The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

Randall Chapman's 1962 Volvo PV 544


Unorthodox: irregular: independent in behavior or thought, breaking with convention or tradition.

Even though the latest offerings from Volvo have become somewhat more mainstream, Volvo people in general have always seemed to march to a different drum and the vintage car folks even more so. We are a special breed. We love our cars. We like the fact that some see Volvo's as quirky or different. I remember when I had my heart set to build a PV hot rod some would ask "why a Volvo" I answered, "why not! Anyone can put together an old Ford or other domestic, and more power to them, I happen to like Swedish steel."

I found my 62 PV 544 in a "recycler" ad for $1,300.00. It was all there, but well worn and not a good candidate for a restoration, but perfect for what I needed. After trailering her home I began to contemplate just what I was going to do to her. I knew I wanted to make some mild body changes, paint her satin black, drop her down and red wheels and wide whitewalls were on the list.

So, I proceeded to iron out the dents, fill unnecessary holes and so on. I frenched the rear fenders for 39 Ford taillights, created an "egg crate" grill from a HomeDepot florescent light grate. For bumpers I purchased aftermarket ribbed aluminum bumpers for VW beetles and proceeded to narrow and flatten them to match the curvature of the PV. I replaced every rubber seal on the body.

I know I needed more power than the tired B18, so I located a 1991 Camaro 3.1 v6 with 15,000 miles on it along with the T-5 five speed transmission. I fits very well in the PV but I did need to enlarge the trans tunnel to fit. I dumped the factory fuel injection and installed an Edelbrock manifold, 390 cfm Holley carb, Mallory Unilite distributor, CompCams roller rockers and custom fenderwell headers.

To make her stop and handle more like a modern car, I swapped out the front cross member for a SRE unit complete with Tubular A-arms, rack and pinion steering, coilovers, and 11" disc brakes. Out back went a Currie 8 Ford rear with large drums and 3:50 gears. An aluminum driveshaft and 73 Torino master cylinder (in the original location) finishes her up.

I had a local guy do the interior in red vinyl with new headliner and carpet.

I goes without saying that there are hundreds of items and details that were involved in this project, far too numerous to mention. I took me two years to get to this place. There is more I want to do to my PV down the line, but I must say I have enjoyed every minute working on it so far. I love the way it drives and although the motor is mild it goes like stink.

Every trip in an old car is an adventure.

Some of the greatest rewards I have received come from the responses of nearly everyone who sees the car. I have heard everything from: "nice Volvo, I had one like that", "cool old Ford", to "what kind of car is that?" But I think the best compliment I ever received was from some teenage kid on his bike who stopped stone cold on the side of the street and starring he said, "sick car, man" I said "uh, uh, thank you". I did not know what "sick" meant at that time so I asked my 10 yr old daughter for clarification, (hey, I'm 53 give me a break). Anyway, I'm happy that my old Volvo can bring a smile, rekindle a memory and provoke a thumbs up from strangers. Who would have thought that a little PV could create the many opportunities it has for friendships and fun.

You know, maybe being unorthodox isn't so bad after all.