They’re rare, rugged and em­i­nently us­able, so why aren’t we im­port­ing PVs in droves?

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling - Theo Ford- Sagers

Ever seen a right-hand drive PV544? Prob­a­bly not. Volvo never orig­i­nally sold its PV mod­els in the UK and only ever produced the car in left-hand drive for­mat, so there’s no point look­ing for right-hand drive ver­sions in coun­tries such as South Africa or Aus­tralia – usu­ally good for sourc­ing RHD clas­sics over­seas.

A few can be found in to­day’s clas­si­fieds in the USA, where Volvo sold twin-carb vari­ants only, while of­fer­ing a choice of sin­gle- or twin­carb cars in Europe. Nev­er­the­less, the PV’s pop­u­lar­ity State­side was not spec­tac­u­lar, its styling be­ing more redo­lent of the wartime 1940s than glitzy, big-finned 1960s Amer­ica, and the hardy four-pot en­gines failed to sat­isfy our cousins’ predilec­tion for throat­ier V8s. In fact, both the PV544 and its pre­de­ces­sor the PV444 have be­come rare cu­riosi­ties the world over, de­spite 440,000 ex­am­ples be­ing made dur­ing an 18-year pro­duc­tion run. Sur­vivors are of­ten those with the fa­mously durable five-bear­ing 1.8-litre B18 engine (post-1962), sought out for use at his­toric mo­tor­sport events and treated to vary­ing de­grees of mod­i­fi­ca­tion ac­cord­ing to the sport and the coun­try. Ex­pect some wellused ex­am­ples to have been ‘played with’ by very keen en­thu­si­asts.

Whether you’re after a project car, a trailer queen or a sport­ing vet­eran, your best bet is to keep an eye on the clas­si­fieds in the car’s home mar­ket of Swe­den. So says Guy Brace, pro­pri­etor of Volvo spe­cial­ist Clas­sic Swede (clas­sic­, 07824 887160). Bring­ing them into the UK is not a com­mon oc­cur­rence sim­ply due to low de­mand, says Guy, ‘ but you can buy them in pretty good shape over there, and it’s where most of the PV544s in the UK have come from.’ By the way, if you’re think­ing of driv­ing one home, Stockholm is 1200 miles from Lon­don by road.

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