Saintly Swede: 1967 Volvo 1800S

The Pick of the Day is a restored sports coupe with some alterations

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The 1800S has the eggcrate grille of the earlier model

One of the favorite classic cars that I have owned was a 1966 Volvo 1800S. I bought it in L.A. for $6,500 and immediately drove it with my friend John Nikas back to where I was living in Chicago.

Aside for John and I (mostly John) having to rebuild the generator in a hotel parking lot in Park City, Utah, the car made the trip with no issues. 

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I restored the Volvo and the next year took it on two vintage rallies, won my class in a show in Connecticut, took a ride with actor Roger Moore in it ( he drove an earlier P1800 as The Saint) at a book signing in New York, and then drove it to Monterey car week where I sold it.

That Volvo was one that, in many ways, I wish I had kept, a classic European GT car that did everything well. It would cruise at 85 mph at around 3,000 rpm, was exceptionally well built, looked amazing, was comfortable, handled nicely and was fun to drive.

Since that time, more people have discovered that the P1800/1800S Volvos are truly great small-bore GT coupes, and prices for them have been climbing as a result. The days of the sub-$10,000 Volvo 1800 are long gone.

The Pick of the Day seems like a good deal for one of these cars, a restored 1967 Volvo 1800S advertised for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealer in Roswell, Georgia.

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This Volvo has a long history as an Atlanta car, according to the seller, and the last owner performed an apparently decent restoration including an engine rebuild and addition of a Weber downdraft carburetor.  Many invoices for work come with the car, the dealer notes.

The seams in the rocker panels seem to be intact, which generally means that the metal work was done correctly.

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Oddly, although the car is listed as a 1967, it has the curved hockey-stick door trim of a 1966.  And the grille is the earlier eggcrate aluminum design from a 1964 and earlier car.  I actually prefer earlier hockey stick trim and the eggcrate grille.   

The grille was definitely replaced with the earlier style, but many owners make that switch and it does not detract from the car.  If desired, it can be replaced with the later pressed-metal grille, which is still available.

An interesting tidbit is that the car used in the TV series The Saint reportedly had its grille swapped a few times during the filming of the show. 

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The earlier door trim could be explained by this being a 1966 car that was titled as a ’67, which is something that happened back then. This could be checked by finding out the chassis number and checking its build date.

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Regardless of these details, this looks like a very nice driver-level Volvo that has been well cared for. The asking price is more than fair at $28,950, if this car is as clean as it looks in the photos with the ad.

Swap out the wheels for Minilites, add fog lamps and pretend you are Simon Templar, the lead character portrayed by Moore.

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

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.

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