The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

Norm Kranz's 1964 Volvo PV 544


My car habit has been around since my first memories. I've had all kinds of cars from Austin Minis to Volvos.

My first introduction to Volvos was in 1973 when I met two brothers, Wayne and Jeff Christie. Wayne was a Service Manager at the Volvo Canada head office and Jeff was an Apprentice Mechanic at the local Volvo dealer in Oshawa. Jeff had a 65 PV544 and Wayne had a company car at the time. Jeff's car had 14 inch wheels with shortened springs, Koni shocks, double front sway bar and an Adco rear sway bar. The car had a B20 with 4.88 : 1 rear axle ratio. That car was in my life for good. We did everything in that car from marshalling in local and national rallies to slalom racing and just trying to beat it to death. It always kept us going (with some small repairs here and there).

I still had not bought a Volvo but was messing around with street rods and muscle cars. In 1988 I bought a 242GT and a 144 automatic as a winter car. The GT was a ton of fun and I changed the wheels and put in a rally gauge cluster. I had that car for 3 years. The 144 was a money maker. I bought it for $400.00 and it got hit by someone at least twice a winter and I always opted for a cash settlement outside the insurance. I had the car for 3 winters and was $800.00 to the good after the purchase price.

After these two I purchased a 71 142s from a friend that he had a body shop install a 164 roof with the factory sunroof in it. Cool idea we thought. I was involved with a local motorsports club at the time and we had started renting a go-kart track to do some lapping. The track was 1.2 miles long with 6 corners and a wicked left hand hairpin. This started the rework of the 140. It ended up with IPD coil springs, Bilstein shocks, custom 1-1/4 full adjustable front sway bar, 7/8 full adjustable rear sway bar, rebuilt B20 with IPD oil pump, street performance cam/lifters/double valve spring, reworked E head, race prepped SU carbs, M41 overdrive trans and a posi grip diff. I put 164 vented rotors on it and had tons of brakes.

Castrol oil took interest and sponsored a series through the Canadian Sports Car Association Solo 1 in 81 and the series is still running today (with different sponsorship). In 1982 we entered the car in all 7 events and won all 7. This car was heavy and lacked some power but it handled better that the competition and it would go deeper and stop better into any corner than the others could. It was a ton of fun and made people look up and watch the brick pull off another win no matter what they came out with in class.

Divorce forced the sale and after that I got back into the street rod stuff again. I built a 31 Ford Tudor sedan, 56 Chevy PU and have a 40 Lasalle coupe to work on and a 66 T-bird (Cathies car when I get around to it).

I've always been in touch with all the guys I grew up with and Jeff, who never did sell the 544, had mentioned that after 15 years in the back of the garage he was going to redo the car and get it on the road for summer of 2007. Wayne also had a 123GT that will be ready this April 2008 not to mention a bunch of others that are resurrecting the Volvo fever. I couldn't stand it and on Dec 22, 2007 I drove to Ohio to pick up a 64 PV544 that was bought on eBay. By July 22, 2007 the car was on the road with the following work done:

  • Complete front suspension rebuild
  • Mustang II cut front coils
  • IPD poly bushings
  • Bilstein HD shocks
  • IPD sway bar
  • 122 front disc brake conversion with stainless steel braided hoses & rebuilt master cylinder
  • Complete rear end rebuild
  • Stainless steel braided brake hoses
  • IPD poly bushings
  • IPD sway bar
  • Bilstein HD shocks
  • Emergency cables
  • Shortened coils
  • Trailing arms were boxed in for strength.
  • B18 engine and M40 transmission were cleaned up and re-gasketed
  • Drive shaft received all new U joints, hanger bearing and cushions
  • The SU carbs were given a complete rebuild and then the engine was tuned
  • Delco alternator conversion
  • Rebuilt fuse box
  • 4-2-1 ceramic header
  • 2-1/4 exhaust with a stainless steel baffle (no muffler) that turns out in front of the right rear wheel
  • The under seat cross members were modified so that a set of 122 seats could be installed.
  • Installed a 142e tach on the dash with full instruments under the dash

There's a ton of other small stuff done as well. The car has its original patina on the outside finish as well as the interior (not too high on the list). The entire under carriage was scraped, sanded and painted.

The car will receive 9 Ford 11 x 2-1/2 rear brakes and axles and an upgraded B20 in the future. Also some custom offset GM rally wheels.

Cathie and I bought a 71 1800E this Dec out of California and I'm in the process of doing the same to it. (as your Customer Service Representative Sin can attest to by the orders coming to IPD)!

Thanks much

Norm Kranz