Ringborgs karosserifabrik was situated in the Kneippen block in Norrköping, Sweden. The buisness started in may 1951 and concentrated on coachbuilding on the Volvo P 445 and Volvo 834 chassis. Some cars from the 800 serial came as a hole car and then was cut behind the front doors for building a stationwagon, a hearse or a ambulance. Hearses were also built on the P 445 chassis but than the chassis were lengthen. When the company decided to build a cabriolet, they borrowed a Valbo-cabriolet for 24 hours. They then copied the most, only changing small parts of the body. Some cars were bought from the Grantorpets karosserifabrik, also called Grip, for deliver by Ringborg car. They then could look for details and solutions that were used to build their own bodies with. Grip built lots of coaches for the military. At the Grip factory Bertil Hagström worked from 1941 to 1951. In september -51 he started as a metalshaper at Ringborgs karosserifabrik. Bertil tells us more about the way they built the body.
" We worked two by two: two people did the roof, two people finished the wall, two people did the doors and so on. Overall we were between 50 & 60 employed. There were carpenters, metalworkers, saddlers, electritians, painters and more. All the work were done at the factory except doing the doorhandels and electric diveces. These things were bought from other manufacturers. We used 0.90 mm metalsheets sized 1x2 meters for covering the wooden frame. The metal were shaped through 'gläppen' before put in place. When we did a roof for a stationwagon there were several steps to go through.Two metal pieces were shaped for 'the top', the piece just over the window. Then there was 'the line', the piece over the doors. The upper part over the backdoors, 'the neck', was made before the big piece, 'the middle', was placed in the middle of the roof. After welding the parts together the roof was put down on the floor foor finishing the seams. The roof then was put up again for the finally welding to the rest of the body. Somewhere around 300 stationwagons of this kind were made. These wagons had a hatch under the backdoors for the sparetyre, just like the one later seen on the Duett. When the Duett was introduced, the production of stationwagons decreased. In 1956 the overall production began to decrease and the buisness was concentreted on fixing broken cars for insurance companies. The production of own cars only reached a few these last yeras before the closing in 1958. The company then was bought by Reimes and Opel. Reimes took care of the Volvo-selling buisness and Opel bought the section that did insurance company work on broken cars. "
A nice happening shows the skillfulled craftmanship Bertil posessed. On the stationwagons there were rearfenders. A wooden shaper had been done and now Bertil did the first metal fender shaped on the wodden shaper. When the boss saw the result he was as happy as a man could be and celebrated Bertil for a well done work. It took approximately one week to build a wooden frame. Sven, one of the carpenters working at Ringborgs, remembers: " I got 250 swedish kronor for doing the wooden work on a pickup. That was a lot of money at the time." Even though all the employed were good craftsmen, there never was two car that became identical. If you needed a new door, you had to build a new one with the hole for the door as a guiding. When these car were built, the craftsmen often designed the bodies. During the period the company existed, no major accidents accured. Some minor injures happened at the carpenters workingplace where there were machinery for cutting and planing. Below follows a commercial for Ringborgs.
" Little brother in Norrköping.
Ringborgs Karosserifabrik are building vans on the assembly line.
For some years now ARTEX has a little brother in Norrköping - Ringborgs Karosserifabrik -
a little brother that we are really proud for. Approximately 45 employees. Kapacity: 5 vans per week. Working schedule: Special made bodies of different shape, ambuances, vans on Volvo PV 445 chassis. In the spring there even is a cabriolet built on the chassis. We here show some pictures from the manufacturing. If you need to know more, if you want to know prices and such, we suggest that you send us a letter directly to Norrköping. Address: L.E. ringborg AB, Karosserifabriken, Norrköping. "
The Ringborg family ran, through several decades, buisness in a wary of different branches such as shipping, textile industry, match making and trading. They started car dealing as early as 1912 by importing Overland from New York. Car dealer L.E. Ringborg was founded in 1932 and sold Volvo in Norrköping until 1958. In 1951 they started to build bodies on the PV 445 frame. In an interview with the managing director in february 1953, he declared that a serial of 25 cabriolet cars were to be built and shown around the country. Then a serial of overall 200 cars were supposed to be built. A cabriolet cost more than the dubbel what you payed for a regular PV 444 sedan. For just a little less you could get an american cabriolet from Ford or Chevrolet. The estimated figure for actually made cabriolets is around 15 pieces.
A big thanks to Bertil Hagström who has shared memories in text and picture from the time at Ringborg. Information is also fetched from Per Thyréns' site 'Swedish Classics'.
Read more in issue #1 -87 of the Swedish Volvo PV-clubs' members magazine, the PV-entusiasten.