Swede Talker: 1967 Volvo P1800S

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: when was the last time you heard the words “Volvo” and “sports car” in the same sentence? Volvos are famous for being some of the safest and most reliable cars on the road, but they’re also quite boring. However, it wasn’t always this way. Volvo did make a sporty little coupe that was introduced back in 1960: the P1800.

I spotted this Volvo P1800S while on a trip to Jerome, Arizona. These cars exhibit a beautiful streamlined design and the practicality that Swedes are known for. I’m fairly certain this car is a ’67 based on the grille, but if you know otherwise please post a comment and let me know.

The P1800 was first built in England, but due to quality control issues Volvo moved production of the car to Gothenberg, Sweden in 1963. Swedish built models carry an “S” designation at the end of “P1800.”

The car is a two-seater coupe with a 4-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels. In 1966, the P1800 got an upgraded engine that made 115 horsepower and had a top speed of 109 mph. Before he became James Bond, actor Roger Moore drove a P1800 in the 1960s British television show “The Saint.” There’s undoubtedly a cool factor to having one of these cars.

So what happened to the P1800? Apparently, Volvo’s sales were crushed by its main rival: the Jaguar E-Type. Volvo must have decided to leave the sports car business to the other guys, and they threw in the towel on the P1800 in 1973 after building some 47,000 units.

The P1800 is a reminder that Volvo didn’t always make boring cars that look like bricks. This one was (and remains) one of the best looking cars they’ve ever designed, in my opinion. Hope you enjoyed checking out this little car as much as I did!

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One thought on “Swede Talker: 1967 Volvo P1800S

  1. Here’s another interesting fact about this car from the Guiness World Record:

    “A 1966 Volvo P-1800S owned by Irvin Gordon of East Patchogue, New York, USA, had covered in excess of 3,572,342 km (2,219,751 miles) by March 2004. The car is still driven on a daily basis and covers over 160,000 km (100,000 miles) per year, thanks in part to being driven to numerous car shows and events in Europe and the USA.”

    I really dig the Saab Sonett II as well, another very well styled 60’s Swedish sports car. It was available originally with a two-stroke engine, but apparently they needed something barely more powerful, and much more practical… but still strange, so they changed it for a V4.

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