The attractively styled Volvo 1800S of the 1960s remains a fairly affordable example of a European GT
The 1960s were an incredible time to be shopping for a sports car. No matter what you were interested in – big engine, small engine, convertible, coupe – you could find something that you liked. Better yet you could find something that was affordable as well. It might not be the Ferrari 250 GT/L Lusso that you most wanted, but you could instead buy a good-looking Volvo 1800S.
The Volvo might not have a V12 engine under the hood, but it did offer dramatic styling, leather seats and enough power to be fun behind the wheel. What you did not have were the high service costs or the thirst for fuel of that Ferrari.
Basically, as the Volvo ads said at the time: “What’s it like to own a $10,000 car? Find out for $3,995.”
The Pick of the Day presents a continuation of that opportunity, adjusted for 50 years of inflation: a 1966 Volvo 1800S coupe, finished in Volvo light blue (a rare color) with a black leather interior, offered for a reasonable $24,900.
According to the Sylvania, Ohio, dealer advertising the 1800S on ClassicCars.com, the car spent most of its life in California and Utah, and it remains very solid with original doors and a very good undercarriage, with a body that is straight and dent-free, and showing no signs of accident damage.
The car was repainted back in the early ’80s with some touchups since then, the dealer adds, and the chrome is original and in good condition showing normal age, backed up by the many pictures in the ad. The dealer divulges that the windshield has three stone chips and a small crack in the lower left corner, that the wheels have a fresh coat of silver paint and have nice trim rings and hub caps, and new tires. The interior appears in the photos to be correct and in good condition.
The drivetrain (including the overdrive unit) performs as it should and has received recent normal maintenance, the seller says, the brakes function properly and that the electrical system and gauges all work, with the exception of the temp gauge and clock, both of which can be troublesome on the 1800.
I once owned a 1966 Volvo 800S and found it to be a fantastic classic GT car. During that time, I took it on two cross-country trips from Connecticut to Monterey, California, and one two rallies, and showed it in numerous shows. It was a wonderful car and offered a tremendous amount of fun for very little money.
Every time you get behind the wheel of a Volvo 1800S, you can’t escape the feeling that you are a British secret agent heading off to an assignment in some exotic locale. You can blame that on the late Sir Roger Moore who made the car famous in the TV show The Saint. People who see the car on the road tend to think the same thing, so be ready to answer a lot of questions when you stop anywhere, never a bad thing.
There are very few deals on 1960s GT cars anymore. The Alfa Romeo GTVs have gotten very expensive and while they offer higher-spec engines, they do not begin to approach the 1800S for styling. The mechanicals of the Volvo are also much simpler to deal with and parts are both plentiful and inexpensive.
The biggest enemy of the 1800S is rust. The pictures in this ad show me a car that looks to be in good shape with both body seams present and a floor pan and sub frame that are in nice shape. The only rust I could detect was at the bottoms of the doors, and that looked to be minor. I would not rush to restore this car; it would be a great 1800S to drive for a few years and then restore as its value continues to increase.
Over the past few years, the 1800-series cars have slowly crept up in value and are just starting to be sold for what I feel they are worth. The price tag for this Volvo represents a fair deal for an example as honest as this one appears to be.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day