One of the first Volvo models to make a significant impact in the North American market, particularly the United States, was the 1958 Volvo PV444. Contrary to its predecessors, who true to accepted Volvo lore were large, boring and safe, the PV444 was smaller and offered a slightly sportier feel. Specifically, its handling was a significant improvement over previous models, and its design, a little reminiscent of early 40s Fords, was considered to be stylish and fun. Of course, the cars lost none of the famed Volvo durability and reliability, a fact not lost on their thousands of eager fans.
The later PV444 for motorized with an inline four cylinder engine, with a 1.6-liter displacement, that developed 85 horsepower, more than double what the original offered in 1958. Performance was correspondingly improved; top speed exceeded 100 mph, while 0-60 acceleration stood at a respectable if now awe-inspiring 14 seconds.
The suspension was a independent front, live axle rear, and the PV444 was equipped with drum brakes all around, which was the norm for cars of that era. The 1958 Volvo PV444 retains popularity to this day not only because of its style, but also its remarkable durability.