With the PV444 Volvo broke into the major markets of Europe and the USA thereby establishing the marque outside its home country of Sweden. Full production did not get under way until 1947 and over the next 14 years the PV444 changed gradually, gaining more powerful engines, a larger glass area and a collection of other minor improvements. The 1958 PV544 Volvos were even better. They retained the basic shape of the PV444, but had new interiors and the option of even more power full engines. 44 articles give full coverage to the PV444, K, L, California, PV544, Sport & Special de Luxe with road and comparison tests, specifications, model introductions, performance data, owners report, touring and a buyers guide.
It was the PV444 and PV544 Volvos which really established the Swedish marque?s reputation outside its home country: earlier models had been sold in Scandinavian countries, but with the PV444, Volvo broke into the major markets of Europe and the USA. The PV444 was in fact announced in 1944, but a shortage of sheet steel meant that full production did not get under way until 1947. Such was the demand, however, that a thriving black market grew up around the trickle of earlier cars which came out from the Gothenberg factory. That demand should have surprised no-one. Volvo had deliberately made the PV444 smaller than any of their previous models, and had priced it to sell widely. And, even though the early 1940s American styling was anachronistic by the time the car was announced, the technical specification was remarkably advanced. Consider this: in 1944, the PV444 had integral construction, independent front suspension, coil springs and telescopic dampers all round, and a laminated windscreen as standard! Over the next 14 years, the PV444 changed gradually, gaining more powerful engines, a larger glass area, a larger boot and a collection of other minor improvements. Yet its excellent road-holding and performance remained competitive throughout and, when Volvo introduced it to the US market in 1956, they were able with some justification to describe it as a sports sedan. The 1958 PV544 Volvos which replaced the PV444s were even better. While retaining the basic shape of the older model, the car?s manufacturers had given the PV544 more modern styling touches, a completely new interior, and the option of even more powerful engines. Over the next few years, the PV544 made a name for itself in motor sport and, kept abreast of its rivals by regular power increases, it remained a strong seller until it was taken out of production in 1965. In 21 years of production, 440,000 PV444/544 models were made, both two-door saloons (there were never any four-doors) and Duett station wagons and vans. The cars remain enormously popular with enthusiasts - and deservedly so.