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!