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1953 Volvo PV444
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Rick
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Joined: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 21512
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:04 pm    Post subject: 1953 Volvo PV444 Reply with quote

Hi all,

Anyone who's been around here for a while, may well remember that Volvos have often graced the garage here at OCC HQ. This can only be down to dad having a 121 Amazon when I was a nipper, followed by a 144S. Once I'd passed my test in 1987, it wasn't long before my first Amazon was purchased, and several more in varying conditions were to follow.

Despite the 120s, my favourite old Volvo until now had been the pale blue PV544 that I ran for a while, and now resides with another forum-er (shown below).



It drove superbly, and didn't feel like a car from 1964.

Since the 544's departure I've kept a weather eye open for another PV, which is what led to me securing the latest example - a 1953 PV444.



At first I thought it was the 444 that had belonged to the current owner of my old 544, as he too had owned an earlier car, but despite being the same colour, wasn't the same example. However, a one-time poster on the forum - whom I've dropped a line to - does appear to have been an old owner of it, so I await a reply with interest.

Today was it's first proper run down the road. The previous owner bought it to do classic car road rallies and runs, and apparently the venerable Volvo proved to be well up to the job. It hadn't been out since August 2018, and with sitting around on a driveway for the last few years, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.



Being an early 444, it differs in many ways when compared to the younger, blue, 544. The 544 was on radial tyres and had the 1800cc B18 Volvo engine, with a single Stromberg carb. It went and handled very well, and I could see why they are so popular in historic rallies. It also had the one-piece front and rear screens.



By comparison, the 444 is on crossplies, and still has its fairly rare B14 1400cc engine. Normally the B14 was coupled to a three-speed box, but this one's been upgraded with a four-speeder. With its split front and rear screens, and very different interior, the lineage is clear but is a very different car to drive (a switch to radials would improve it I'm sure, but I quite like its slightly antiquated road manners so I'll leave the tyres alone for now).

Today's road test went well enough, there are jobs to do of the minor-fettling variety, but basically it seems right. Plus being a really hot day, I thought it'd be a good test of its cooling system and manners in traffic, as well as on flowing A roads.



It's early days, but it definitely seems to be pretty well sorted.

Cosmetically it's lacking somewhat, especially in the paint department, but as minty-perfect over-glossy cars aren't my thing, I'll be leaving the paintwork well alone for the foreseeable. It's had a re-spray at some point many years ago (in the 1960s so the story goes), and has now weathered-in to an agreeably, semi-matt, sheen.

Now I just want to put some miles on it and see how things shape up.

RJ
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Various 1920s-1960s - Austin, Morris, Commer, Dodge etc.
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badhuis



Joined: 20 Aug 2008
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Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking very nice, seems to be a nice example.
These PV444/544 were still on the road in fairly big numbers in the 70s (Netherlands) as I remember them well. But then over here Volvo always was and is a classic car favorite.
Love the details on the early cars (as always), the very tiny rear lamps for example.
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poodge



Joined: 23 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to see an early PV.If I'm honest,I do actually prefer the later ones myself,but the early ones do have a charm of their own.
It's in remarkable condition,the previous owner must have looked after it very well.Enjoy your new toy,Rick Very Happy
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norustplease



Joined: 11 Apr 2011
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Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just spotted this.
Welcome back to ancient Volvo land.
This was a lucky find, albeit recently there have been more 444's about on the UK market than 544 models. You actually have the proper radiator grille for the year, mine had a later 544 style grille.
I must admit, I preferred the dash in the 444 to that in the 544, more in keeping with the forties styling.
The only thing that I didn't like were the vacuum wipers which were the order of the day in mine, fortunately never used in anger.
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Rick
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

norustplease wrote:
Just spotted this.
Welcome back to ancient Volvo land.
This was a lucky find, albeit recently there have been more 444's about on the UK market than 544 models. You actually have the proper radiator grille for the year, mine had a later 544 style grille.
I must admit, I preferred the dash in the 444 to that in the 544, more in keeping with the forties styling.
The only thing that I didn't like were the vacuum wipers which were the order of the day in mine, fortunately never used in anger.


I wonder if all the 544s have been hoovered up by the rally boys and girls?

That's interesting re the wipers, mine has electric wipers (that self-park too!!), in fact they go like the clappers.

RJ
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norustplease



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably updated when they put in the 4 speed gearbox.
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Rick
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It came with a (I think) period exterior screen visor, comprising an aluminium frame with red perspex main sections. I can't say that I particularly like visors on cars, but it's a neat accessory to have with it.

RJ
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norustplease



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is probably a 444D or E, since it doesn't have the roof mounted indicators, which were outlawed in 1953, but does have a heater. It may be an S spec with the trim strips on the front wings. Does it have twin sunvisors? Mine had a plate engraved with the original owner's name engraved upon it, on the rear of one of the visors.
The red was a fairly common colour and may well be original.
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1990 Citroen 2CV
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Rick
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It has indicators mounted at the top of both B pillars, I'm not familiar with the 444 varieties as yet so welcome any input on that. Yes it has two interior sun visors, one has an old Swedish tax disc clipped to it (I'll sort out a photo).

There's also a sticker ("H") alongside the tax disc, something to do with the car being LHD? It looks like a recent addition. I'm also curious as to what the "K" sticker on the bootlid is all about??

I can see signs of white/cream paint where the finish has cracked in places under the bonnet, so suspect that a colour change has taken place. I'm told it was repainted in the 1960s, like you say in a period-correct red/maroon.

RJ
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norustplease



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Up until '53, the 444 had indicators on a sort of pylon on the roof, (called cuckoo lights for some reason)yours has the more normal lights on each corner and on the B pillar.
The H sticker dates from around 1966 and was originally a reminder that Sweden was changing from driving on the left, as per the UK, to driving on the right. You can still buy them from places like Brookhouse.
Oddly, Swedish cars were LHD even though they were driven on the left, whereas commercials could be either. The logic was that on a road system where surfaces were generally gravel surfaced with somewhat eroded margins, the driver was better off on the same side of the car as the road edge.
I am not sure about the K sticker, have you a larger image?
Electric wipers were an addition that came alongside the introduction of the B16 engine and the four speed gearbox in 1957/58. Are you sure that it isnt a B16 under the bonnet? You haven't a 'proper' B16 car however, as this would have a single larger rear window like the 544.
It gets quite complex trying to fathom models by means of specification, I have the impression that new specs were trickled in as stores supplies dwindled, so you may get 'hybrid' cars as the models change.
Volvo have an archive department which will produce a sheet which tells you exactly when and where your car was made, and when it was sent out to the dealer network. My guess would be that it is an S spec 444E, which has had an upgrade at some time as regards wipers, 4 speed box, etc.
Do you know when it was imported?
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1964 Volvo PV544
1986 Renault 4
1990 Citroen 2CV
Boring Fiat 500X
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Rick
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting stuff, thanks, I'll have another look at the engine. It shows 1410cc on the logbook, but it could have been swapped I suppose. Will it be in raised letters on the side of the block somewhere?

This is the only picture I have of the K sticker on the back



I don't know precisely when it was imported, I've not yet heard back from its former owner, the gent who posted just the once in your original 444 thread way back.

RJ
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norustplease



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Main obvious difference is that of oil filters. The B4B has a large cylindrical remote filter housing mounted up by the water pump on the drivers side of the car.
The B16 has a more usual layout, with the filter housing on the opposite side of the block below the manifoids.
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1964 Volvo PV544
1986 Renault 4
1990 Citroen 2CV
Boring Fiat 500X
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Rick
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I looked up the chassis # with a table on the volvotips website (I think), and it comes up as a 544E. The engine is labelled up as the B4B - so is this the predecessor to the B14A spec unit?. It's on 6V with the Carter (USA) carb setup.

Added: I've answered my own question: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_B4B_engine

RJ
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norustplease



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dont know if you inherited any manuals or an owners handbook with your car, but if not, I still have a series of .pdf impressions of the various Volvo documents, plus an owners handbook in English (probably aimed at the US market).
If you are interested, I will load them onto DropBox and send you a link.
The Carter carb is a bit of a difficult one, I found, and I had to look for spares in the US, where it was used on various vehicles, including Jeeps.
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1964 Volvo PV544
1986 Renault 4
1990 Citroen 2CV
Boring Fiat 500X
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Rick
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I'd be interested in any manuals or handbook scans please, I have its original '53 handbook but being in Swedish is of limited use!! Would it be easier to email me directly (I've not used dropbox)?

thanks, RJ
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