October 20, 2006

Today In Automotive History

1965 : End of an era at Volvo

The Volvo PV544 was first introduced in 1958 as an updated version of its popular predecessor, the PV444. Like the PV444 with its laminated windscreen, the PV544 featured an important safety innovation--it was the first car to be equipped with safety belts as standard fitting. But the PV544 was also a powerful automobile, boasting a 4-speed manual transmission option and power up to 95bhp. Shortly after its introduction, the 544 became one of the most successful rally cars, dominating rally racing into the 1960s. Yet, the PV544 was also affordably priced, and its first-year sales put Volvo over the 100,000-exported automobiles mark. The PV544 was successfully reintroduced every year until 1965, when it was decided by Volvo that production of the model would cease. On this day in 1965, the last 544 was driven off the Volvo assembly line at its Lundy plant in Sweden by longtime Volvo test driver Nils Wickstrom. Gustaf Larson, the engineer who had co-founded Volvo with businessman Assar Gabrielsson in 1927, was present at the ceremony. An impressive total of 440,000 Volvo PV544s had been produced during its eight-year run, over half of which had been exported.

Posted by Quality Weenie at October 20, 2006 12:19 PM | TrackBack