The Volvo 1800S was given a 121.2 cubic-inch four-cylinder engine with overhead valves and a power output of 118 horsepower. The engine had five main bearings, solid valves lifters, and two Zenith-Stromberg horizontal carburetors. They had a four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive as optional equipment. Disc brakes were in the front with drums fitted to the rear. Pricing was rather steep, considering the price of Volvo's other models, and sold for $4,115 (a thousand dollars more than Volvo's other top-priced model).
By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2011
Volvo had established a reputation for building sturdy sedans by the early 1960's. They had been building such cars for many years, and they had proven themselves more than capable of surviving the rigorous Scandinavian climate of their Swedish hometown. Volvo had become known for building reliable, robust, and practical transportation. But, during an exciting era of car design, they were left without an arousing design to arrest public attention. No sports car. No grand tourer. Volvo had no model in their line-up to excite buyers.
All this changed in 1961 with the introduction of the P1800. Combining a sophisticated Italian design with tough Swedish mechanicals, this new Volvo revitalized the company's image. With reliability, comfort, and practicality, the P1800 was a Volvo through and through. It managed to have a personality all its own, though, and a character much more engaging than its drab siblings.
The P1800 was a 2+2 with two seats up front for adults and a couple of chairs for the kids in back. The Volvo had a fairly large trunk, which supplemented its additional seats and made the car surprisingly useable for an attractive sports car.
Mechanically, the P1800 was as staid as the other members of its family. Initially offered with a simple 1,778cc four cylinder with an average 100hp, it was no road burner. The engine did at least have the dual SU carbs obligatory in a European sports car. The motor was later enlarged to 1985cc, and fuel injection was added later in the model run.
The 'P1800' designation was only used on the first batch of Volvo's sports cars, which had their bodies produced by Jensen of England. After quality problems with Jensen, Volvo moved all P1800 production to Sweden and renamed the car the '1800S,' with the new letter standing for 'Sweden.' When fuel injection was added, the 'S' suffix was dropped in favor of an 'E,' and when a shooting brake variant was created for 1972 it was called the '1800ES.'
Though it was as quick as an MG or a Triumph in a straight line, the P1800 was more of a boulevard cruiser than a backroad hunter. Its rear drum brakes and live rear axle meant that the car handled and stopped more like a conventional sedan than a sports car.
The Volvo's size, though, suggested that it wasn't really a sports car at all. Instead, the P1800 was intended to be a grand touring machine: an automobile with style and panache capable of moving down the highway at a quick enough clip of speed, traveling toward some fashionable destination with a roomy trunk capable of swallowing a comfortable shopping spree. Looking at the car in that context, its no surprise that the Volvo was able to accomplish its mission and end up a strong seller.
As a stylish grand touring car, the Volvo proved its worth. It was supremely comfortable, with the pleasant interior and excellent seats found in so many Swedish cars, and it had a great design that was distinct and modern. The P1800's styling is often attributed to Pietro Frua of Italy, but in reality it was the young Pelle Petterson of Sweden who designed the car while working under Frua. The Volvo's combination of good looks and well-built mechanicals was a great combination that found many satisfied owners.
The car's only real downfall was no fault of its own. For as good of a vehicle as it was, the Volvo had some serious competition that it just couldn‘t match. Introduced the same year as the fabled Jaguar E-Type, the P1800 struggled in the shadow of the glitzy Jag that was only marginally more expensive. It enjoyed decent sales during its long production run, but was eventually outshone by more impressive competition and discontinued. Sources Used:
Wilson, Quentin. The Ultimate Classic Car Book. First. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1995. By Evan Acuña
The Volvo P1800 is probably best remembered and known for the television show, 'The Saint' staring Roger Moore. During the entire production of the show, the Volvo Car Corporation supplied a total of five P1800 models. One of the vehicles was split apart so better interior shots could be ascertained. One of the P1800's was wrecked on accident in 1967. Some of the parts were salvaged by the production company and used to update one of the older P1800s.
Originally, a Jaguar XK-E was going to accompany Roger Moore on his adventures but when Jaguar did not respond to the production company requests for vehicles, Volvo gladly handed over their P1800's. A decision Jaguar would quickly regret due to the shows popularity. However, in 1970 'The Return of The Saint' featured a white Jaguar XJ-S.
The P1800 is a departure from the vehicles Volvo is known for making. The company reputation boasts safety, reliability, and large and boxy vehicle. The P1800, on the other hand, was a stylish, responsive, sports coupe.
Volvo had attempted a sports car model which they dubbed the P1900. It was short lived. After less than 70 examples were produced, production ceased due to financial decisions. Volvo then tasked Helmer Patterson to acquire designs from Italian firms. Four designs came from Italian firms and one from his son Pelle. The design that was chosen by Volvo was Pelle's design. Frua was tasked at building a prototype while Pelle assisted in the development.
The production of the vehicle was complicated. Volvo did not have the space required to manufacturer the vehicle so they contracted a British company named Pressed Steel Company to fabricate the bodies. Jensen, a factory located in England, was used to assemble the P1800's.
Fueled by the popularity of The Saint, the P1800 became widely successful. It carried a rather inexpensive price tag when compared with other sports cars. The interior provided leg room for larger individuals; the weight of the vehicle and the size of the engine made it quick and agile.
The design was timeless - during its twelve years in production, only minor aesthetic changes were made. Mechanically, the biggest change for the vehicle was electronic fuel injection.
The P1800 is a true sixties car that proved to be an excellent companion for Roger Moore and 'The Saint'.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2010
|Fearsome and Solidly Original 1971 Hemi Challenger a Feature at Russo and Steele's Scottsdale Auction Event|
|Scottsdale, Arizona (January 3rd, 2017) – The Chrysler E-bodies might have been the last to enter Detroit's pony car game. Though critics argue that the best were saved for last with these cars, making their introduction more than five years after the first Mustang was released. Using a formula similar to Ford and Chevrolet, the Challenger was based on a stretched, compact Dart platform, making the car an immediate sales success. The White Hat Boys at Dodge positioned the car as part of t...[Read more...]|
|DB4 G.T. CONTINUATION: HISTORY IN THE MAKING|
|◾Iconic DB4 G.T. brought back to life by Aston Martin Works
◾Cars will be built at Newport Pagnell - home of the original DB4 G.T.
◾Strictly limited to 25 track-only cars
◾Newport Pagnell production re-starts after 10 years
09 December 2016, Newport Pagnell: One of Aston Martin's most iconic models – the DB4 G.T. - is to be celebrated with a special series of 25 track-only continuation cars built to lightweight specification by Aston Martin Works at Newport Pagnell.
Launched in ...[Read more...]|
|Auctions America Continues Successful 2013 Season with its Annual Fall Carlisle Sale|
|• Auctions America rounds out its 2013 auction season in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, October 3-4
• Two-day Fall Carlisle sale, held in conjunction with the Carlisle Events Collector Car Swap Meet & Corral, features a diverse roster of 300 classics, exotics, muscle cars, hot rods, and customs
• Auction highlights include a desirable 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435 Roadster, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28 RS Sport Coupe, and a 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster
• Full event details and a frequentl...[Read more...]|
|Auctions America Readies for Highly Anticipated Spring Carlisle Collector Car Weekend|
|• Auctions America returns to Carlisle, Pennsylvania for its annual Spring Carlisle sale, April 25-26
• Two-day sale lifts the gavel on a diverse roster of approximately 300 quality collector cars
• Notable highlights include a rare 1959 Chevrolet Corvette 'Big-Brake' Fuel-Injected Roadster, a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS LS5 Convertible and a 1999 Bentley Azure Convertible
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|VICARI AUCTION COMPANY OFFERS RARE '62 & '63 Z06 CORVETTES AT 2013 CRUISIN' NOCONA|
|In a recent rare find, two classic Chevrolet Corvettes (one '62 and one '63) - stored for decades-are being made available by the Vicari Auction Company. Both vehicles will cross the block during 2013 Cruisin' Nocona, a north Texas collector car auction and classic car poker cruise set for April 19th and 20th in historic Nocona, Texas.
The Corvettes are virtually all-original, and have been stored in Texas by a classic-vehicle aficionado and collector since the 1980s.