12:30 AM | October 1 2015

A Volvo Moment: A cold morning in Casablanca harbour

It is probably late autumn in 1950, perhaps early in 1951. Three dove grey Volvo PV 444 BS cars are causing something of a commotion after arriving at the enormous port in Casablanca on the passenger vessel M/S Saga, owned by Svenska Lloyd. Well wrapped up port workers look inquisitively yet cautiously into the camera.

The small Swedish cars have been unloaded one after another by crane, their paintwork covered with a protective layer of wax. The hub caps and windscreen wipers have not yet been installed, and are probably loose inside the cars.

At the start of the 1950s, production of the Volvo PV 444 got under way in earnest. In 1950-51, a total of 7,500 individual B models were manufactured, although the vast majority remained in Sweden. There was considerable demand on the domestic market and the company's export efforts were not yet that extensive. It would be another four years before Volvo started to make serious inroads on the American market.

In Sweden, the Volvo PV 444 B's indicators were located on the roof – known as Fixlight indicators or the 'roof cuckoo'. The company didn't dare to include this invention on cars that were being sent for export, and the three cars in Casablanca have side-mounted indicators. The equipment on the BS model includes shiny strips on the wings and bodywork and a bird emblem at the front of the bonnet. The more basic model does not have these shiny features, on the other hand, and is almost always black.

What life now awaits the three cars? Will they be driven by elegantly dressed individuals on the streets of Casablanca, or will they head out on a North African adventure? The PVs still have 16-inch wheels and the tyres on the cars in the port look particularly rugged, probably to handle the poor – or non-existent – roads.

A moment in Volvo's history.