The Volvo Duett -- the carmaker’s first series-produced estate car –will celebrate its 60th anniversary on July 4, 2013. Volvo unveiled the round-backed compact PV444 in 1944 and started its production in 1917. During that time, it was becoming apparent that 1947, small commercial vehicles for various requirements were also in demand like passenger cars.
Since the PV444 was of unitary construction and cannot be used to build a commercial version, Volvo had to design a suitable commercial variant using a light but strong separate chassis frame.
Volvo started building this chassis in the summer 1949. The new vehicle – the PV445 – was similar to the PV444 in looks, size and price. The PV445 even peeled the front wings and bonnet off the PV444. The main difference between the two PVs was that the PV444’s grille had four horizontal chrome bars, while the PV445’s had PV444’s grille had five.
PV445’s payload was slightly above 500kg depending on body version. For instance, a pickup version was lighter but could carry more load than a heavier van. Eventually, users of the PV445 have found out that it could carry much more than its official payload. The 40-hp 1.4-liter OHV four that ran the PV had ample power to move the vehicle efficiently in urban traffic.
Thanks to its low gearing, the PV445 boasted of very good acceleration but the downside was that the car was noisy and thirsty at higher speeds on longer travel. The mechanics and all other equipment of the PV445 were all PV444 save for the rear axle that featured two very stiff semi-elliptic leaf springs. The PV444 had coil-spring suspension. [source: Volvo]