This Bizarre Volvo PV544 Has a 38.8-Liter Diesel V12

The ridiculous engine originally saw duty in a Brobandvagn 971 military vehicle.


This might be the most Swedish build we’ve ever seen. Swedish builder Victor Jonsson’s 1960 Volvo PV544 is a far cry from the humble compact it once was. It has a 38.8-liter V-5 (that's the name of the engine, it's not a V-5 layout) diesel V12 engine from a war museum that originally powered a Brobandvagn 971 Swedish bridge launching military vehicle. The engine makes 520 horsepower and a staggering 1,696 lb-ft of torque. For reference, the engine originally in the Volvo PV544 was a B16 1.6-liter inline-four that made 66 horsepower and 86 lb-ft of torque.


To make all of that torque useable in a car, Jonsson created a custom planetary gearset that goes behind the engine reducing the torque 516 lb-ft and raising the RPM to 6,000 which is pretty high for a diesel. A ZF automatic transmission originally from a BMW 525 TDS sends power to a GM heavy-duty rear end. The custom chassis is 19.6 feet long with front suspension from a GM heavy-duty truck to match the rear axle.


You can see the full, 50-page build thread here on Garaget (you’re going to want Google Translate unless you can read Swedish). It’s pretty wild to see what this engine-swapped Volvo has gone through to turn into the monster that it is now.

Here's a rather anticlimactic video of the build starting for the first time and dying shortly after. There's still some work to be done, but we can't wait to see what this thing can do when complete.

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