1963 Volvo 544
Sunday, February 1, 2009
We picked up this 1964 544 with B18 engine from a local customer who owned it for over 30 years. 15 years ago he did a mild restoration on it including new upholstery, some, repairs to rust in the floor and an engine rebuild. 30,000 miles later the engine developed a pretty serious sounding knock, so the car was parked. It sat for 10 years and then the owner lost his storage for it and contacted ipd to see if we might be interested in it. We thought it would be a fun project to allow our staff to get some hands on experience with one of Volvos most popular vintage models. We through around some project ideas and decided that based on it’s condition, it wasn’t a good candidate for a complete restoration, but that it would be perfect for a Rat Rod project.
We towed it to the shop and did a little work on the brakes to free them up and got it so I t would roll. Next we drained the gas tank and flushed some clean gas through it and the fuel lines, pulled the carb float bowls off and cleaned them out, threw a couple of gallons of fresh gas in it and it started up in just a few minutes! It does have a pretty obnoxious knock at anything above idle, but we are convinced it is a bad fiber timing gear as these engines are known for that. Plus it drove 55 mph no problem, if it was a rod knock, that would have finished off the motor! We’ll tear into it and find out for sure.
The body has some pretty seriously rust in the floors and driver side kick panel area. We’ll cut those out and weld in some sheet metal and also make some POR 15 patches in areas that aren’t so bad. We also found quite a bit of bondo in the back of the car, just below where the trunk latches. The charging system seems to be working, but a few of the electrical circuits are not functioning, so we’ll dig into that and see what’s up. We’ll also pull the brake system apart and get it back up to safe operating condition. Suspension bushings, ball joints and tie rods will be replaced and we’ll probably throw a sway bar on there too. For the body we plan to get it “relatively” straight and then shoot it with either a matte gray or matte black finish. Not sure what we’re going to do for wheels and tires yet. Might go with stock wheels, painted red and white sidewalls or we may put a set of our Mini Lite wheel on it. We’ll also lower it an inch or two and install some better shocks on it.
Stay tuned as we’ll post up pics as the project progresses and we are planning to show it at our annual open house/garage sale event here at ipd May 2009.
We have to give some credit for the idea to Norm Kranz, a long time ipd customer who has built several 544’s in a similar fashion and inspired many others to do the same! Click here to read more about Norm and his experience.
We were also inspired by this customer from Hawaii: Click here to read more about Randalls 544.
Friday, March 6, 2009 - MIKE
I was lucky in 2007 to buy a 1963 544 Quick model from a person who found it in Sweden and had it shipped to me in Halifax Nova Scotia.It was a one owner who kept it in original condition with no rust, original paint ( white code 79 ), copius records of everything done to it during its life. These records are hand written in Danish and Swedish, but I was lucky to have the key points translated for me.It has 169,000 kms on it and it purrs along with its 3 speed standard tranny...the Quik model was the least costly model at that time and it is very plain, but very handsome. It came with the original bill of sale and other supporting docs., but the most interesting thing about this car is that the first ownerkept his diary of where he drove it and how he maintained it...its a life story of the man and his special car. He was an illustrator and as a professional person, he was able to draw shematics of the wiring he has done to make sure maitainance could be followed up later. The car has only 90 HP due to the single Zenith carb, but it gets up to 70 MPH without any effort. I will be having the interior seat upholstery redone because the springs are weak in the driver's seat. This car surprises many people who can't believe it has survived in such shape...the owner deserved all the credit and I can count on this car more many years to come. I drive it ocassionally, garage it , and store it for the winter. I thought this info might be of interest to you. I also own a 2000 C70 coupe. Thanks for being there for us Volvo lovers. Mike
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - SCOTT HART
Hi Mike, That's a great story! We'd love to see some pics of of you and your 544 sitting next to your C70.
Sunday, May 3, 2009 - KAROLE
Back in 1963 my dad bought a 1963 volvo. I was born in 1968 and grow up with this car that my dad loved, he taught me how to drive it when I was 15!!! my dad was restoring the car in 2003, in the the middle of doing this he passed away. my wonderful father gave me this car that he loved so much. now I am taking it out if the garage to finish what he started, but I dont know what I am doing and can't have anyone around here that knows anything about this car. I need help!!! if you can gave me any imput on this it would help. its a 1963 volvo b18 544!!! thank you, karole
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - SCOTT HART
Hi Karole, Send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll follow up with you to see if we might have any customers in your area that might be able to give you some help. We can also put you in touch with the nearest chapter of the Volvo Club of America and Volvo Sports America as they are excellent resources. WWW.VCOA.ORG & WWW.VSA.ORG
Friday, May 8, 2009 - D. MILLS
I have a door window, radiator and trunk handle for a 544. If you need them e-mail me @ email@example.com.
Monday, May 11, 2009 - DAVID WENDEL
Boy's!! you have my dream progect for a drag racer there. 100% jealous
Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - BILL WALL
I am restoring/retro a 1960 544 (Arizona car since shipped from Sweden new) The rear-end is an 8" ford narrowed and Mustang II disc brakes. . Power is B-20 bored to B-21 and all IPD inside stuff. Body work and most of paintwork completed with ALL original sheetmetal and less than 1 quart of body filler for a skim coat! Need info on best disc brake set-up for front. firstname.lastname@example.org prescott az
Thursday, June 25, 2009 - LARRY STEINROCK
bought 64 544 .was not stared in 17 yrs, took head off ,pounded on top of cyl'w/ 2x4 and slegde hammer till sumpt'in moved. put it all back and runs like a top! this car was originally had from sweden when owner was stationed in Ger. good luck.
Monday, August 10, 2009 - MIKE ZENSKI
i bought a 1964 pv544 that has been sitting in the desert for 9 years.there is not much rust but i have a big problem it has no dash or dash plate/pad the entire metal section is gone does anyone know where i could get one or would ipd have one to sell?
Friday, September 11, 2009 - JIM KOGER
At the first mention of rod knock I thought " I bet it is the timing gear!" The first B-18 engine I rebuilt was because I thought also it was a rod too. After I had the block bored for the new pistons I was going to replace the camshaft and that is when I discovered that the real problem in that engine was the timing gear. My 544 has been sitting for a while now and I must restore it as it was a sweet ride. This '64 has rust in the floor panels and elsewhere and a couple of fixable dents from an accident. My neighbor tells me that the SCCA has accepted the 544 for historic racing.
Monday, September 28, 2009 - ANDREW
Hey to Mike. I also live in Halifax, hope to see the 544 around. I'm pretty sure i have seen you. I met a person in a c70 about two weeks ago. You mentioned a vintage white Volvo. I have a shabby (for the moment) 90s 245. Red and primer. Anyhow, keep on rollin.
Saturday, December 5, 2009 - DAVE JOHNSON
That knock reminds me of the '75 164 that I bought cheap because it knocked. That indeed turned out to be the fiber timing gear. It sounded exactly like a rod knock (I've heard a few). Maybe this will save somebody some time.
Saturday, May 15, 2010 - ALFREDO
Does anyone know what kind of automatic transmission will fit in a volvo 544 and if a B20 will bolt up to the original transmission
Friday, May 21, 2010 - DAVID
I have a basket case engine B16 out of a 59 544 tranny to I think if anyone has an interest. I am in central Illinois