FEBRUARY 2023: A 1963 VOLVO 544 SPORT FIXES THE NOSTALGIA URGE IN A BIG WAY FOR ITS OWNER

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True confession: I am a huge fan of the Volvo 544 models, mainly because I owned one during the back nine of my teenaged years and still owe my ’62 Volvo a huge apology for the enormous number of misadventures I forced upon that remarkable little Swedish car during that slightly out-of-control phase of my life.

I have chronicled some of my Indiana Jones moments behind the wheel of my Volvo many times over the years on the pages of MyStarCollectorCar, while other moments will remain locked in the passage of time and hidden from view. 

Jim Sutherland

To be honest, I thought I was the only car guy who cut his driving teeth in a Volvo 544–outside a small circle of like-minded teenaged stunt drivers in my neighborhood who also owned 544s at the time. We owned them because they were cheap, plentiful, and reasonably sporty (in a pioneer tuner car sense) for their time.

A beautiful red 1963 Volvo 544 Sport caught my attention at a large car show last summer, mainly because these cars are no longer cheap or plentiful, but they have become very cool to a much larger fan base in the 21st century.

The Volvo 544 models were often mistaken for a tarted-up VW Beetle–or a 1948 Ford that shrank in the wash, but not by the owner of the bright red ‘63 544’s owner, Bruce Jones. Surprisingly, Bruce’s first car was a 1962 Volvo 544, so he understood the connection between a 544 and a teenaged version of himself.

Bruce eventually retired his first 544 from active duty as a daily driver and stored it at his parents’ place. Unfortunately, he was working out of town when his car became somebody else’s car and left his world for good.

Bruce regretted the loss of his first car and began an informal search for a replacement Volvo 544 at a later stage of his life. However, the Volvo 544 ceased production back in the 1960s and the ravages of time (and a few teenaged owners) had taken a big toll on their numbers, so the cars became very scarce over the ensuing years.

Bruce was at a car show about 8 or 9 years ago when a buddy spotted a For Sale sign on a 544 at the event. His buddy strongly urged him to buy the car because of their scarcity and the fact the ’63 Volvo had undergone a major restoration.

Most Volvo 544 owners will be aware of the car’s issues that indicate whether it is worn-out or restored. One of the telltale signs are the door handles because they will droop when they become old. Bruce’s car looks like it just left the dealership, including its door handles that have no sag to them.

The car’s interior has also been redone to a high level and now shows no signs of wear and tear from 60 years on the road.

Bruce added mechanical gauges to keep a close eye on the Volvo’s four-banger and avoid dependency on its “idiot light” warning system that will not catch a problem early enough, in his opinion. He also added four extra plug-ins for any extra 12-volt electric components such as a GPS unit.

I can personally testify that a 1963 Volvo 544 would easily keep up with modern traffic, based upon my teenaged time trials in my ’62 544, and I am certain Bruce will attest to this fact in today’s world with his car.

Happy motoring Bruce, the trip down memory lane must be fantastic.

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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