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senginc New Reader
11/11/23 8:45 a.m.

I was trying to pick my color for my 1963 Volvo 544 1 owner restoration and looking at Images on Google at other 544's when I stumbled on this Image.  cheeky  On a different post of mine https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/another-p1800-build-all-nb-miata-from-radiator-to-rear-axle/259572/page1/ someone said they would like to know more about this build.

I thought at my age (70 at the time) I really would enjoy not having to bend over the fenders to work on it.

After studying the image I realized it was a Photoshop Car only.

In the meantime I did find a color for my 1963 Volvo - here it is - much livelier than it's original taupe color.

The fenderless build had piqued my interest -

While on Facebook I saw in the middle of the computer screen 4 cars from marketplace, one of which was a 1958 Volvo 444 (444's have split flat glass windshields and the 544 has one piece curved windshield).


It's generally decrepit condition made it a bargain and no worries about the poor condition of the fenders etc.  A nice guy from Ohio sold me the car and delivered it to me in Alabama.

In short order I was in to it - 3 days later I am down to a bare body.

senginc New Reader
11/11/23 9:14 a.m.

I studied the small size of the car and wanted to retain the seating position so a 90 deg V8 or V6 was ruled out.

I found a dowdy 1993 S10 on Craigslist 95 miles away. Upon driving it I found the 2.8 l V6 TBI and 5 spd to run perfectly - so a mechanical donor was found.

I wanted the complete drivetrain but not the good but ugly frame.

In a week we have an engine

Being a retired Electrical Engineer I was very familiar with AutoCad (2D only not 3 D)- (note I said Electrical not Mechanical for the ME's that would shame my work). I proceeded to create dimension drawings overlaying the Volvo body over a home design/ built frame.

Note I still use AutoCad 2000 - my really old version that still does all I need in 2D.

jfryjfry UltraDork
11/11/23 9:48 a.m.

Awesome.  Excited to read more

Datsun240ZGuy MegaDork
11/11/23 10:03 a.m.

Nice - I'll watch the progress 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/11/23 12:12 p.m.


84FSP UberDork
11/11/23 12:22 p.m.

Oooh love the early renders!

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
11/11/23 2:50 p.m.


senginc New Reader
11/11/23 9:12 p.m.

Early frame work with 2x3x1/8" wall tubing. I use inexpensive 1/2" EMT conduit as temporary bracing triangulated for rigidity.

Each side has identical length rectangular tubing sections by tacking 2 pieces together and cutting with abrasive chop saw. All the lengths and miter cut angles were calculated in the AutoCad drawing.

Studying the MII fitup. Using scrap steel channel to simulate the coilovers at center travel. I had not used a universal Mustang II setup in about 15 years, so lots of head scratching. Lower control arms set level.

11/12/23 8:01 a.m.

Have you discovered the Grassroots challenge done by the owners of this forum?  Not too far from your home base and kinda down your alley build-wise. 

Its a run-what-you-brung  with a $2000  build budget. Drag, Autocross and Show & Shine

TurnerX19 UberDork
11/12/23 9:44 a.m.

The front suspension change is the most important part here. Real ball joints! No miserable, stuck, rusty kingpins! No Acme thread! Easy disc brakes. Fenders or not you just improved the car 100%.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
11/12/23 6:15 p.m.

this is gonna be fun!!!


and yeah, you neeed to come to the challenge. at least as exhibition. bring something cool, hang out, and play. if you dig it, build a car and compete! you definately have the skills and attitude to do it well. 

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/12/23 9:42 p.m.

I like this I like this I like this I like this!

Why have you stopped?  More! More! More! More!

senginc New Reader
11/13/23 1:41 p.m.

Using scrap channel for the coilover expected ride height of the 4 bar parallel rear susp. That is the 93 S10  2wd rear axle 3:42 ratio, nice and narrow for the small Volvo.


Meanwhile this is the crust that needs peeled away. The rear inner fender will be replaced with 20 ga with a few internal angle stiffeners for a smooth look. There is a radius bead around the rear fenders and the rocker panel bottoms. Several sticks of 1/2" EMT conduit with my conduit bender and it will look OEM. Before cutting the rusty rockers away I made a plywood template of the rocker contour so that I could make both sides the same.

senginc New Reader
11/13/23 1:55 p.m.

Rear 4 bar almost level at expected ride height. E-brake cable was checked for clearance throughout suspension travel.

The rack and pinion mounts on a universal MII have to be optimized between available space and not creating bump steer.  A little trickery to get the front sway bar to clear the rack and pinion mounts.

Sway bar locking collars to keep the sway bar from walking left to right.

wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/13/23 1:55 p.m.


Torkel Reader
11/14/23 10:22 a.m.

Fun fact: I'm placing a 1951 PV444 on Miata subframes and adding a supercharged B230.....




senginc New Reader
11/14/23 7:22 p.m.

Trial fit the GM 2.8 L V6. I am transplanting the firewall portion (blue) of the S10 that has the hydraulic clutch master cylinder mount and a few other labor intensive items around the steering column. Power steering pump deleted but retaining the R4 A/C compressor mount. From the radiator fan to the rear axle straight from the S10. Only had to shorten driveshaft.

Cut the firewall to accommodate the bellhousing.

Footroom measurement (the 444/ 544 cars get narrow at the A pillar. For some odd reason the S10 clutch pedal is ~ 2" further from floor than brake pedal.

Piguin Reader
11/18/23 5:53 a.m.

Told you I wouldn't be the only one that would love this.


Following both the current 1800 build and this. Really good work!

senginc New Reader
11/20/23 8:23 p.m.


Pedal assembly and E-brake mechanism in place


Building E-brake cable bracketry


Studying multiple upper coilover mounting positions to keep coilovers in mid travel at ride height


More rear suspension study


Rear suspension at top with min driveshaft clearance showing E-brake cable clearance  To the right you can see the rocker panels roughed in with 1/2" EMT conduit for the lower radius with 18 ga filling up the old rusty areas. The old crusty inner fenders yet to be cutout.


senginc New Reader
12/1/23 7:58 p.m.

Used my manual conduit bender on 1/2" EMT conduit to repair fender lip reveal (EMT conduit radius is almost exactly same as OEM).

Out with the original oddly contoured inner fenders and in with flat 18 ga since they will be visible.   Repair rust below trunk with 20 ga. 

4 link rear suspension is peeking out but has clearance for full travel by mocking up through full travel of coilover using 3 different lengths of 1" wide scrap unistrut channel. Also tested with expected max height tire that I would use (235/75R15 on Corvette style rally wheels) with one side fully compressed and opposite side fully extended to simulate extreme cornering situation.


Working on floors, a bit of bead rolling for added stiffness. Note how high the floor is relative to the door threshold - this gave me about a 2" channel to lower the car without messing with the suspension.


I use #8 self tapping screws to keep everything in place because they are a lot cheaper than Cleco's and fit in really tight places (a couple of boxes of 100 last years).

Kendall Frederick
Kendall Frederick GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/1/23 8:33 p.m.

Love this!  Hope to see much more.

senginc New Reader
12/20/23 8:09 p.m.

E-brake linkage from OEM handle to S10 rear brakes.

There are several round scorched places visible on the floor where I put a weld and then wet rag quenched to cause shrinkage to stop "oil canning" that was due to all the welds. Just a few and the "oil canning" springiness tightens up and stops. I used to do this with an acetylene torch but a MIG is much quicker and the only down side is a spot of weld from the top side.


Fuel and brake lines using copper/ nickel tubing (it is much easier to bend and flare).


S10 Blazer new fuel tank and pump/ sender.


Some 11 ga fish plates with plug welds to add strength to the butt welded tubing and oversized to provide a little gusseting.

DarkMonohue GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/22/23 10:11 p.m.

This should be fun. In another life I'd sometimes see a slick bottle green 544 around town. It wore American Torq Thrust wheels and a license plate that read FJORD. Very pretty little car.

TurnerX19 UberDork
12/23/23 9:38 a.m.

I love the gear stick that has the same angle as the original Volvo. 

grover GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/24/23 8:39 a.m.

Wow. This is awesome. 

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