Volvo PV444

From Volvo press:  During the spring of 1944, prototypes of the PV444 were produced. The design of the body was strongly influenced by American trends and there was no question that the unconventional unitised body, which was made entirely of steel, was going to make an impression on the Swedish market.

The engine, a short-stroke 4-cylinder version, was extremely economical on petrol and developed 40 hp. It was known as the B4B and was the smallest engine Volvo had developed, as well as being its first overhead valve engine. The gearbox was a three-speed in which the top two gears were synchronised. This car was also equipped with a world first in safety-the laminated windscreen.

The PV444 was given its first showing at the large Volvo exhibition in Stockholm in September, where it aroused tremendous interest. The PV444 was also shown to the 150,000 visitors who came to 10-day exhibition.

The day before the exhibition opened, the price of the PV444 was announced-4,800 Swedish kronor. A highly attractive price- the same as the first Volvo car, the …V4, had cost 17 years earlier! During the exhibition and the days which followed 2,300 contracts were signed. Interest in the PV444 was so great that people were prepared to pay double and more for contracts with an early delivery date. Even so, it would be 1947 before deliveries of the PV444 began.

At the start of 1947, a test series of ten PV444s was built to check that the production process functioned. Some changes were made from the original prototypes. The tail-lights were modified; they had been round, but they now wrapped around the sides of the car. The indicators were incorporated in the central pillars and small 444 emblems were fitted on the sides of the bonnet. Series production began in February. By this time Volvo had already sold 10,181 of the 12,000 cars that had been planned.

The production rate was slow to begin with and it would take some time before the PV444 became a common sight on the roads.

The first 2,300 cars for which contracts had already been signed were sold at a loss. The price of 4,800 kronor from the Stockholm exhibition still applied, even though the actual price had risen to 8,000 kronor.

Gallery: Volvo PV444