Assar Gabrielsson, director of Volvo in the 1950s, saw that Corvette was an ‘image booster’ for the Chevrolet brand. His reaction to this was a new concept for Volvo’s own model range; the P1900. Unfortunately, due to considerable quality problems, this did not turn out to be a success. His second attempt became a success, until today; the Volvo P1800. It was common knowledge that the Italians were good at designing breathtaking coaches. That’s why Ghia and Frua were asked to make the new sketch. The final prototype was made by Frua.
Because of capacity problems in Sweden, Karmann was asked to build the P1800. When Volkswagen, Karmann’s main client at the time, became aware of this, they threatened to terminate all contracts from Volkswagen. Fortunately, Volvo quickly found a new candidate; Jensen. In 1961 the first P1800 rolled off the assembly line in England.
The engine block (type name B18B) was based on Volvo’s V8 truck engine, which was sawn through the middle. By using aluminium engine parts, the engine weighed only 143 kilos. Despite several attempts from Volvo, Jensen did not deliver the same build quality that Volvo is known for. Again, the brand was stubborn, building a new assembly plant in Sweden to ensure their quality. To clarify this, the P1800S was born. The S stands for ‘Swedish Assembly’. Together with the new engine, the 2 liter with 118 Swedish horses, this became a great success.
Our Swedish produced P1800s is in real new condition. The Volvo has been completely restored and overhauled. Besides the extensive documentation, this is, in our opinion, also the most beautiful model of the P1800 series. Recognizable by the ‘Cowhorn’ front bumper and the chrome trim which accentuates the shapes of the bodywork.
Who revives the Saint in our Cool Classic?