  6. HoA Howard AMember

    My 1st car ( that I drove on the street) was a 1958 Volvo 444. I bought it in 1971 for $50. It had a bad coil. Had a lot of fun with that car. Beat the heck out of it, never failed. This is the 1st year for the 544,( one piece front window, bigger back light and tail lights, and newer dash) and was a very popular car. It wasn’t the car that sold people on Volvo’s, that was the 144, but these and the 122’s gave their owners miles of trouble free usage. I like it without bumpers ( is that legal?) but could do without the flares.( and lazy door handle, very common) While the B-16 was fine, the B-20, I bet, would move this along pretty well. Doesn’t say what’s behind the B-20, I can only imagine the stock 4 speed ( sorely needs an O/D or 5 speed and a rear hatch of some kind) Nice find.

    Like 0
    • Ed Willaims

      Way “back in the day” my buddy bought a 544 from the original owner with very low mileage and it was like brand new! What a car that was! I recall it had the B18 engine because my friend had the Shop manual that came with the car. At that time (all through the 60’s) I was a free-lance Technical Illustrator with contracts with most of the technical publication companies in and around Los Angeles. I say this to show that I had a fine appreciation of beautiful technical illustrations and the Volvo B18 manual was a fine piece of work! I admired it so much that my friend gave it to me and I had it for several years.
      That 544 of his was an amazing car indeed. My friend let me drive it a lot and one thing that I remember was THE FASTER YOU DROVE IT THE BETTER IT WENT and at 98 mph it was as smooth as can be and really held the road!
      Remember that back then Volvo’s were hand assembled by small teams of trained workers ( about 5 or six per car) and were solely responsible for its quality. That’s why they were so solid!

      Like 0
  7. Van

    Needs a Turbo and better Volvo wheels.

    Like 0
  8. Snag

    Wish the 61 in my garage looked as good and had an 1800 or 2000 engine

    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