How Long Will The Sexy Volvo P1800 Coupé Stay Off Collectors’ Radar?
Photography Courtesy of Auctions America
For cars like the Porsche 911, it’s easy to see why they’re so inflated: everyone wants one. For other classics, their commanding value isn’t so black and white. Take the Volvo P1800, for instance. They’re rare enough to catch the average bystander off guard, they’re powered by a front mounted inline four-cylinder that rotates the rear wheels, and they have looks on par with many higher end autos of similar vintage.
If you want to feel like an MI6 agent, the coupe is perfect. If you’re more of the utilitarian type, you’re in luck because the P1800 was offered as a stylish shooting brake—and one of the all time coolest (in an admittedly small genre).
So, why hasn’t The Saint’s car of choice skyrocketed in value? I have no idea, but mark my words: if you’ve always fancied a P1800, you need to buy one now. Like, right now, because they’re climbing the market in delayed response to many others, and it’d be a shame if you missed out on a dream car! Thankfully, there are plenty listed for sale on the world’s largest used car lot: the Internet. How about this zany colored 1967 Volvo P1800 S Coupé headed to Auctions America in Auburn?
In the late 1950s, Volvo began developing a car aimed to compete with its European counterparts. In the age of pinnacle Bertone and Pininfarina design, the Swedes had some stiff competition. Engineering consultant Helmer Petterson was hired to lead the program. Helmer subsequently hired his son, Pelle Petterson, to design the P1800, who just so happened to be working for Italian coachbuilder Pietro Frua.
Volvo didn’t have the means to manufacture the P1800 in-house so Karmann was chosen to build the chassis. Unfortunately, Karmann backed out after signing a deal with Volkswagen. Finally, after struggling to find an outfit that met Volvo’s quality control standards, Jensen Motors was contracted for the first 10,000 units until Volvo could afford to take over production in 1963. Built from 1961 to 1973, approximately 48,000 P1800 were produced.
This ’67 Coupe is powered by a 1,778 cc twin-carbureted four-cylinder mated to a four-speed manual M41 transmission good for about 115 horsepower. No, it’s not a high-strung sports car, but it is a comfortable GT you could enjoy for miles… and miles, and miles, and miles. Inside, you’ll find a set of attractive teal-center Smiths gauges and an AM/FM/cassette deck… and that’s about it. Other than new carpet, the interior remains largely original including the headliner, seats, and dashboard.
The listing doesn’t specify, but at some point the car underwent a cosmetic restoration and, overall, presents nicely. The pistachio green paint is said to be in good condition throughout and the original steel wheels are complete with their proper center caps. Judging from the photos, this looks like an honest little Swedish coupe with no obvious signs of neglect or corrosion—under hood looks clean and tidy.
Brilliant engineers are stuffing marvelous technology into modern cars, but our petrolhead preferences aren’t seeking cryptic computer interference between the steering wheel and the road. We want authentic tactile feedback only classic cars can provide. Unfortunately, the answers to this search are limited to what old vehicles remain, making values rise parallel to demand. Why the P1800 is still affordable is beyond me, but if you want one: buy one now!
~115 horsepower p, 1.8-liter 1,778 cc inline four-cylinder, four-speed manual transmission, front independent and rear live axle suspension, front disc and rear drums brakes. Wheelbase: 2,450 mm.
Chassis no.: 183451 M
Auction house: Auctions America
Estimate: $15,000 – $20,000 (No reserve)
Price realized: Auction on May 7