Volvo museum. Ref. Wikipedia
Volvo museum. Ref. Wikipedia
Volvo Industrial Museum Gothenburg.
Text and pictures Björn Bellander. Pictures current 2008-2012.

Back  Volvo museum website Swedish version
See also Volvo car gallery, Volvo military engines, Marine engines, Buses lorries
since 060110
© Björn Bellander

 Page 1

All pictures can be enlarged.


Created 120823

Swedish version

Volvo PV4 1928. Ref 1
Volvo PV4 1928. Ref 1
Volvo PV4. Ref 1
Info Volvo PV4. Ref 1
Volvo PV4 1928 at Åssa-museum. Ref 1
Volvo PV4 1928 at Åssa-museum. Ref 1
Volvo ÖV4 1928 at Åssa-museum. Ref 1
Volvo ÖV4 1928 at Åssa-museum. Ref 1.

Just rolling of the line. Ref. 40
Just rolling of the line. Ref. 40
About Volvo
The name Volvo is descended from a company which SKF established 1915. The bearings from this time were stamped with the name Volvo. The word is Latin and means I'm rolling. A new director, Björn Prytz, came later and decided that this product should be sold under the name SKF, when the new company for car production was aimed to be registered. The company Gamlestaden brought out the old name Volvo, from 1918. This was not done before the first car left the production line. 1926.

What was the reason for this growing car production. Prime mover was of course the invention by Sven Wingquist of the spherical bearing. This bearing gave so much money in profit that Gamlestaden had to find something to invest this money in. The cause for the invention was that Gamlestaden had problems with their textile machines. Wingquist was responsible for this production. Furthermore Gamlestaden produced their own bearings, which were not good enough. Because of the good income for the new bearing there was a pressure what to do with the money. Another cause was that they wanted a domestic market and cars were a nice consumer. In order to utilize this SKF was established 1907. 1925 Sweden imported 14500 car to a value of 35 millions Skr.

Two persons, who were very much interested in cars and it's production. Assar Gabrielsson and his work mate Gustav Larsson. They had met at SKF in Gothenburg. Both had during their career before this time worked closed to car factories. Assar as salesman in France and Gustav at Pope car factory in England. At this time France was the leading country for car production. In France the building of roads were very intensive. France had no restrictions for cars as in England. Gustav had worked at Pope engine factory in England.. All this made that Gamlestaden invested in car production in Sweden. Maybe also the empty car production after the bankrupt Thulinverken. Other small car producers in Sweden, went over to produce transport cars, Vabis and Tidaholm. Later it would show up that profit for Volvo was that the production of lorries, taxi cars and small transporters gave the best result.

It is interesting to study an old picture. This one is of course arranged. In the front you see the production leader. He has been forced to take a new protection clothes. This one has not the right size. Note that no one has the general more heavy shoes that were common for workers. Instead they have the old "dancing ones". Far back in black hat you can see an engineer, who seems to study something. The two mechanics are the only who act according what is supposed. The other man in black hat has not got any instructions. The car is perhaps a test mounting. The car is not ready build yet. Note also that the production line is empty.

Well just start the new production.

Page 2


Swedish version

ÖV4 1927/1929
 Volvo Info. Ref 1
Volvo Info. Ref 1
Volvo productioline. Ref. 40
Volvo productioline. Ref. 40

White & Poppe

White & Poppe 2

Early White & Poppe

SKF Wikipedia

Swedish bearing factory

Sven Wingquist 1

Sven Wingquist 2

Scania Testing bearings

Jonsereds Factories


Assar Gabrielsson

SKF - Nordkulan

Karl Leon (Larsson)

Volvo ÖV4 Productioncar 1927. Ref 1

About Sven Wingquist and Gustaf Larsson

We must go back to the time when SKF was established. Sweden had in the end of 1800 and beginning of 1900 several very capable inventors

Örebro Technical Elementar. Ref Wikipedia.
Örebro Technical Elementar. Ref Wikipedia.
and constructors. One of these was Sven Wingquist. He started his education at Örebro Technical Elementar School.
Sven made his early experience in different works shops in USA.

Gamlestaden weaving mil today 2012. Ref 1
Gamlestaden weaving mil today 2012. Ref 1
Sven became a technician for textile machines and got after work at Jonsered employment at Gamlestaden weaving mill. Here his first job was to solve the bearing problems. The mill had several steam engines and all of them had a shaft that went through the mill. These shafts gave power to the textile machines
Jonsereds Factory in the begining fo 1900. Bild från Wikipedia.
Jonsereds Factory in the begining fo 1900. Bild från Wikipedia.
All the main bearings from the steam engines could not stand and broke down. Sven understood that because the factory was built in an area of clayey bottom, the bearing supports were changed. The Göta River was just beside the mill buildings. Soon he understood that the shafts were in necessity need of a bearing that could take angle changes.

Gamlestadens factory. Ref. Wikipedia
Gamlestadens factory. Ref. Wikipedia
Sven Wingquist invenstion. This is the double type of bearing. Ref 40
Sven Wingquist invention. This is the double type of bearing. Ref 40
This ended with his invention of the spherical bearing. We have now reached 1907. The board of Gamlestaden understood the importance of this invention and established a new company for the development of the bearing. They nominated Wingquist as chairman. This company got the name SKF and was a subsidiary company of Gamlestaden.

Gustaf Larssson also went in Örebro Technical Elementar School.  Gustaf got experience in England. It might be very remarkable that these highly educated persons not emigrated to America. Compare with the Hult brothers, Ljungström an all those who came back to build Volvo company.

The bearings should be sold under the name Volvo.

Up to 1915 this name was used. The new director Björn Prytz decided that all bearings from SKF instead should be marked with the SKF logo. The name Volvo was put in desk for future use. At this time Prytz employed Assar Gabrielsson  as marketing director and placed him in France.
This was a good opportunity to learn about car production. He moved back to Gamlestaden 1921 in order to take over SKF. Volvo (the company) was created 1926 as a subsidiary company to SKF before it 1935 became a sole company.

Volvo bearing. Ref. 40
Volvo bearing. Ref. 40
From the beginning the name Volvo was aimed for the single bearings. This was only for the purpose of Gamlestaden. Note that Gamlestaden had only the new bearing to produce for the market 1907.

The Volvo bearing was produced for the time being in the factories of Gamlestaden.

A very small amount of bearings were stamped with the Volvo logo and delivered on the market, before decision to changed name to SKF.

The new bearing was manufactured in an old building called "The Rat House" at Horns Street in the village before a new production local was built. Later other types of bearings were incorporated in SKF from Gamlestaden. A official catalogue was not printed until 1918.

SKF had to fight for their patent.

With this important invention SKF got of course big problems with illegal production of the bearing.

Patent was taken in several countries, since 1907, as in Sweden. Another company was NKF, Nordic Bearing Factory, which produced bearings in a building at Hisingen Gothenburg.

This company had employed Carl Leon (Larsson).
The old fathful "Nordkulan" at Lundby Hisingen. Ref 1
The old fathful "Nordkulan" at Lundby Hisingen. Ref 1
Production line in Lundby factory. Ref 1
Production line in Lundby factory. Ref 1
He was a man that also worked in shipping. He had offered NKF his invention to start production of a spherical bearings. NKF produced,
all other types of bearings (single row) of that time. His spherical bearing was made that it just went outside Wingquist's patent. In any case it should be a long time patent fight to get rid of the production from NKF. Wingquist wanted to be the head deliverer quickly so he offered Carl Leon at NKF 1920 a large sum of money to be paid for 20 years. See link. This stipulated that Carl Leon was not allowed to develop his bearing.

NKF continued up to 1925 with their ordinary bearings while Carl Leon withdrew. What today is left as memory is the old NKF factory building and a pizza named "Captain Larsson's pizza". This can be ordered at Fjällbacka restaurant. Wingquist had also problems with several other "black" producers in other countries of the world, mainly in Germany. These problems Sven normally solved by buying the companies. In Sweden at this time there were 10 bearing producers. Later it would show up that SKF could lower the prices of all bearings because of good selling. NKF could not follow this so they stopped their production 1925 and SKF bought their factory building at Hisingen 1925 on an executive auction. This was good in time because Volvo needed the locals to put the new Volvo cars together. From outside one can believe that it was much "fox and geese play" behind this when it happened just in time for Volvo. The building is today called "Nordkulan" and is important in the history of Volvo.

The need for transports.

Generally it was a down period for Swedish car industry.

Thulinverken went bankruptcy 1920 and the company was sold out. Under different names the company had production during a few years. They built cars according to orders and from left over parts.

Thulin's bankruptcy depended most from the large investment which had been done because of car production. At the same time Thulin counted on a large airplane order which not appeared because
Scania car at Grandfather's Technical museum. Ref 1
Scania car at Grandfather's Technical museum. Ref 1
end of war 1918. Another important happening was that Enoch Thulin death crash with his latest fighter 1920.
Scania including Vabis, built only luxury cars up to 1911. Vabis stopped with private cars and put money only on lorries. Later Vabis merged with Scania to Scanis-Vabis.

Now it happened that the two important persons for Volvo met and noted that they had about the same future planes. Gustaf Larsson worked some years, up to 1920 at SKF Gothenburg.

Sturehof Restaurant Stockholm. Ref Wikipedia.
Sturehof Restaurant Stockholm. Ref Wikipedia.
He moved then to AB Galco in Stockholm. At this time many directors and alike went to restaurant Sturehof at Stureplan Stockholm to get a nice lunch. Gustaf Larsson tells us this at the funeral of Assar Gabrielsson 1962. By coincident Gustaf went to Sturehof and met Assar eating from a large dish of red crayfish.

They should have enjoyed the crayfish without any job talking. From this opportunity the tradition to invite Volvo employers for Swedish crayfish is descended. I don't think this happens today because of lack of this special Swedish crayfish.

Rolls and Royce wrote their agreement on a napkin when eating together about car production. Assar and Gustaf wrote a declaration of intention on a simple paper, which is maintained, about starting car production 1926.

 Page 3


Swedish version

ÖV4 1927/1929

Volvo PV4  from Svedino museum. Ref 1
Volvo PV4 from Svedino museum. Ref 1Volvo ÖV4 from Svedino museum. Ref. 1
Volvo ÖV4 from Svedino museum. Ref. 1Volvo logo variant. Ref. 40
Volvo logo variant. Ref. 40Volvo logo design MasOlle. Ref. 40
Volvo logo design MasOlle. Ref. 40Volvo info from Svedino museum. Ref 1
Volvo info from Svedino museum. Ref 1Volvo info from Svedino museum. Ref 1
Volvo info from Svedino museum. Ref 1


Volvo ÖV4, PV4

Pictures of Volvo prototypes

Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larsson.

Assar was employed by SKF in Gothernburg as marketing director while Gustaf worked at Galco in Stockholm as technical director. Gustaf had earlier worked at White & Poppe in England.
Assar Gabrielsson 1960. Ref. Wikipedia.
Assar Gabrielsson 1960. Ref. Wikipedia.

Assar was born in Skaraborgs county and his father did business with egg. During his education at school of economics and business administration he also learned Russian. The cause was that Sweden imported huge lots of eggs from Russia.
1915 he got employed at SKF by Björn Prytz. He also decided to change the name on the Volvo bearing from Gamlestaden to SKF and all bearings should be marked SKF instead. 1921 Assar was sent to France in order to sell SKF bearings. SKF could easily sell them for a lower price that foreign producers. During this time Assar started to think upon car production. This because the cost picture in Sweden contra other car production countries. He got new job in Sweden 1923 as marketing director for SKF.
Gustaf Larsson 1962. Ref. Wikipedia.
Gustaf Larsson 1962. Ref. Wikipedia.
Örebro Technical Elementar. Ref. Wikipedia.
Örebro Technical Elementar. Ref. Wikipedia.
White & Poppe England. Ref. Wikipedia.
White & Poppe England. Ref. Wikipedia.

Gustaf Larsson was a farmer's son. After examined at Örebro Technical Elementary School he got job as  trainee at White & Poppe in Coventry England. Here they produced all kind of accessories for the motor and car and transport industries. After moving back to Sweden he graduated technical examination at Technical High School in Stockholm 1917. He

now started to work at SKF in Gothenburg and Katrineholm. 1920 he changed over to AB Galco in Stockholm.

In what way did they start with their car idea.

After the principal declaration it was decided that Gustaf should take out drawing basis for a car. With these drawing basis Assar should sell the idea to SKF in order to get money. Gustaf who was employed at AB Galco. This company had such production that they should let them produce the test series. Anyway he had to continue with his ordinary work. Now he changed his living apartment at Rådmansgatan in the south side of Stockholm for a construction office. Here together with some selected engineers like Jan G Smith the construction drawings were made. Today no one knows their construction principles, except simple and tested.

Probably is that Gustaf Larsson had examined other cars, mostly with the help of Jan Smith. He had worked some years in USA and there collected basic data. Gustaf had knowledge from his working in England. Jan had put together a scrapbook in which he had collected important principles for car production. This book now can be seen at Stockholm Technical Museum. This was close to stealing ideas.
At this time Chevrolet had established i Sweden and several ideas must have come from this car. This car was mounted in Stockholm. The rims with which the test cars got were delivered from Chevrolet. It was important to save money.

As far as up to now they worked with money from Assar and Gustaf. In June 1925 the chassis drawings were ready and Assar's work started to convince SKF to invest money for building a test series. There was no doubt that a marked for Swedish cars existed. 1925 Sweden imported almost 14500 cars for a value of 35 millions Skr.

SKF doesn't give money for the test series.

With the drawings under his arm Assar Gabrielsson
Jan Smith originaldrawing. Ref. Wikipedia.
Jan Smith originaldrawing. Ref. Wikipedia.
went up the head office of SKF. As he was marketing director for Sweden, it was no problem for him to introduce his ideas. Note that SKF was still a subsidiary to Gamlestaden. Perhaps it was this cause that the board decided not to give money for a test series of cars.

Assar and Gustaf make the investment for the test series themselves.

Volvo ÖV4. Ref 40
Volvo ÖV4. Ref 40
Volvo ÖV4 during. Ref 40
Volvo ÖV4 during. Ref 40
Here could this dream stopped if not Assar had so much money. He could pay the introductory phase himself. This was what he and Gustaf decided. It would be better to have a car to show up. With  the help of provisions and own loans they started to order a series of 10 cars. These were to be put together at Galco under the lead of Gustaf Larsson.

About these 10 prototypes it was decided that the cars should be painted in different colors. Some of the test cars got later nicknames. One, the black, was called Jakob and another with oval rear window got "Orre kojan". The official designer MasOlle lived in Dalarna County. Note that the car hade not yet got the name Volvo. When talking about the cars the worker just said GL or Gustaf Larsson.

The first car.

The first production car was ready August 1926. Now Assar set Gamlestaden board on pressure and in just 2 days he had a contract ready and established a new company with the name Volvo and Assar Gabrielsson as director. He also got 2 millions loan. The old NKF factory became a new working place for Volvo cars.

The production was decided to start  Wednesday on the 13th of April 1927.
Volvo Chassie outside "Nordkulan". Ref 40
Volvo Chassie outside "Nordkulan". Ref 40
Volvo under montering. Ref. 40
Volvo under montering. Ref. 40
Volvo production area. Ref. 40
Volvo production area. Ref. 40
Volvo production area. Ref. 40
Volvo production area. Ref. 40 

It was decided that this day the first ready made car should roll out of the factory opening. This factory door which once had
been the delivery door for NKF factory. This building the new Volvo factory had got from SKF 1926 and here Volvo started it's production of the new car. This
car had in the beginning no name and was called internally for GL or Gustaf Larsson.
Job was arranged with a simple roll way. All employee had worked hard to get the car ready in time. Early in the morning one from the staff stood waiting at Gothenburg Central station to get the last parts sent from Stockholm. During the time the rear end was under assemble and installed with its differential. It is told that the mechanic had asked Fingal, who was chief for this job how to install the differential. He got only the answer that it could be done any way. It was luck that the gearwheels had helical gears and the pinion was placed in the middle. Because of big hurry none checked until it was time for test drive. The car went backward when number one gear was tested.

Ad photo ÖV4. Ref 40
Ad photo ÖV4. Ref 40
Now they were forced to place the important appearing for the public till next day. This had been very much prepared with photographers on the 13th of April, and was delayed to the 14/4. Surely several practices were done before the official drive through the door was done. The sales director should deliver the first car to the reseller Grauers in Stockholm. The second car ready the same week was bound to Borås.

Here you find the official explanation from Volvo.

When it dealt about the tall tale that the first Volvo car only could be driven backward in normal gears, it could very well be true even if Volvo people, from
First Volvo on the street. Ref 40
First Volvo on the street. Ref 40
this time, avoided to talk about this. The gearbox had straight cog wheels but the pinion drive had helical wheels and on the earliest rear drive a  control track was missing in the cover. This made that the pinion could be mounted in two ways. One was of course the wrong way. One control track was immediately done on all the following rear ends.

Today this small mishap, which all interested Volvo freaks talk about is good publicity for Volvo, in spite of the forgotten control track.

Hard in the beginning.

Everybody should know that the start up of Volvo did cost much money and the company gave no profit until 1929 and it was only about 1000:-. The need of money was great and SKF (Gamlestaden) put in 2 millions for several years ahead. It was also very close that Gamlestaden had chosen to withdraw when they doubt for success. But the small profit and that everything seemed to roll on 1929-1930. This much thanks for the home market.

The only Swedish rival stopped their production.

May be the rival for Volvo AB, Thulinverken (Teve) may be mentioned. They had already 1925 produced  a new car after the AGA car. It was constructed by Per and Hugo Weiertz. The Thulinverken leaders had produced 12 prototypes 1927. This model could have been a serious concurrent for Volvo on the market but Thulinverken hade no money to start production and the project was laid down. Instead Thulinverken started to produce different coach works for various kinds of car types. For ex. fire cars and ambulances and others.

 Page 4


Swedish version

Volvo series 651 1929/1937

Volvo 1933. Ref 1
Volvo 1933. Ref 1Volvo 1935. Note the leaning cooler. Ref 1
Volvo 1935. Note the leaning cooler. Ref 1Volvo info. Ref 1
Volvo info. Ref 1Volvo 1933. Ref 1
Volvo 1933. Ref 1
Info Volvo 1935. Ref 1
Info Volvo 1935. Ref 1Volvo 1932 in a garage in Hälsingland county Sweden. Ref 1
Volvo 1932 in a garage in Hälsingland county Sweden. Ref 1Volvo info at Svedino museum. Ref 1
Volvo info at Svedino museum. Ref 1


Volvo serie 650

Engine Factory Nacka



Gustaf Larsson

About roll bearings

Jan G Smith
Volvo 651 1931. Ref 1
The first model took several years to make ready and was of course a prototype even those cars which were sold 1927 up to 1930. The problem was that there were continues changes.

The problem was to decide a model which could be sold. Compare with Ericsson at Vabis. He started a new construction before the on going was ready. During this time the board understood that the 4 cylinders engine was too weak for the Swedish Possible engine for Volvo ÖV4 1927. Ref 1roads, it had also splash lubrication.
Already 1928 it was decided that next model must have a 6 cyl engine. This new engine was mounted in the next model which got the name 651. These numbers means 6 cyl., 5 persons series 1. I found the pictured engine at Gråfors Collections in Sparreholm Village. If the text is true, I don't know. Compare with the Penta engine among the marine gallery engines.

The main thought was that Volvo wanted to sell a car which was reliable and that the driver could trust on the car.

The background was also that Volvo had the feeling that Sweden needed cars for Taxi market and transportation. This became a trustworthy and regular customer.

There are still model 651 and 652 in small numbers on the Swedish roads. I found one at a farmer. Look at the pictures below.

Typically for Volvo the 650 series continued up to 1936. Now the pressure for a new more modern car became to large.

The lower line with pictures show one privately owned 652 as I by coincidence saw during one of my journeys round Sweden looking for old cars.

The new 650 was complete new and both broader and longer. The 6 cyl. engine was mounted and it had got pressure lubrication, water pump for cooling instead of thermosiphon system. The crankshaft had 7 bearings and was both statically and dynamic balanced. Engine volume was 3 liters and gave 55 ps.

The frame was bent at two places in order to give a higher roof for passengers. This together with that the rear end god hypoid gears gave the car a lower floor and a more acceptable running sound.

The brakes were changed to hydraulics by Bendix Perrot system and the front wheels got brakes as standard.

The car body got plate cover instead of pegamoid but the rood was still covered by pegamoid. This was more for the cause that Volvo presses could not take such a big plate.

The economy was still minus even if a small technical profit was done August 1929. Gamlestaden was also not satisfied when they had to add more money every year.

MasOlle was still the designer for Volvo car bodies.


 Reklambild. Ref. 40
Ad picture. Ref. 40
 Reklambild. Ref. 40
Ad picture. Ref. 40
 Reklambild. Ref. 40
Ad picture. Ref. 40
 Ambulans kaross. Ref 40
Ambulance chariot. Ref 40
 Info Volvo 1932 i ett garage Hälsingland. Ref 1
Info Volvo 1932 photo from a grage in county of Halsingland. Ref 1
 Volvo 1932 i ett garage Hälsingland. Ref 1
Volvo 1932 photo from a grage in county of Halsingland. Ref 1
 Volvo 1932 i ett garage Hälsingland. Ref 1
Volvo 1932 photo from a grage in county of Halsingland. Ref 1
 Volvo 1932 i ett garage i Hälsingland. Ref 1
Volvo 1932 photo from a grage in county of Halsingland. Ref 1

 Page 5


Swedish version

Volvo PV51 1936/1945

Volvo 1936. Ref. 40
Volvo 1936. Ref. 40
Volvo Carioca. Ref. 40
Volvo Carioca. Ref. 40The only cab from Volvo 1936. Ref. 40
The only cab from Volvo 1936. Ref. 40Volvo PV61 cab at the museum. Ref 1
Volvo PV61 cab at the museum. Ref 1Volvo Carioca 1936 at Volvo museum. Ref 1
Volvo Carioca 1936 at Volvo museum. Ref 1One of two Duesenberg in Sweden equipped with producer gas unit. Photo from book by Martin Strömberg.
One of two Duesenberg in Sweden equipped with HP producer gas unit. Photo from book by Martin Strömberg.



Volvo PV 1936. Ref 1
Volvo PV 1936. Ref 1
The design of the car bodies had now been moved to their own design studio of Volvo. Now Helmer Pettersson had great influence.

We have reached 1936. Model 650 was selling quite good but was hopeless out of age.

The pressure from the reseller to get new design was big. In America the car producer had come far and new cars were now selling more after design than it's construction. The buyers anyway didn't see this and very few were interested in construction.
Ivan Öhrnfelt had come back from the States to Sweden and got job as production manager at Volvo. He had seen how the new design of the cars had worked out. He was very interested to produce a car for Volvo. It was called the "Air Flow" models. Work was started to produce a Volvo for according to this type 1936.

This new model became his loving baby and it became christened the name Carioca. Volvo had great hope for this new Volvo.

The model was built on the standard 1936 car but got the Air Flow look.

This car became a flop and Volvo learned that the home market of Sweden had not the same feelings for car looks as in the States.

The model PV51 was the one that sold in several different bodies. The old Taxi model named TR was still selling good. But Volvo had not yet been a large producer of cars.

The production of cars was drastically reduced for normal consumers during the war. Volvo constructed their own producer gas system. It was aimed for private, busses, and lorries cars. Volvo had also large production for Swedish defence.

According the producer gas system Helmer Pettersson had earlier constructed a gas unit for lorries and during his time at Volvo he developed a unit for private cars. This was made as a small trailer hooked to the car carried by a single wheel. Gas units were normally quite heavy so this model was a good solution. See picture. Helmer was also the one that initiated Gabrielsson the building of a smaller car, to be sold after the war. It got the name PV444.

This Helmer Pettersson whose son later became the well known sailing and boat designer. This son later made the Volvo P1800 design and his name was Pelle Pettersson.

 Volvo försedd med gengasagregat. Typ HP. Ref. 40
Volvoequipped with producer gas unit. Type HP. Ref. 40
 Militärutförande.Typ HP. Ref. 40
Militaire model.Typ HP. Ref. 40
 Volvo gengasaggregat. Typ HP. Ref. 40
Volvoequipped with producer gas unit. Type HP. Ref. 40
 Volvo PV 51. Ref. 40
Volvo PV 51. Ref. 40

 Page 6

Swedish version

Volvo PV 444

1948 - 1965

Last Volvo PV 444. Ref. 39

Last Volvo PV 444. Ref. 39Jubelee PV 444. Ref. 39
Jubelee PV 444. Ref. 39


Volvo PV 444-1

Volvo PV 444-2

Volvo PV 444 44-58

Volvo PV 445-1

Pontiac 39

Pelle Pettersson



Volvo production line. Ref. 40
Volvo production line. Ref. 40
During the war Volvo had great difficulties to get material for the car production.

Furthermore petrol was not free for Volvo for testing. Production of producer gas units had started. This was mostly to supply the military needs. Another very hard thing were car tires. All existing tires had been requisitioned by Swedish state, and all suitable cars had been draft for military service. In all garages i Sweden private cars stood without tires. It was lucky for Volvo that military production was allowed otherwise Volvo had been forced to close. But Swedish state allowed Volvo to lay up stores with petrol and tires for testing cars and most important for the new Volvo PV 444 along the test roads.

Now the discussion 1943 about what to produce after the war became the topical question. In this connection Volvo had employed Helmer Pettersson who earlier had constructed a producer gas unit for lorries. He had no luck with selling this. There were several such types of units in Sweden. Primarly from Ford. Another well known was Källe. Busses and lorries used normally wooden blocks. Large works were built to chop this and wrap up in sacks. Such wood was difficult to handle and left tar when used. It was important to keep right temperature.

Helmer Pettersson was a person that always went his own way and also did what he wanted. In this way he was well suited together with Assar and Gustaf. Once 1943 he was on a journey with Gabrielsson to look at production of Helmer's producer gas units outside Borås.

When going by car it is in a way more open and simpler to talk with each other. It is as there is a need to use time for talking. At this opportunity Helmer had brought up the question how a small car would look like after the war. "I have an idea about this".

Assar had of course also this question in mind. Assar answered that it was interesting and promised that he would like to discuss this subject later.
It is curious that the same thing had happened earlier between Assar and Gustaf also outside Borås about building a car. Between Helmer and Assar it was just the same terms. May be both are historical tall tales.

The subject about a smaller Volvo was brought up later and Helmer got the task to make a proposal. As always he had free hands for this. According a Volvo worker Helmer always accomplished his own ideas and seldom listened to people around him. He got also task to gather a group for this project. An important person in this group was Eric Jern. He had earlier worked with Gustaf bringing ÖV4 to life. Eric became  the main engineer for this construction team. The complete group was at the end 40 persons.

Gothard Österberg was the man who organized this construction office. The unit which had responsibility for the engine was led by Stig Hallgren.

Important parts of the car were wheel units and axles. This was held by Sven Winberg.

The body had a leader in Edward Lindberg. He had long experience with 10 years of work at Studebaker factories.

Design became of course in Helmer Pettersson's hands. He had help from Henry Westerberg who led the drawing office.

In order to produce all parts for a car there was a need for many tools and of these the press tolls were most important. Axel Roos was the  man for this and also responsible for the prototype.


 Page 7


Swedish version

Volvo PV 444

Montering PV 444. Ref. 40

Instrument dash board for the first version  PV 444. Ref. 40



PV models

Helmer Petersson

Hanomag 1.3 39

Hanomag 39

Volvo Club


Production line for PV 444. Ref. 40
Production line for PV 444. Ref. 40

The car should not be equipped with a frame and this way had Volvo followed since 1926. Instead the body was built as a self-supporting unit. This was for Volvo the new way. The old way was that one must be inspired by USA and use a tested construction.

1947  Hanomag. Ref 1
1947 Hanomag. Ref 1
Text for 1947 Hanomag. Ref 1
Text for 1947 Hanomag. Ref 1
In order to get knowledge about self supporting bodies Volvo bought a pre war Hanomag car for study. About Hanomag it can also be told that late 1970 Hanomag production line for engines was bought by Volvo and moved to Sweden. See Svedinobil.

Now some very important decisions had to be taken. Engine, drive and body. These decisions should settle in what way they were to be built. Gustaf Larsson didn't take any notice about all work which had been done to chose the engine type. He just said "four cyl engine". Lucky enough for the future for Volvo was that it became overhead valves.
At the Volvo museum some engines proposals are shown. One from Helmer Pettersson and
Helmer's proposal for an engine. Photo from Volvo museum. Ref 1
Helmer's proposal for an engine. Photo from Volvo museum. Ref 1
another with id GA both with front wheel drive. Most American volume cars had 6 cyl side valve engines. Helmer's suggestion was a lying engine block with carburator straight up. All this was stopped by Gustaf Larsson at one of his weekly visits at the development department. This is why Volvo got a car with front end engine and rear drive.

The design oft the body became a lesser copy by the actual American cars during the 40th. Ford had made large amount of scale cars in Europe. For ex. Ford Eifel. Volvo PV got the same look as Ford, GM and Chrysler cars. Most alike was the Ford 1946. Volvo says that it is Pontiac which had given the main influence. This must have depend on that most managers earlier had worked in USA in different car factories. One exception was Helmer Pettersson who had worked at Henderson's motorcycles in competition department. 

Now the work was to get contract with all sub delivers in Sweden and abroad. This system had been used during the war when Sweden built their fighter planes. This was of vital importance for the good workmanship of the new Volvo. The most difficult problem was to get deep drawing sheet steel. It had to be used for pressing the body.

At this time just after the war it was very hard to buy this kind of steel. Remember that in the end of 40th and begin of 50th bodies for various car models were built by wood. All car factories wanted this special steel and the main deliverer was situated in USA. The trials for Volvo to buy this steel ended up with that Karl Lindblom, who had the responsibility for production of the car. He decided to take a PV prototype by air freight over to USA. With this car he drove around and tried to buy the steel plate. This was "open sesame" and Volvo got the necessary deliveries.

Köping factory got the order to produce the gearboxes.
Borås produced the engine. Volvo laid an order for 300 engines 1947.
Productions tools like fixtures there were no time for, so there were few. The first cars were hand built and therefore the chassis parts were not so accurate. 10 new cars were put together and after them the way of production system was settled.

On the 8th of February 1947 the first cars were delivered to Borås. The price was earlier decided to 4800:- Skr and in spite of considerable rise in costs. Volvo kept this promise for all contract sold cars. Later the price of the car raised to about 8000 during 1947. All who had a contract for a PV car could sell it for up to 13000:- Skr.

Now Volvo was in the way to produce cars as fast as the sales numbers. It was time to update the less good parts on the car. This way Volvo continued the whole lifetime of Volvo PV444.

1953 the Volvo Duett rolled out on the marked and 1958 Volvo PV544. 1965 the last PV rolled out from the line in Gothenburg after 440000 copies made. Now it was equipped with 1800 cc engine, 90 ps, 4 gears and 12 volt electric system.

For a long time a new car had been prepared and the new way was that car construction was so  complicated that construction was made by large teams and could not been related to one person. This was the future way to build new cars.

After PV444, Volvo Amazon was the car which Volvo delivered.


Other Cars MC museums in this website

Adalen car museum
Arnolds_cars & odds ends
Arvika car mc museum
Assa car museum
AUDI Ingolstadt

Barnfind Halsingland
Barnfind Katrineholm
Brosarp Museistation
Bjorkenas mopedmuseum
Brooklands England
Bugatti 2000
Bugatti 2018
Beaulieu England
Bynanders Car MC
Car sport museum Karlskrona
Chaparral carmuseum
Duxford England
Dalén musem
Eds Motorcycle museum
Enoch Thulin Landskrona
Falkoping MC Museum
Foundries and mines
Garage round in Halsingland
Grangesberg Nostalgi
Grafors Collection
Grangesberg Locos
Hannover air museum
Hassleholm mil. vehicles
Holmgren VW collection
Haynes England
Hjorted Mopedmuseum
Harnosand carmuseum
Huskvarna museum
Ivar Car museum Hoting
Koping car museum
Krylbo-Norbergs rail
My Vehicles
Malmkoping mil. vehicle museum
Malmo Technical museum
Mercedes Benz 2000
Mercedes Benz 2018
MC-Collection Sweden
MC museum Hedemora
Motala museum
Munktell museum
Museum joerney 2018
My ArtGlas collection
NSU 2018
Otto Walz 2018
Outbordmuseum Varb.
Peugeot 2018
Porsche 2000
Porsche 2018
Rydaholms Car Museum
Robot Museum Sweden
Regnsjo, SAF cars
Panzeranzer museum
ScaniaVabis museum
Sinsheim museum 2000
Sinsheim museum 2018
Skokloster car museum
SSK Boxcar
Storvik Odds and Ends
Svedino car & airplane
Soderhamn Air Force
Sparreholm museum
Sagen Technical museum
Surahammar MC
Swedish Air force museum
Swedish submarines
Torsong MC museum
Torsby Car MC museum
Technical museum Helsinb
Technical museum Stockholm
Ullared carmuseum
Volvo Industrial museum

Other sites
Military service
Travels (in Swedish)
My Heritage (in Swedish)

Trainmuseum Sweden
Vasteras Airmuseum
Hagfors Industrimuseum
Karlskrona Marina

Pictures from the following owner have been used in with the necessary allowance:
Reference 1: © Björn Bellander  bjorn.bellander(at)
Several pics av my photos from museum.
Reference 39: © Hasse Carlsson Signalhornet
Referens 40: © Volvo
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