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Volvo P1800 buying guide (1961-1973)

Volvo P1800 buying guide (1961-1973) Classic and Performance Car
Volvo P1800 buying guide (1961-1973) Volvo P1800 buying guide (1961-1973) Ever since it built its first car in 1927, Volvo has become renowned for safe, strong and reliable family cars such as the PV444, PV544 and Amazon. The thought of a sporty model from the Swedish company was utterly fanciful in the early 1960s, but that’s exactly what appeared when the wraps were taken off the P1800 at the 1960 Brussels motor show. While early 1800s did little to bolster Volvo’s image for well-built cars, the model did change buyers’ views on what Volvo stood for when it came to style and performance. Buy one of your own and it might just do the same for you.

It’s easy to overlook the 1800, because it’s unusual and not British, so it gets relatively little coverage in the classic press. Yet these coupés (and the estates too) are good to drive and very usable, and they’re tough too. Values have climbed in recent years so their desirability is at last being recognised. If you’re looking for a classic that you can use all year round though, few fit the bill better than this stylish Swede. Just ask Irv Gordon; he’s the chap who has covered two million miles in his, with little more than regular oil changes.

Which one to buy?

With fewer than 50,000 cars made, the 1800 is rarer than you might think – especially as many of those have now rusted away. The earlier cars with the cow-horn bumpers are especially collectible, but any 1800 is sought after, although autos don’t have such a following and it’s the coupes that everyone wants, rather than the estates.

The later the car the more power it has, but an 1800’s spec doesn’t really affect values all that much. Until 1968 the B18 engine was fitted, which means a 1780cc four-pot that originally pushed out 100bhp. From 1963 there was 108bhp on tap and post-1965 cars have an even handier 115bhp.

In 1968 the unit was bored out to become the B20, with a capacity of 1986cc, which boosted power to 118bhp, but this powerplant (the 1800S) was offered for just a year before the fuel-injected 1800E appeared. With 130bhp on tap, this is the model to go for, but there aren’t many of them around.

Performance and specs

Engine 1986cc, four-cylinder
Power 130bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 123lb ft @ 3500rpm
Top speed 112mph
0-60mph 9.6sec
Consumption 24mpg
Gearbox Four-speed manual/overdrive

Common Problems

• The 1800 tends to rust badly, and with replacement panels very costly you should think twice about taking on a project. Corrosion initially takes hold in the front panels, especially around the headlamps and sidelights, front wheelarch lips and sills.

• Genuine Volvo panels need to be used for sill repairs, as they’re the only ones with the correct profile. Original panels will feature a series of vertical grooves just below the doors, while pattern parts will not. It’s also worth using a magnet to find any filler

• The front crossmember also rots. This box section is notoriously difficult to repair properly due to poor access, so pulling the engine out is the only way to get at it.

• More nasty rust spots to look out for are the steering box mountings, and front outriggers; the former is a chassis leg, making repairs a long and involved process that are vital for your safety and an MoT pass.

• Also check the fuel filler surround, floorpans and all major panels. Water in the footwells could be down to a leaking heater valve. If you are lucky, the vent at the bottom of the windscreen could be clogged up, which is an easy fix. The possibility is that the windscreen might be letting in water through an old and brittle seal. Unfortunately the only repair is to pull it out and re-fit.

• Poorly repaired accident damage is also common. The sculpted rear panels attract small car park dents, while the front end is easily damaged. Finding replacements is almost impossible, so repairs (both good and bad) are not uncommon.

• Engines are durable if the oil is changed every 6000 miles. One good way to spot a cherished car is that it will have a genuine Volvo oil filter fitted, complete with the all-important non-return valve. Cheaper pattern parts that don’t have the valve inside will starve the engine’s bearings of oil when starting from cold.

• Gearboxes are astonishingly durable, just keep an eye on the fluid level. All UK-market cars also got overdrive; if this is temperamental, it’s probably an electrical fault that’s easily cured.

• If the steering feels heavy, it suggests that the steering box has been overtightened to remove any play; the result will eventually be a damaged box when it wears, and replacement boxes are scarce.

• The Suspension is tough, with just one major weakness - the top wishbone bushes. Replacing them is easy and cheap, which is just as well given the high wear rate.

• Later fuel-injected 1800s have stronger dual-circuit brakes. Makes sure the ATE servo is in good health and the system should last well. Replacement units are not being manufactured and spares are thin on the ground, so you’ll have to get used to not having any servo assistance. Earlier cars feature a reliable Girling servo, and although this item can’t be replaced either, there is the option of a Lockheed item.

• Interior trim is hard to source but generally durable, although dashboards crack, with repairs impossible and replacements extinct. All 1800s had leather seats, so look out for cracked leather and split seams.

• A dynamo was fitted right up to 1966; after that an alternator was specified. There are a lot of Lucas components, which suffer from corroded contacts, while the Bosch parts are much less troublesome. All external electrical parts are Lucas while everything underneath is Bosch. Most electrical issues can be traced to a problematic fusebox, on the nearside inner wing.

Model history

1960: The P1800 coupé debuts at the Brussels auto show.
1961: The first cars are delivered, built by Jensen and featuring a 1780cc (B18) engine.
1963: Volvo transfers assembly to Sweden. The car becomes known as the 1800S (for Sweden) and power jumps from 100bhp to 108bhp.
1968: There’s now a 1986cc (B20) engine and dual-circuit brakes.
1969: The 1800E arrives with all-round disc brakes and Bosch fuel injection (E for Einspritz, German for fuel injection).
1971: A three-speed Borg-Warner automatic gearbox becomes available for the first time. Also, the 1800ES arrives. It’s a sports estate mechanically identical to the 1800E.
1972: The final 1800 coupé is made (the 39,407th example).
1973: The last 1800ES is built.

Key clubs and websites

• www.classicvolvo.com
• www.volvo-classics.com
• http://volvo1800pictures.com
• www.p1800.com

Words: Richard Dredge
Volvo P1800 buying guide (1961-1973) Volvo P1800 buying guide (1961-1973)
Last updated: 30th Jun 2015
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Volvo P1800 cars for sale

15 Search results
Volvo P1800
9000 49950 GBP
  • Volvo P1800 S

    POA POA

    - Manual Overdrive car supplied new by agents Mid-Surrey Motors (Byfleet) Ltd - Restored 2007 - 2008 and sparingly used since purchase by the vendor in 2012 - Horizon Blue with Black interior Based on a design exercise by the Swedish-born Pelle Petterson whilst working at Frua, the Volvo P1800 sports car was officially unveiled at the January 1960 Brussels Salon. Powered by a 1782cc OHV four-cylinder engine breathing through twin SU carburettors, allied to a four-speed manual gearbox, it was capable of over 100mph. This most attractive manual overdrive example is finished in a rare shade of Horizon Blue which was only available for two years. Complimented by a black interior, the car was subject to a thorough restoration between 2007 and 2008 by a previous owner. Contract Paint Co of Winchester carried out any necessary welding and a bare-metal re-spray, while the brightwork was re-plated by the London Chroming Company. The front seats were retrimmed in leather and Moto-Lita of Thruxton, Hampshire supplied the wood-rim steering wheel. Mechanical work included an engine overhaul, re-bore and unleaded conversion by marque specialists Deaconcraft Limited of Chiswick whilst parts were

    • Year: 1966
    For sale
    H and H
  • Volvo P1800ES 1973 - Good Condition

    £9,000 £9,000

    Latest model Volvo P1800ES from 1973. The car is in good condition. . Many new parts on the car. It has really been taken care of. 123 bhp, 4 seats, 3 doors, blue interior, white colorI am selling the car to the highest bidder over £9000. The car is in Norway, Oslo Area. 150000km on the odometer. It is possible to drive it from Norway.

    For sale
  • Volvo P1800 S Coupe 1968

    €39,950(£34,564.74) €39,950(£34,564.74)

    Volvo P1800 S coupe 1968 Dark Green in very good condition This magnificent Volvo P 1800 S was delivered in 1968 in the original dark green paint (94) with very beautiful chrome details. This Volvo has the original 1780 CC, 108 HP engine. The car drives really great and has a lot of comfort. The interior has black leather, beautiful aluminium dashboard and an original Volvo radio. A lot of invoices of maintenance are present. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1968
    For sale
  • Volvo P1800 S coupe 1967

    €42,950(£37,160.34) €42,950(£37,160.34)

    Volvo P1800 S coupe 1967 sunroof installed by dealer This beautiful Volvo P 1800 S was delivered in 1967 with a Volvo sunroof, installed by the dealer. The Volvo has Hella Classic high beam headlights and original GT wheels. The technical in very good condition engine delivers 108 HP and drives great. The interior has a beautiful aluminium dashboard with original steering wheel. This Volvo P1800 S drives great and is perfect for touring. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1967
    For sale
  • Volvo P1800ES Station 1973

    POA POA

    *** THIS CAR HAS BEEN SOLD *** Please contact us if you were interested in this car. Our inventory is constantly changing and we will have similar examples of this model becoming available soon. ----------------------------- Volvo P1800 ES Automatic 1973 in very good condition 1973 Volvo P1800ES. The car has become new green paint in 2010 (46.650 miles) and that is why this car is in a very excellent condition. The chrome, brown leather interior etc are in a very beautiful condition also. The car has the 2.0 ltr injection engine and automatic gearbox. The engine was revised in 2006 (39.369 miles) and the gearbox in 2008 (43.550 miles). Invoices are available. In november 2014 the car has had maintenance service. So a really beautiful car for those who love this version, in which was invested a lot. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1973
    For sale
  • Volvo P1800E Coupe 1971

    POA POA

    *** THIS CAR HAS BEEN SOLD *** Please contact us if you were interested in this car. Our inventory is constantly changing and we will have similar examples of this model becoming available soon. ----------------------------- Volvo P1800E Coupe 1971 2.0 ltr injection in good condition 1971 Volvo P1800E convertible in good condition. The yellow paint, the black interior and chromeworks etc are very neat. This car was registered in Holland since 1977 and had only 1 owner through all these years. It has the original powerful 1985 CC injection engine with 130 HP. Runs and drives great. When you are looking for a beautiful and technical marvellous P1800E, than this one is a good choice. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1971
    For sale
  • Volvo P1800E Coupe 1970

    POA POA

    SOLD/VERKAUFT/VENDU/VERKOCHT Volvo P1800E coupe 1970, fully restored in 2016, as good as new The P1800E was introduced in 1970 and was the injection version of the P1800S. This is a 1970 P1800E, built in Göteborg in colour Steel Blue Metallic (102, in combination with a black leather interior (329-627). The car was fully restored in 2016 and is as good as new. The car has the 1986 CC (B20), injection engine with 130 HP and manual gearbox. The P1800E is the last P1800 built and is famous for his great driving skills. The interest for the P1800E is increased lately, so this is not only a great car to see and drive, but also a good investment. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1970
    For sale
  • Volvo P1800 E Coupe 1971

    €41,950(£36,295.14) €41,950(£36,295.14)

    Volvo P1800 E coupe 1971, overdrive, new Safari Yellow paint. This is a 1971 Volvo P 1800E. Both the in- and outside are in a very beautiful and very well maintained condition. Recently the car was repainted in a new Safari Yellow paint, beautiful in combination the the black interior. The Volvo is technical fully controlled and repaired. The 1986CC, 4Cyl. 130HP injection engine is in top condition and attached to a 4 speed manual gearbox, with overdrive. From 1994 till 2016 the car has got only one owner and was very well maintained. A lot if invoices are present. Obviously, this car runs great. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1971
    For sale
  • Volvo P1800 S coupe 1968

    POA POA

    SOLD / VERKAUFT / VENDU / VERKOCHT Volvo P 1800 S coupe 1968, 2.0 ltr in good condition This Volvo P 1800 S was delivered in 1968 in colour red. The car is in a neat drivers condition with some traces of use. The car has the original wheels. This Volvo has black leather interior and aluminium dashboard in original condition. This Volvo has the original B20, 1985 CC, 130 HP engine and manual gearbox with overdrive. The Volvo P 1800 S is a classic car with a lot of potential. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1968
    For sale
  • Volvo P 1800 S coupe 2.0 1969

    €49,950(£43,216.74) €49,950(£43,216.74)

    SOLD / VERKAUFT / VENDU / VERKOCHT Volvo P 1800 S coupe 2.0 1969, double carburators, TOP restoration A really beautiful 1969 Volvo P 1800 S 2.0 (the oly production year), fully restored by the master restorer Piet Mozes. The Volvo has beautiful red paint, a great combination with the GT wheels and the Hella headlights. The interior has black leather and the original aluminium dashboard. This P 1800 S has the original b20 1985 CC engine with double carburators and overdrive. A beautiful, TOP restored Volvo P 1800 S from the most popular year 1969. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1969
    For sale
  • Volvo P1800 Coupe 1961

    €49,950(£43,216.74) €49,950(£43,216.74)

    Volvo P1800 early Jensen, number 3273 built in very good condition. The Volvo P1800 Jensen was built between 1961 and 1963, only 6000 were built by Jensen Motors in West Bromwich. This is a 1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen with special bumpers and is number 3273 from 6000 built. The car is in very good restored condition. The car has very beautiful red paint, original wheels and a marvelous black leather interior. The original B18 4 cyl engine with double carbs has 1778 CC and 100 HP. Technics fully checked in our workshop and in great condition. So a very beautiful, rare and good driving Jensen and a good investment. Car has German title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1961
    For sale
  • Volvo P1800 S Coupe 1966

    POA POA

    SOLD / VERKAUFT / VENDU / VERKOCHT Volvo P1800 S coupe 1966 restored This beautiful piece of Swedish design was delivered in 1966 and fully restored in 2016 in the original white Volvo colour. The really marvellous interior has red leather with black leather details, the combination ‘The Saint’ also had, back then. The original dashboard has the original steering wheel and beautiful chrome clocks. This perfect driving Volvo P 1800 S is not only a beautiful design but a great driving experience too. Car has German title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1966
    For sale
  • Volvo P1800 E coupe 1971

    €39,950(£34,564.74) €39,950(£34,564.74)

    SOLD / VERKAUFT / VENDU / VERKOCHT Volvo P1800 E coupe 1971, restored in 2016, automatic gearbox This Volvo P1800 E was built in 1971 and has the beautiful original ‘Cypress Green’ paint, beautiful in combination with the chromepartes and the original Volvo wheels. The car has beige leather interior and chrome details. The beautiful dashboard has wood accents. The car is restored in 2016 and is in topcondition. The Volvo P1800 E has the original Volvo airco. The car has the original 1986CC (B20), 130 HP injection engine and an automatic gearbox. This Volvo P1800 is not only great to drive, it’s a good investment also. Car has USA title and document importduties for every EU country are paid by us. Documentation is complete for registration in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importduties. We can help with transport. Trading in, buying and consignment possible.

    • Year: 1971
    For sale
  • Volvo P1800 S Coupe 1969

    POA POA

    Volvo P1800S 1969 original 2.0 ltr body off restored The Volvo P1800S with the 2.0 ltr B20B engine with double carburators was built between August 1968 and July 1969. Only 1693 were built. This is a 1969 Volvo P1800S. The car is in a beautiful, fully body off restored condition. The car has marvelous white paint, original 1800S wheels and extra Lucas high beam headlights, which is a great combination with the red leather interior and red leather dashboard with white stitching. The engine is the original fully revised 1986 CC (B20B) 100 HP engine. Car has Belgian title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1969
    For sale
  • 1972 Volvo P1800E Sport Coupe

    POA POA

    (SOLD) This very original 1972 P1800E is finished in crisp white paint over a black interior with tan carpets. Driven sparingly, the Volvo presents as an attractive car that is ready for driving. The paint and bodywork are attractive and tidy, and the exterior trim is complete and in good condition. The stylish interior features black upholstery, original instruments, along with a AM/FM/cassette stereo. Mechanically, the p1800E features Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection and the four-speed overdrive manual transmission’s performance is brisk, as the B20 produces plenty of torque. The P1800E is a wonderful driver’s car that is easy to drive and full of the classic styling that collectors and enthusiasts look for - making this Volvo an excellent choice for the new classic car collector and enthusiast.

    • Year: 1972
    For sale
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