Volvo PV544 Rallycross car Roland "Grus-Kalle" Brändström 1959

Discussion in 'Cars' started by eran0004, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. eran0004

    eran0004 Premium


    The first rallycross event in Sweden was arranged in 1971. The sport grew rapidly during the following years and one of the most successful drivers was Roland Brändström, commonly known as "Grus-Kalle" - or "Gravel-Charlie" in English. He won his first competition in 1977 and when his career was over he had a total of 35 victories, some highlights being the winner of the Volvo Cup 1978 and 1981, and the Sweden Cup 1982 and 1984 - always in his Volvo PV from 1959.

    Gravel-Charlie went his own ways and with his clever and low-budget innovations developed in his small garage at home he managed to get his homemade Volvo PV to accelerate in pace with Porsches and often pulling away from the latest factory cars. Amongst these innovations was a set of flower sticks added to the front suspension. They were put there to raise the front so that more weight was shifted to the rear wheels, achieving better traction during the start. Then, once he got into second gear, the flower sticks would break and the front suspension would drop again.

    With many of his innovations Gravel-Charlie found himself competing not only against other cars, but also against the regulations. The philosophy behind his inventions was that anything that's not forbidden is allowed, so often when he had come up with a new invention, it didn't take long until the regulations were changed to forbid just that.

    His last season was in 1984, the next year the regulations were changed: rallycross cars could no longer be older than five years, and Gravel-Charlie's PV had just turned twenty-five...

    The car was handed over to a student at the school were Gravel-Charlie worked as a janitor. That student was Thomas Rådström, who went on to become a WRC driver from 1994 to 2002. The deal was that Thomas could not sell the car once he was done racing with it. In 1986, Gravel-Charlie passed away and in 1991, when the car was retired for good from competition, it was put on display at a local motor museum.

    In August 2014 the engine was started again and after thorough restoration work the car was recently driven around the track again.

    Some videos of the car in action:

    Thomas Rådström driving it after restoration (the car is in Thomas Rådström's Polar livery), in Swedish

    Video clips from his career and an interview with his son, in Swedish

    Race: last after first corner, winner 4 laps later, in Swedish

    ^ The car in Polar livery, as driven by Thomas Rådström in the late 1980's.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  2. Bo

    Bo Premium

    United Kingdom
  3. Aero2000


    If you like this car you maybe like this PV544 sport to? :)
    eran0004 likes this.