Thursday, October 15, 2015

Volvo's Ford-Like PV 444

It's no secret among the styling cognoscenti and, for that matter, people who were new or used car shopping 55 or so years ago, that Volvos looked a lot like 1940s Fords.  Since many readers of this blog are under age 60, I might as well mention that fact yet again.

The Volvos I'm thinking of are the PV444 and 544 series, and I'll focus on the PV444s here.  Some were built 1944-1946, but mass production took place 1947-1958.  That's according to this Wikipedia entry.

So if prototypes first saw the light of day around late 1943 and early 1944 (before being formally announced late summer '44), this implies that styling was done during the early 1940s.  Surely Volvo staff dealing with body design were aware of the restyled 1941 Ford line and must have been influenced by it.  Below I compare PV444s with 1942 Fords, the last model year before World War 2 halted production.


Examples of PV444s.  The first image might be of a prototype or early production car, the lower photo seems to have been taken about 1948.

A 1942 Ford Tudor Sedan for comparison.  The Volvo's fender/front/grille ensemble sits slightly forward of the front of the hood, a styling touch that usually interests me for some reason.  Ford front end styling is more conventional for its time.  The fender shapes are very similar, as are the profiles of the side windows.  The Volvo's fastback curve is a little more gentle than the Ford's, but the price paid is less headroom for back seat passengers.  Both cars feature divided, flat-glass windshields, though the Volvo's is raked back a bit more than the Ford's.

A publicity photo taken around 1955 (judging by the California license plate).  By this time, the PV444 was about to be introduced to the American market.  Note the revised grille.

1942 Ford Tudor seen from towards the rear (Auctions America photo).

Volvo PV444 photo found on the Internet showing rear styling.  Ford had more advanced glass shaping technology that was available to Volvo, hence the divided backlight seen here.  Aside from that and the shape of the top's curve, the cars are very similar.

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