- "Humpback Volvo" – Sweden beauty with cracks buttocks
- Presentation in the war year 1944
- The vehicle was popularly called "Humpback Volvo"
- Test report speaks of "American characteristics"
- The second series came on the market in 1958
- "A car as durable as crispbread"
"Humpback Volvo" – Sweden beauty with cracks buttocks
Head of Travel
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The legendary humpback Volvo was considered a dream car for young couples after the war …
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… but it was also suitable for families, as this advertising photo from 1953 shows.
Source: PA / imagestate / HIP
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The series, which was developed from 1942, was officially called PV 444. The type designation stood for "Personvagn", for four-seater and for the presentation year 1944. While at that time…wherever the Second World War was raging in Europe, the neutral Swedes were already building a car for the post-war period.
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On this poster from the 1940s, Volvo praises the 444 as the "Svensk Skonhet" on, as a Swedish beauty …
Source: PA / IBL Sweden
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… but it was popularly nicknamed thanks to its characteristic rump "Humpback Volvo" path. The first models had a split front and a split …rear window.
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At first, the two-door model was only available in black. From 1949 the "Humpback Volvo" then also available in dove gray, later pearl gray, blue and dark red were added. For export, e…s another variant in sea green.
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In 1958, Volvo presented the 544 series. It still had the typical hump, but the front and rear windows were no longer divided. In addition, the limousine now offered space for…r five people.
Source: PA / dpa / IBL Sweden
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One of the details inside the car was a flower vase screwed to the dashboard that was rumored to have been built in to help buyers know about the long delivery times… consoling away: The first customers had to spend more than two years on their orders "Humpback Volvo" wait.
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The trunk that housed the spare wheel wasn’t too spacious.
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the "Humpback Volvo" was among the first cars in the world to be fitted with a seat belt. In addition, it was made of thick sheet metal, which is why it was considered robust and safe…r. The magazine "Classic car market" described him like this: "A car as durable as crispbread."
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The humpback Volvo also made a career as a racing car – as here in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally.
Source: PA / CTK / Jiri Krulis
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Exceptionally without a hump – the station wagon version is called "duet" and came on the market in 1953.
Source: PA / dpa
70 years ago, in the middle of the war, the Swedes developed a post-war vehicle: the "humpback Volvo" PV 444. It laid the foundation for Volvo’s good reputation as a builder of robust, safe cars.
A.hen the Second World War raged in Europe, the continent’s car factories were in a state of emergency: civilian car production had collapsed, and military vehicles rolled off the assembly line everywhere. Only not in Sweden. The kingdom had remained neutral, there you had the leisure to think about the time after the war.
Because it was clear that after the end of the hostilities there would be a great need for civilian cars again in Europe at some point. And so the engineers at Volvo began working on a completely new post-war vehicle 70 years ago, in the middle of the war year 1942.
Presentation in the war year 1944
At the industrial exhibition in Stockholm, the rounded vehicle was then known as the PV 444 – that stood for "Personvagn", Four-seater and the year 1944 – presented to the public for the first time. And she was thrilled. Although it was not at all clear at the time when the new Volvo would be delivered, 2300 Swedes signed a purchase agreement at the exhibition stand.
In the end, they had to wait for their new car for more than two years, until the end of 1946. This was due to the material shortages after the war: Above all, there was a lack of body panels and tires. It was not until February 1947 that large-scale production started at the Lungby plant.
The vehicle was popularly called "Humpback Volvo"
Although the advertisement shows the PV 444 as a "Swedish beauty" praised, the baroque curved car soon had a less charming new nickname in the vernacular thanks to its characteristic rear end: Humpback Volvo. At first, the two-door model was only available in black. The humpback Volvo was only available in dove gray in 1949, later also in pearl gray, blue and dark red. There was also a sea green version for export.
Under the hood of the humpback Volvo was solid workmanship. The 45 horsepower allowed a top speed of 119 kilometers per hour.
Test report speaks of "American characteristics"
One of the first reviews appeared in the English magazine "The engine", which was full of praise: "Admittedly designed as a small car with American characteristics, the Volvo is an extraordinarily remarkable example of how modern design methods can be reconciled with requirements as diverse as speed and low fuel consumption, convenience and low manufacturing price."
The American look of the new Volvo was no accident, the visual proximity to the Pontiac, which was current at the time, was unmistakable. This was mainly due to the fact that when the Volvo designers took a look at the hustle and bustle of the competition in the 1940s, they could only look around in the USA, where the world war had not paralyzed the production of civilian vehicles.
The second series came on the market in 1958
In addition, even back then, Volvo was in love with the idea of exporting the new product to the United States. The plan worked, albeit years later: 20 percent of Volvo production in 1960 was sold in North America, for example.
The exterior of the PV 444 was almost unchanged for years. It was not until 1954 that the split rear window was replaced by a one-piece one, and the hump was also given a larger windshield. In 1958, Volvo presented the successor series 544. It didn’t look so new: the windshield was now one-piece, the speedometer was now horizontal, and the vehicle was now approved for five people instead of four. There was also a differently designed grille.
Otherwise, the new 544 looked like the old humpback Volvo. Nevertheless, it sold brilliantly: by 1965 almost 244,000 copies of the 544 rolled off the assembly line, around 44,000 more than the 444.
"A car as durable as crispbread"
The humpbacked family carriage laid the foundation for the good reputation that Volvo enjoys internationally to this day: with its thick sheet metal and laminated glass windshield, the humpbacked Volvo has always been considered a safe car that you shouldn’t want to collide with – "a car as durable as crispbread", praised the magazine "Classic car market".
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