The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

Volvo PV

1950-1969 - PV, 544, 444, P210, Duett

In Swedish, the word for "car" is "personvagnar", literally "person wagon" or "passenger car". For Volvo, a company that at the time also made trucks and heavy farm equipment, it was logical to prefix their cars "PV".

There were many PVs in the first decades of Volvo's existence, but Volvo's story in the USA starts with a few specific ones: the PV444 and its PV544 evolution, and the P445 Duett and P210 Duett.

PV444: 1953-1958
PV544: 1958-1966

Officially, the first documented PV444s appear in import records from the 1956 model year, though here at IPD we've heard from customers of examples dating as far back as 1953. 

The PV444 began as an engineering project during WWII, but wartime materials shortages and supply chain disruptions meant assemblyline production wouldn't begin until 1947. Even today, half a century on, we'd recognize elements of the PV444's formula: inline four, a unibody chassis, laminated safety glass, and famous Volvo durability and ruggedness. 

The first PV444 models to make it to USA came with 1.4L B4 and B14 engines, with an update to the B16 in 1957. This was a small car, designed for post-war lean times and scarcity, and yet even on American highways bustling with V8 land yachts, the B16's 71hp was still enough to push the diminutive 2100lb PV444 to 73mph.

The last year of PV444 production overlapped with the first year of its re-engineered and re-styled (what we might today call "facelifted) replacement, the PV544, in 1958. With a curved, one-piece windshield instead of the old-fashioned 2-piece in the PV444, an available four-speed manual transmission, and seating for five, the PV544 both matched other contemporary imports yet stood apart with its durability and unique Swedish style.

Though the Volvo Amazon (also called the 120) was intended to replace the aging PV544, production of the popular PV544 continued until 1965, with the PV544 getting the same B18 engine and 12-volt electrical system as the Amazon in 1961.

P445 Duett: 1953-1960
P210 Duett: 1960-1966

In contrast with the compact passenger car nature of the PV444 & PV544, the Duett was intended to work, with the name "Duett" itself signifying a car that could haul goods during the week and carry passengers on the weekend.

The P445 (and its facelifted model, the P210) had similar styling, engines, and transmissions to the PV444 and PV544, but rode on a separate frame instead of a unibody.

Volvo supplied bare P445 engines and frames to coachbuilders for custom van, truck, and station wagon builds, but in 1953 began building bodies themselves: the Duett was born.

As with the PV cars, the P445's facelifted successor, the P210, received new styling and a curved instead of two-piece flat windshield, as well as the B18 engine and a 12-volt electrical system in 1961. These Duetts are fairly uncommon in the US, so if you have one, it's something special!

Volvo PV444

  • Started appearing in the USA around 1956 and was sold up until 1958
  • Two door "sedan"
  • 2 piece flat windshield
  • These were first equipped with B14A then B16A and B16B 4 cylinder gasoline engines. 
  • Three speed manual transmission

Volvo PV544

  • Replaced the 444 model
  • Sold in the USA from 1958 through 1966
  • Single piece curved windshield
  • 1958-1961 had B16 engine
  • 1962-1966 had B18 engine

Volvo Duett P445 & P210

  • 1953 through 1966
  • 3 door "estate" station wagon
  • P445 models had a two piece flat windshield until 1959
  • P210 models has a single piece curved windshield from 1960 onwards

Model information is based on the USA vehicle market. Other model variations may exist outside the USA.

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