Junkyard Find: 1964 Volvo PV544 Sport

junkyard find 1964 volvo pv544 sport

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 UWrenchIt 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.

For links to 2,100+ additional Junkyard Finds, be sure to visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

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  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.