The Volvo P1800 began as a design exercise by the Swedish-born Pelle Petterson whilst working at Frua. The first hand-built P1800 prototype was driven to the headquarters of Karmann in December of 1957. Volvo hoped that Karmann would oversee the tooling and building of the P1800 and that the first cars could hit the market as early as December of 1958. However, in February, Karmann's most important customer, Volkswagen, forbade Karmann to take on the job. Volkswagen feared that the P1800 sales would compete with their own products and could ultimately threaten to cancel all their contracts. This setback threatened the project and it was nearly abandoned until a press release surfaced, and Volvo had to acknowledge its presence. With positive feedback, Volvo displayed the car at the Brussels Motor Show in January of 1960, its first public appearance. Jensen Motors, whose production lines in West Bromwich were under-utilized, was given the contract to produce 10,000 examples. After quality control issues with the car, Volvo canceled the contract with Jensen after producing just 6,000 units, and they moved manufacture back to their Lundby Plant in Gothenburg, Sweden. The car was renamed in 1964 to the P1800S, with the 'S' representing 'Sverige' or in English, Sweden. Changes were minor; updates were made to the grille and to the bodyside chrome strip. The engine was modified to produce 108 horsepower and an overdrive became optional for 1965. In 1966 the engine was uprated to give 115 horsepower.
Power was from a 1782cc overhead valve four-cylinder engine fitted with twin SU carburetors and given a four-speed manual transmission. The Volvo P1800 was later made famous by Roger Moore, who played Simon Templar and drove a white example in the TV series The Saint.
From 1964 through 1968, approximately 23,993 examples of the 1800S were built.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2019
At 2.6 Million Miles, Irv Gordon and his Historic Volvo Roll OnRetired Long Island Science Teacher Sets Sights on 3 Million Miles In His Record-Breaking 1966 Volvo P1800
With 2.6 million miles on his record-breaking, shiny red 1966 Volvo P1800, 67-year-old Irv Gordon is now aiming to achieve a near impossible milestone - driving three million miles in the same car.
Gordon, a retired science teacher from East Patchogue, N.Y., purchased his sporty Volvo in June 1966, and immediately fell in love, driving 1,500 miles in the first 48 hours. With a 125-mile round-trip daily commute, a dedication to vehicle maintenance and a passion for driving, Gordon logged 500,000 miles in 10 years. In 1998 with 1.69 million miles, he made the Guinness Book of World Records for most miles driven by a single owner in a non-commercial vehicle.
Today, Gordon breaks his own record every time he drives, whether it's to Cincinnati for coffee, Rolla, Mo., for lunch or Green River, Wyo., for dinner. And now, the treasured Volvo P1800 continues to roll through the ages despite the wear of road and time, Gordon - like any mighty record-holder at the top of his game - has begun to think about his legacy.
'My goal is to reach three million miles in the next five years,' Gordon §äid. 'But, whether I reach that mark is more up to me than it is the car. The car's parts may be able to take it, but I'm not so sure about my own.
'I turn 72 on July 15, 2012,' he added. 'That seems like a nice day to clock three million and park the car once and for all. It will be a fantastic testament to the engineering genius of Volvo as well as to the resiliency of folks my age.
'I'll also feel comfortable that three million miles is a record that no one will ever be able to reach in the same car,' Gordon continued. 'That is, unless Barry Bonds decides to start driving his car more after he retires from baseball.'Slowing the Pace in Recent Years
Through the late '90s and early part of this decade, Gordon had been driving at a near fanatical pace of well over 100,000 miles per year, peaking in March 2002 when he gained worldwide attention for turning two million miles while driving down Broadway in Times Square. Today, to reach his next milestone, he is allowing a more conservative pace of 80,000 miles per year, thanks in large part to doctor's orders.
'You tire a little easier when you reach my age,' Gordon §äid. 'Gone are the nights when I'd be driving through Nebraska at 3 a.m. on I-80 West, jacked up on two pots of delicious Waffle House coffee.
'Last year, when my doctor told me I could no longer drive 24 hours at a time, 1,000 miles a day, I thought he was out of his mind, but I now realize he's right,' Gordon §äid. 'Today, I get a full night's sleep, eat healthy and take eight days to drive cross country, rather than six. The car gets plenty of exercise no matter how I plan each trip.'Gordon Seeking New Places to Drive
Gordon drives for the pure pleasure of driving but, these days, what motivates him most is an invitation to drive to an event to show off his car and visit friends. As he drives toward three million miles, he's looking for new places to go.
'I've traveled pretty much every Interstate in the Ú.S. many times over, so these days I'm looking for fresh, alternative routes and sights,' Gordon §äid. 'I'm hoping for some invitations to some faraway places like Europe, Australia or Hawaii.
'I can hold my own with almost any trucker at any truck stop in any country - discussing roads, construction, or the best nearby, small-town diner with a good cup of decaf and piece of raisin toast.'What to Do After 3 Million
Gordon is unsure what to do with his Volvo after three million miles, though he has considered selling it for no less than one dollar per each mile he's driven.
'I also think it should go in a nice, cozy museum where people will get to enjoy seeing the car that beat the odds - all with the same engine, same radio, same axles, same transmission and of course the same driver,' Gordon §äid.
'So, maybe I'll sell it. Maybe I'll donate it to a museum,' he concluded. 'Who knows? Maybe I'll keep driving it.'Source - Volvo