When I’m searching car graveyards for interesting examples of automotive history, discarded rear-wheel-drive Volvos from the Swedish Brick era (roughly 1967 through 1998) have been easy enough to find over the last decade. Yes, 140s, 200s, 700s, 900s— I’ve been able to document each type. Even the pre-brick Amazon isn’t so hard to find in the big American U–Wrench–It yards. But the Amazon’s ancestor, the PV444/544, that’s a rare Junkyard Find, even though Americans could buy the PV544 through 1966.
In 2016, I found this gutted basket-case of a PV544 at a Denver yard back when I was grabbing car-parts-boombox bits at the All You Can Carry Sale. There wasn’t much left of it, though I yanked some door-latch hardware for a friend’s LZ9-swapped PV544 race car and some switches for future junkyard boomboxes. At the time, this car just seemed too wretched and stripped to be worth photographing for this series, so I let it go to The Crusher without getting more than a couple of quick snaps. Then, last year, I found and documented a reasonably complete 1959 PV544 Sport.
That had been it for my junkyard PV544 documentation efforts (though I have managed to shoot a junked 1930s PV802… in the woods of northern Sweden), so when I found this ’64 PV544 Sport in a Silicon Valley boneyard in June, I decided to break out my camera despite the lack of an engine.
That engine would have been the hot-rod B18, a pushrod four-banger that first appeared in 1961. In 1964, the B18 made 90 optimistic gross horses. The early 140s also got B18s, prior to the advent of the bored-out B20.
The interior was mostly gone as well, suggesting either a discarded parts car or a junkyard inmate picked clean by voracious parts shoppers. The San Francisco Bay Area is a real hotbed of old-Volvo activity, so the word about this car would have spread quickly once it showed up on the radar.
I think all PV544s sold in the United States were the once-exclusive Sport models by the middle 1960s, but further research may be needed.
The fenders, doors, and glass looked to be worth rescuing, and maybe someone has done so by now.
So classy, so romantic! Note that the 544s in these ads are driving on the left, this being prior to Högertrafikomläggningen.
The PV444 was designed while World War II was still underway, and it had a modern-for-the-time overhead-valve engine and unibody construction.
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