Market Finds: How Long Will The Sexy Volvo P1800 Coupé Stay Off Collectors’ Radar?

How Long Will The Sexy Volvo P1800 Coupé Stay Off Collectors’ Radar?

By Andrew Golseth
April 25, 2016
26 Comments

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!

Specifications
~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.

Vehicle information
Chassis no.: 183451 M

Valuation
Auction house: Auctions America
Estimate: $15,000 – $20,000 (No reserve)
Price realized: Auction on May 7

 

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Greg Hankerson
Greg Hankerson
8 years ago

Yes this is an up and coming car. Thanks to the video you did on Bathy’s, my interest peaked on this car and I bought a 62 Jensen last month. It’s pretty cherry and I know is going to go up in value over the next couple years.

Patrick Peters
Patrick Peters
8 years ago

@ Amir, lets not only drive tastefully but also respond tastefully shall we?

Bathys Hawaii
Bathys Hawaii
8 years ago

The 1800 is definitely still undervalued. We did see one recently sell for 100,000 euros though (low mileage car) so values are definitely going up. They’re getting harder to find in good shape and the pre-65 cars seem to be the most collectible. I love my ’64 and big kudos to Petrolicious for coming out to Hawaii to feature my car on their site. For $20k there aren’t many vintage cars with such nice design and performance.

Chris Ribbe
Chris Ribbe
8 years ago

1800 ES is the epitome of the coolest of all car styles:
the sportswagon. My daily driver as a student. If I would have had the funds to change the 2 liter for a Rover V8 …
Some smart Swedish tuning concepts:

Kent Rhodes
Kent Rhodes
8 years ago

I shopped for an P1800ES a year or two ago. I wanted to like it desperately. I just couldn’t get over the fact that it handled like a truck, and a not very good one at that. Beautiful, but all show & no go (unless you modified the crap out of it,,,).

Darel Matthews
Darel Matthews
8 years ago
Reply to  Kent Rhodes

I wouldn’t say NO go, but for a car that has the same HP, curb weight (to the pound) and a lower gear ratio it definitely won’t put the same smile on your face that my TR6 will, but it does handle very nicely. I have rebuilt my entire front and rear suspension and steering, though, is it possible you were driving a tired car? The worm-and-roller steering box is a little more vague than the rack and pinion on the TR6, but other than that, I think it handles excellently. Not going to beat a Camry in a drag race though. For what it’s worth, the bushings I used are NOT poly (trying to maintain maximum ride comfort), I installed progressive springs from VPD, and did NOT go the route of aftermarket sway bars to improve the handling. It’s about as close to stock as you can get these days. I do enjoy driving it, but I’ll say right off the bat, the Volvo looks nicer so I take it when I want to show off. My TR6 looks like absolute garbage (BAD paint) but that straight six is just musical and I drive that when I really want to drive.

Darel Matthews
Darel Matthews
8 years ago
Reply to  Kent Rhodes

To be fair the Volvo is my wife’s and the TR6 is mine, but I get to “exercise” both…

Stephan P
Stephan P
8 years ago

They are on the radar. Jonathan Ward mentioned them in you interview so price should be jumping.

Niklas Wolkert
Niklas Wolkert
8 years ago

Guitar Slinger: Although your tone can be a bit harsh at times, I do appreciate your comments . Keep it up – it makes the site more interesting 😉

Niklas W
Niklas W
8 years ago
Reply to  Niklas Wolkert

Btw: ever considered writing an article yourself and submit it here?

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
8 years ago

Andrew . I as I’ve shown on a few other irrelevant and insulting comments made on the site lately I am more than glad to stick to the issue/subject at hand as long as i am not being attacked . But to be fair this individual has been stalking me from site to site … now unfortunately finding me here . My apologies .. that he has .

B Bop
B Bop
8 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Kleenex ?

Amir Kakhsaz
Amir Kakhsaz
8 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

All you do on this site is attack. You attack the writers, you attack the cars, you attack the current values of the cars, modifications to the cars.

Internet tough guy can dish it, but can’t take it. Irrelevant and insulting? Grab a mirror, that’s YOU!

Gorp
Gorp
8 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

1, Sorry, I’m not your stalker, I don’t comment on the other sites
2, Was not my “like”
3, I’m not your son, probably older than you and therefore, cannot be a hipster

Gorp
Gorp
8 years ago

GS
It’s a sad ,lonely loser that must comment on everything on the internet. ( how many other sites now?) Minor past accomplishments become meaningless once one spirals into that bitter state of inner personal disappointment that causes one to lash out with false superiority.

1
Like

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
8 years ago
Reply to  Gorp

Talk about sad ! How much effort my obsessive and snarky little online stalker/troll do you put into following me around the web in your vain attempts to harass and criticize ? Seeing as how I occasionally post on two other sites : only regularly posting here .. a ( censored ) of a lot obviously . As far as inner disappointments ? Son… you truly have no clue who I am or what I’ve accomplished …. but by your obsessive behavior you make it quite obvious how meaningless and empty your life truly is … not to mention who is the superior one in this conversation … FYI : the fake’ Like’ says everything we need to know about your overall level of maturity as well .

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
8 years ago
Reply to  Gorp

Oh isn’t that cute . Now he’s figured out how to ‘ Like ‘ himself … oh well .. I guess someone has to even if it is only him .

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
8 years ago
Reply to  Gorp

By the way Gorp , Snarkiller , CW Reader , Pillsbury DumbBoy or who ever the ( censored ) you are … since when did the passing on of accurate information not to mention taking the time and effort in order to offer corrections when the information given is incorrect or incomplete suddenly become lashing out with false superiority ?

That some new Snowflake / Revisionist History / Hipster wanna be/ Politically Correct rule I haven’t heard about yet ?

Tom DesRochers
Tom DesRochers
8 years ago

I wonder how much Irv Gordon could get for his 3-million-miler.

JsT Fartin
JsT Fartin
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom DesRochers

Mr Gordon has frequently said he will part with his ’66 1800S for one dollar per mile it has traveled.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
8 years ago

Ahem !

1) Current Porsche prices are OVER inflated … because at the moment they are the current Trend of the Day

2) Just because the P1800’s prices are still reasonable and not over inflated doesn’t mean they’re not on the collectors radar . Fact is the P1800 and especially the P1800ES have been on the collectors radars’ since the 70’s with prices escalating and falling depending on the year [ there was a point in the 90’s where P1800’s and especially P1800ES’s were selling for in excess of $40k or more ] depending on

3) Jensen was dumped [ after only 6000 cars were built ] in 1962 because of the abysmal quality of materials and production ***… in reality Volvo would of preferred to of kept production in the UK for a multitude of reasons including the Aston Martin powered P1800 project that had to be scraped due to the high cost of doing business in two distant places as well as quality problems with Aston Martin

4) ” The Saint ” in both the TV series as well as the books the TV show was based on was not an MI6 agent . Fact is his actual affiliation is unknown and was constantly in question thru out the TV series as well as the books . If anything ” The Saint ” was a rogue independent who worked for what ever cause he deemed worthy .. based more on ‘ Robin Hood ‘ than Jame Bond etc

In other words …. drive a P1800/P1800ES … and you’ll show yourself to be a genuine independent minded iconoclast unaffected by trends or popular culture . Drive a P1800/P1800ES with a Toyota motor transplant … and you’re a downright outlaw … find one of the Toyota powered AWD conversions that were so popular here in the US back in the 90’s … and you’re an absolute heretic .

Personally ? If I could find one of those ES’s done right ? I’d go for heretic all the way

*** Fair warning . Unless its a resto-mod or a serious ground up restoration one would be wise to avoid any of the Jensen built P1800’s

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
8 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

FYI;For future reference as the Brits here will confirm … MI5 works within the UK borders … MI6 is the overseas spy agency . Therefore if ” The Saint ” would of had any affiliation at all .. it would of been with MI5

jolocho
jolocho
8 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

TV Saint had episodes that took place all over the world, mostly where high dollar tourists traveled like Venice, Paris, and the Caribbean. Even still, I doubt an MI6 agent would take a P1800.

Bathys Hawaii
Bathys Hawaii
8 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Jensen made the cars through 1963. First Swedish cars were in 1964. And though the Jensen cars might have had more issues, they and the early 1800s are getting the highest prices.

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