An Early Volvo: ’58 Volvo 444
People who aren’t familiar with Volvo history joke about the styling –or lack of – of the 444/544 Volvo. It looks too much like a 3/4 size ’40 Ford they say. Well, they don’t know the Swedes. The Swedes are inspired by things around them. If you look at today’s Volvos, they are quite elegant, spare and dare I say, natural looking. Just like the Swedish countryside. I guess back in the ’50s they were influenced by American styling. But that was what they did back then. The 1st Volvo, the Jakob, looked like any other car from the period. Later, Volvo was inspired by the spacey American Kaiser when they created a prototype V-8 car called the Phillip (how did I remember that name) in the 50s. That doesn’t make them bad at making cars. In fact, they may have borrowed the styling but they probably produced a better car than the one they emulated. Today, we are talking about the 444. It was the first Volvo in almost 20 years to come with a 4-cylinder engine. By the 1957 model year, engine displacement was increased to 1.6 L and both single downdraft- B16A and twin side-draught-carburetor B16B versions were offered. Performance, particularly with the twin carburetor configuration, was brisk. The combination of performance and durability won over many two-seat sports car drivers, allowing them a sporty drive while carting the family around to soccer. What we have here today is an original, low-mileage 444. It sort of looks the same as the more abundant 544 but there are details that set them apart. The 444 has smaller tail lights and an all metal dash. It looks kind of cool. The interior is a tri-tone of red/black/white vinyl. The front seats of today’s offering look too good to be original but the rear seats do. The seller says it has only 44,000 miles. That is in survivor category. The bumpers seem to have had a challenging life but that is small potatoes to fix. These are fun cars to drive and this one could be an easy fix. Consider it seriously if you might like to do rallies and tours. They are very capable cars and look great with like giant driving lights hanging on the front bumper. Click here to go to the eBy auction.