The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

1963 Volvo 544


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! 

We were also inspired by Randall Chapman's 1962 Volvo PV 544 from Hawaii.