Volvo P1800

Contents:

Specifications

Production years
1961 - 1973
Production volume
47,484
Engine type
Transversely mounted straight 4
Transmission
M40 manual four-speed gearbox
-
M41 manual four-speed gearbox with electrically actuated overdrive
-
Borg-Warner three-speed automatic
Brakeing system
1961 - 1970, front disc breaks and rear drums
-
1970 - 1973, disc breaks on all four wheels
Curb Weight
1,130kg - 1,285kg
Class
Sports car
Body style
2 door coupe
Layout
FR (Engine at Front, Drive at Rear wheels)
Wheelbase
8' 1"
Length
14' 4.25"
Height
5' 6.5"

Volvo P1800 for Sale

More Volvo P1800s for sale

History:

The P1800 was Volvos first successful sports car. It was in production from 1961 to 1973, producing 39,407 coupe and 8,077 sports estates. The P1800 was designed by Pelle Pettersson, the son of the consultant engine Helmer Pettersson who was brought in to head up the project after his success with the Volvo PV444. The project started in 1957 and was a big gamble for Volvo - Volvos first attempt at a Sports car the P1900 which only sold 68 cars.

The first portotype of the P1800, the X1 was test driven in 1957, with plans to launch the car in December 1958. But Karmann the company chosen to produce the P1800 ran in to difficulties, when Volkswagen, there biggest customer threatened to terminate all there contracts with Karmann if they took on the new Volvo, as they where afraid it would impact on the sale of there cars. Volvo searched around for other companies to take on the production but could not find any that would met their stricked quality and reliability standards. The P1800 was shelved by Volvo, but when a Press release was mistakenly issued with an image of the car, Volvo had to acknowledge the project and started again to look for a new company to build the car. The search lead Volvo Jensen Motors, who where commissioned to build the 10,000 of P1800.

The P1800 was reviled to the public in 1960 at the Brussels Motor Show and production started in 1961. The project again ran in to difficulties after quality issues forced Volvo to cut the production short to just 6,000 down from the original 10,000. Volvo switched production in-house to there Gothenburg plant in 1963, the car was updated and given a new designation the P1800S. The updated model had an improved 115bhp engine and was called 'S' not for Sport but for 'Swedish' assembly. Production of the S continued till 1970 when it was updated again to the E model.

The E model contained many new updates including a 130bhp fuel-injected engine and disc breaks on all four wheels. Top speed went from 109mph in the S to 120mph reaching 62mph in 9.5seconds. In 1972 came the Sports Estate something Volvo would be famous for.

The P1800ES started production in 1971 and produced only 8,077 in it's limited run. The deign of the ES went out to two different design houses, Coggiola and Pietro Frua. Frua's design was nicknamed Raketen, "the Rocket" in Swedish. Both designs where considered too futuristic, so Volvo turned in-house to Jan Wilsgard who came up with the final design. The ES paved the way for many cars after it. The Volvo 480 and later the C30 have many styling queues from the ES. Volvos love of fast and sport estates can be traced back to this seminal car. Some people said it was Volvos last Sports car.

Production of the 1800 range ended as a result of the competition, the Jaguar E-Type which in some countries was cheaper then the P1800 and partly to do with the strict emissions standers being introduced to the US which made a redesign of the car un-cost effective.

Record Braking:

The highest millage car in the world is a 1966 Volvo 1800S as recored by the Guinness book of world records. Owner Irv Gordon from New York has had the car for more then 40 years. In 2004 the car had coved 2,219,751miles, in 2007 did 2,600,000 and in 2,700,000 in 2009. For his 70th Birthday Gordon clocked up 2,800,000miles.

Fame:

The Volvo P1800 was driven by Roger Moore playing Simon Templar in the hit TV series The Saint. The show started in 1962 and ran till 1969, the P1800 played a staring role throughout the series. Originaly the opportunity to star in the show was given to Jaguar and their new E-Type but they turned down the offer as they decided they did not need the extra publicity. Volvo was then offered the role so Volvo supplied them with two P1800s and then later with a P1800S. Roger Moore was so taken with the car he brought one for himself.

Models:

P1800, went in to production in 1961. it had a B18B, 1.8lt Straight 4 twin carb engine with pushrod over head valves, production 100bhp at 5500rpm. The car was assembled by Jensen Motors and had a limited run of just 6000 cars over the 2 years of production.

P1800S, production of the P1800 was moved to Volvo's assembly plant in Gothenburg. The car was given a new designation the P1800S, S standing for Swedish production. The car had some upgrades, a redeveloped engine now producing 108bhp at 5,800rpm, a better braking system and some interior changes. Between 1965 and 1969 the car had several engine up grease the best of which was the B20 2lt developing 118bhp at 5800rpm. There where also further upgrades to the braking system including Dual circuit setup.

P1800E, in 1969 the E was introduced. It had a upgraded B20E engine with fuel-injection, output raised to 130bhp at 6000rpm. It was also given discs breaks on all four wheels and an uprated gear box in the shape of ZF gearbox. There where also some body work changes the production of which was moved to Olofstrom, Sweden and featured new matt black grill with matching extractors in the rear wings to improve ventilation, a new dash and alloy wheels.

P1800ES, in 1971 the Volvo 1800ES was introduced. This was an estate version of the P1800. The engine compression was reduced on the B20E engine given an output of 125bhp, but this improved preformace of the engine in reword driving. The car featured an all glass boot lid. Both the ES and E where in production together until the P1800 line was stopped in 1973.

The Engines

B18B

Use
1961 to 1968
BHP
100bhp @ 5500rpm
-
increased to 108bhp in 1963
-
increased to 115bhp in 1965
Capacity
1778cc
Bore / Stroke
84mm X 80mm
Fuel System
Twin carburettor

B20

Use
1968 to 1969
BHP
118bhp @ 5800rpm
Capacity
1986cc
Bore / Stroke
89mm X 80mm
Fuel System
Twin SU or Twin Stromberg carburettors

B20E

Use
1969 to 1973
BHP
130bhp @ 6000rpm
-
125bhp
Capacity
1986cc
Bore / Stroke
89mm X 80mm
Fuel System
Fuel-injection
Notes
In 1972 the B20E had the compression decreased for the 1800ES, this dropped BHP to 125, but increased real world performance

B20F

Use
1962 to 1963
BHP
112bhp
Capacity
1986cc
Bore / Stroke
89mm X 80mm
Fuel System
Fuel-injection
Notes
Emissions engine for America

Recommended Books: