Volvo History 1950-1955

World War II had ended five years earlier and the United States was still recovering from the physical, economic and cultural damage that it had caused.

Many women left the service and the assembly line and returned home to take care of their husband and children.

Businesses were restarting and the military was paring down to peacetime levels. People were buying fun items again and traveling often.

And what of Volvo, more than four years removed from the war? Re-enter the PV444. Volvo's new "B Series" was introduced and it had many innovative features: new dashboard with a round speedometer, new bumpers, remodeled seating that was more comfortable for the driver and passengers and the real payoff: the ignition now started with a key! (instead of a button)

Even more incredible was the new signaling device called a "fixlight". If the driver turned, the indicator, shaped in a "T" and placed at the center of the roof, flashed blue and an orange light, placed on each side of the car, also flashed. You could see which way the driver was turning. Customers flocked to purchase this new version of the PV444 just to use the new features.

In the fall of 1951, the world was introduced to its largest truck ever: The L395 Titan. This 10-ton monster was powered by a VDF engine. While the Titan was appearing at construction site all over the country, the Vonew lvo PV444C appeared with nominal changes and the Duett was in the development stages.

January 1952 was a month to celebrate as Volvo saw its 25,000th PV444 exit the plant in Sweden. Its ES version was upgraded to a pearl-gray paint job and its reduce sticker price made it a brisk-selling vehicle in the US and Sweden.

1953 brought us the "Two cars in one" Volvo Duett. The name was a fancy marketing way of saying that it could be used for both work and leisure. It's appearance and price was similar to the PV444 except for its grill which had five horizontal grill bars. It flowed through suburban traffic well and could transport much more than was advertised.  

So, the Duett was a step out for the conservative, dependable Volvo line but to many, it was still quite predictable (read "boring"). Same boxy body. Same heavy doors. Same seating. Same...same..same.

Until, in 1954 the Volvo Sport blew apart the Volvo "sameness" and got a lot of attention. Sports cars were the rage on US roads and Volvo, like any smart car maker, took its step into the marketplace with the Sport. Crowds were wowed by not only the sporty, "James Bond" look of it, but it also had a five-year warranty included in the price of the car. Now it's a typical feature with any new car but back then, it was a dynamic sales tool. Imagine five years of free maintenance (exclusions applied, of course) on your new car!

Mid-way through the first post-World War II decade, the Volvo Sport, now known as the 1900, was definitely developed with young people in mind. Equipped with a fast B14A/70hp engine, Volvo pictured US motorists darting through city traffic and down country roads, as gaping pedestrians gazed upon its beauty. It was sold in US markets a year later but sold only 68 units and was shut down after a year. Perhaps, the car-buying public just wasn't ready for a "Volvo Sportscar".

So, Volvo gave up on its sportscar line, right? Not so fast, Mr. Bond.

Read our Volvo History 1945 - 1949 Article...
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