Saturday 4th July 1953
The first Volvo Duett 445 DH was built for delivery to the first customer for this estate model, none other than one of Volvo’s founders, Assar Gabrielsson. A few months later the first van version was produced and designated as the Volvo PV 445 DS. The design was based on the Volvo PV sedan and shared its engine and front suspension with that model. However, unlike the PV, which had a unibody design and a coil spring rear suspension, the Duett used a ladder frame with leaf springs supporting the rear. While the Duett has been criticized as a regressive design by those who point out that the ladder-frame car was based on Volvo’s first unibodied car; the use of a separate ladder chassis provided Volvo with an easy solution in their desire to produce a suitable commercial vehicle. The availability of the bare chassis also allowed Swedish coach builders such as Grip, Valbo and Nordbergs to build Duett-based pickup trucks, convertibles and specialized commercial vehicles. The versatility of the ladder-frame design also made the Duett a popular choice as a base for customized vehicles such as hot rods and EPA tractors. The Duett was the only automobile marketed by Volvo in the United States that used a separate frame. All other models were of unibody construction.