The PV444 of 1947 was Volvo's first unibody car - and the first Volvo in almost 20 years to be powered by a four-cylinder engine, originally a 40bhp 1.4 litre unit. By 1957 engine displacement had increased to 1.6 litres, while the following year marked the arrival of the PV544. The newcomer boasted a curved one-piece windscreen and four-speed manual gearbox but was otherwise an obvious evolution of its predecessor. The B16-powered PV544 was a brisk performer. However, in 1962 the model received the B18 engine which had been developed for Volvo's P1800 sports car and 12-volt electrics. In PV544 Sport guise, the B18 unit had twin carburettors and developed 90bhp, giving this upright saloon sportscar-like performance which, when coupled with its legendary toughness and Volvo's sophisticated suspension - independent at the front and a well-located coil-sprung live axle at the rear - made for a formidable rally performer. PV544 production finished in 1965 overlapping with its `Amazon' replacement.
The vendor says: "I understand this to be a known car and part of a team of three that were extensively restored and rally prepared in Switzerland during the late 1980s. It is in very good overall condition and drives very well. Though, there is an orange-sized dent to the driver's wing where the Volvo has been pushed by hand. The body appear to be rust free. The PV544 has taken part in the following rallies: 1992 Venetie Van Het Noorden; 1993 Grand Atlas Rally Paris Marathon; 1994 Monte Carlo Challenge and the 1995 Liege-Sofia-Liege". The Volvo's impressive specification reportedly includes: engine bored to circa 1990cc and fitted with M-Sport cylinder head, racing camshaft, big diameter headers and twin Weber 45DCOE carburettors (reputedly giving around 140bhp); reinforced suspension with additional stabilisers and stronger / adjustable Koni shock absorbers; Girling disc brakes and adjustable handbrake, high-output alternator; Momo steering wheel; Recaro front seats with four-point harnesses; rollcage with side bars; body lightened where possible; dashboard-mounted `press in' fuses; plexi rear and side windows; 100-litre fuel tank; rear seat replaced by aluminium storage box and additional reversing light, roof-mounted spot light and wide-beam driving lights. UK road registered as `AAS 954', this imposing PV544 is offered for sale with MOT certificate valid until October 2011.