Saintly Volvo P1800 sport coupe

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Volvo
The Volvo P1800 was restored in 2009

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The Volvo P1800 is one of the best values in the classic sports car and GT marketplace today. These are well-constructed cars with great styling and rock-solid mechanicals, as well as being sort of a James Bond car; a P1800 driven by actor Roger Moore was in practically every episode of the ’60s British TV series The Saint.

The Pick of the Day is a 1963 Volvo P1800 for sale in Holland, Michigan. The car is listed as a P1800E, but this is an error as the 1800E version was not introduced until 1969.

Volvo
The stylish Volvo co-starred in the 1960s British adventure series ‘The Saint’

This example “has been owned by the same person since 1985,” according to the dealer advertising the Volvo on ClassicCars.com. “That person also had a full restoration done on the car which was completed in 2009 and included a full interior re-trim at a cost of approximately $5,000.”

That figure may sound crazy but I assure you that is what it costs to restore an 1800 interior, and about what it cost to do mine five years ago. This car’s interior is finished in correct tan leather, as it was when new.

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“The car was repainted during the restoration process and finished in a 1966 Mercedes Benz color of Light Ivory, a color that is very close to Volvo’s ‘Yellow’ paint (Code 97) that was offered on the 1969 P1800,” the seller notes.

Another interesting part of the exterior are a rare set of Motor Wheel Spider magnesium wheels.

Volvo
The B20 engine from a later Volvo is fitted, with dual Weber carbs

The engine is a Volvo B20 replacement engine that was bored to a displacement of 2,100cc and fed by a pair of two-barrel Weber side-draft carburetors, with a 4-speed manual transmission fitted with electric overdrive. The seller says the car has been driven around 4,000 miles since the engine rebuild, with just over 93,000 miles on the original car.

The seller says the car is documented with “stacks and stacks of receipts from the restoration process, as well as correspondence between the owner of the car and the shops that carried out the restoration. The correspondence details exactly what was done to the car and when.”

Buying a classic car with this level of documentation is always a bonus.

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The interior looks factory fresh

These cars are among the finest small-bore GT cars ever built, marketed when new as the poor man’s Ferrari. Having owned and restored one of these cars, and then driven it for 16,000 miles, I can assure you that a truer statement was never said.

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While the asking price of $33,900 is not cheap, it is quite reasonable when compared with buying a lesser car and attempting to restore it to this level.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

2 COMMENTS

  1. My dad bought me a ’62 P1800 in 1969 as a reward for making it to my sophomore year of college. I loved that car and we had some great adventures over the next few years although it ate starter motors like M and M’s ( thank god for Goldies junk yard outside of Boston and their $5 supply of starters). I fell in love with the car when I saw it on the TV series " The Saint" with Roger Moore. It was the chick magnet of it’s time for discerning young women not impressed by American muscle cars. It’s instrument panel was in Swedish and because the speedo was in Kilometers some thought the car could do 200 MPH. I left it home one winter in the garage and told my mother that over summer break I was going to set it up for H production racing. She sold it out from under me. Over the years I watched the value of the P1800 rise and every now and then would mention at a family gathering , Mom sold part of my inheritance and got me a boring Toyota corolla instead. It was though the beginning of a lifelong love of a collection of Volvos and Saabs to this day. ( More than 20 by last estimate ) RIP wherever you are, my little green bullet from Sweden.

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