Volvo PV444 – the “little Volvo” turns 70
When the PV444 was unveiled in September 1944, work to develop the model had only been going on for a couple of years. Around 40 designers were working on developing the new car.
A full scale wooden model was built and painted black, with silver paint denoting where there were meant to be windows. It was completed in March 1944 and shown to Volvo’s founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson. After having looked at the car for a short time, both gentlemen took a decision that would affect Volvo’s entire future as a car manufacturer – the car would be built.
The Volvo PV444 was the start and the symbol for the new Volvo after the Second World War, and marked the start of its export drive to the USA. 1 September will mark the 70th anniversary of its première in royal presence.
On 1 September 1944 an exhibition opened that would become very important for the development of Volvo. The location was the newly built Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm.
Out in the world the Second World War was still going on. But Volvo was looking ahead to the peace that would come shortly. The exhibition was to show what the then 18 year old company had done previously, what they were producing at the time, and what the public could expect when peace came.
The exhibition covered the entire Volvo Group and visitors got to see everything from a tank to hole grinding machines – and two new Volvo cars: The PV60 and the PV444. They were called “Volvo’s doves of peace” in Volvo’s customer magazine, Ratten.
The PV60 was a pre-war design meant to have premièred in 1940, but when the Second World War broke out the plans were scrapped because production of civilian cars by Volvo practically ceased.
The big star at the exhibition at the Royal Tennis Hall was, without a doubt, the “little Volvo”, the PV444. Visitors stood on several levels to catch a glimpse of the car. What they got to see was a prototype that could not even run.
Source: Volvo Cars.