Volvo P1800 P1800S P1800E and P1800ES for sale

Volvo P1800, P1800S, P1800E and P1800ES cars for sale

It all started with Volvo wanting to have a sportscar in their model range. For a long time, everybody thought that it was Frua that made the design for Volvo, but during later years Volvo has confessed it was actually Pelle Pettersson who drew the design for the beautiful Volvo P1800.

I divide the Volvo P1800 models into three series. Starting with P1800 built from 1961-1962. These cars are often referred to as Jensen cars since they were built by Jensen in the UK. The second series is the Volvo P1800S. A lot of people think that S is for sport, but it refers to that the cars were now built in Sweden. The final series is the Volvo P1800E and P1800ES cars.


Volvo P1800 Jensen 1961-1962

The cars with chassi number up to 6,000 were built by the Jensen factory in the UK. However, already after two years Volvo thought the quality was not good enough and brought the production home to Gothenburg. In my personal opinion, these are the most beautiful cars in the P1800 range. The have the chrome bumpers with the bend in the front and in the back they follow the car a little bit further than the later cars. Inside the P1800 Jensen had low seats and in the back there were two small cushions and a little storage space underneath the parcel shelf. The early Volvo coupe was available in three colours only. Red, white and metallic grey. All Jensen cars had a greyish carpet and either red or white interior. Many pieces on these cars were of much higher quality than later cars. For example, the thin trim strips around the windows were actually chrome, while later on just aluminium. The beautiful air intake became too expensive to produce, therefore an aluminium piece later replaced it. Doors never fitted well on a P1800 and perhaps this issue was the biggest on these early cars. Not even Volvos own factory photos can hide this flaw. The engines produced 100hp and overdrive was an option in the beginning. Also, there was the choice between vinyl or leather. Cars were not fitted with mirrors from Volvo. There is a wonderful book written by Mats Eriksson and Kenneth Collander on these early Volvos. Se video on our car on YouTube here


Volvo P1800S 1963-1969

So, the production came back to Sweden and the cars from here on were named Volvo P1800S. In the beginning, most components came from the UK and the only difference was that the cars were assembled in Gothenburg Sweden. Over the years, the engines gained some horsepower and for the very final year in 1969 came the B20 engine. My personal experience is that it is not so much what horsepower the car had on the paper. What is more important is how the engine has been maintained and that it has the correct parts. Many Volvo P1800S got an engine from a Volvo Amazon. This does not matter so much as long as you have the head and cam still from P1800, since that is where the difference is. And of course, all P1800 cars have twin SU carburettors (until 1969). They do not give so much extra power, but they look nice. Just make sure there is not too much play in the axle between the carbs, since then they become very difficult to adjust properly. Everything is easy on a Volvo which makes it the perfect beginner’s classic. Parts for vintage Volvos are easy to come by in most parts of the world and I order most parts from VP-Autoparts in Sweden. Instruments were always from Smiths in the UK and they often fail to deliver. If the clock is working, it has for sure been rebuilt. Simon Templar, also known as The Saint, wanted a Jaguar, but had to settle for a Volvo P1800. This boosted the sale for Volvo with a peak in the mid-sixties.

Volvo P1800E and ES 1970-1973

Then, Volvo finally adopted the Bosch fuel injection system for the P1800E and ES models. We are now in 1970 and these cars have a very different feel to the early ones. The seats have built in headrests. The beautiful dashboard with the airplane styled instruments are gone and replaced by fake wood and flat black instruments. Even if I was blindfolded, I could tell I am in a Volvo after riding 30 meters in one of these. Once in while you find one that is just right, and it is very nice. The American P1800ES cars have hideous bumpers, but they probably have saved them when they got hit by some old Chevy Caprice. These bumpers are fairly easy to rectify. However, stay away from American cars with automatic gearbox, if you plan to sometimes leave the city with your car. The European Volvo P1800E automatic cars on the other hand are a completely different story. They are just wonderful.


Buy or sell your Volvo P1800

Here at Classix we often have vintage Volvo cars for sale. Check our inventory here.

Here is few classic Volvos previously sold.
Volvo P1800S 1963


What is the value of my Volvo P1800?

The values on classic cars tend to change faster and faster these days. For this reason, we suggest you check some of the online value guides or some magazines. Oldtimer Markt Preise is one of these in Germany and Hagerty is another one in the UK and USA. Classix in Sweden has bought and sold many Volvo P1800 cars over the years. We probably have one in stock for you right now. Or, if you are considering to sell your car, let us know before advertising it.



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