Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.
The last PV544 was driven off the Volvo assembly line at its Lundy plant in Sweden by long-time Volvo test driver Nils Wickstrom. Gustaf Larson, the engineer who had co-founded Volvo with businessman Assar Gabrielsson in 1927, was present at the ceremony. An impressive total of 440,000 Volvo PV544s had been produced during its eight-year run, over half of which had been exported. The Volvo PV544 was first introduced in 1958 as an updated version of its popular predecessor, the PV444. Like the PV444 with its laminated windscreen, the PV544 featured an important safety innovation; it was the first car to be equipped with safety belts as standard fitting. But the PV544 was also a powerful automobile, boasting a 4-speed manual transmission option and power up to 95bhp. Shortly after its introduction, the 544 became one of the most successful rally cars, dominating rally racing into the 1960s. Yet, the PV544 was also affordably priced, and its first-year sales put Volvo over the 100,000-exported automobiles mark. By the end of its run, the PV was old-fashioned–looking—the company had made very few cosmetic changes in the two decades the car had been on the market—but it remained a good, solid automobile. "Above all," Road & Track magazine said in 1963, "the Volvo PV544 is such a practical car. Volvo's most attractive appeal lies in its solidity and its quality in every single respect. There is nothing slapdash or under-dimensioned about any part of the car and that is more than enough to compensate for any perceived lack of glamour."