Today’s classic European post is a fifty-year-old Volvo. We have our share of bearded Amazon enthusiasts (read that as Amazon enthusiasts with beards, not as a penchant for hirsute warrior women, mind), but this old Volvo is one of the even prettier sort of classic Volvo design.
A run of the plates revealed the P1800 as a 1962 car, and while it’s probably had its share of restorative repairs, it’s no trailer queen but instead appears to be a useable-condition summertime classic that gets actual usage.
The first batch of P1800s were built in Britain by Jensen, after Volvo had been shopping around for a manufacturer to build the car (Karmann had been forced to decline by VW, and NSU and Hanomag were deemed unsatisfactory). However, Volvo wasn’t fond of the Brit build quality either and moved production to a Swedish assembly line in 1963. Jensen-built cars are differentiated from the later 1800S cars by the up-turned bumpers. S, of course, stands for Sweden/Swedish.
The P1800 looks phenomenonally good. It’s like an Aston Martin DB5 you can actually see driving around. The front and especially the prominent headlights are just achingly beautiful.
The vintage Volvo emblem has the iron sign on it. These were also the days when there was no need for a diagonal Volvo-style strike on the grille.
In addition to the lovely C-pillar curve, pay attention to the shield-ike Volvo emblem on the pillar.
How do you like the Minilite-style wheels?
Take a look at the instruments visible on the machine-turned dashboard, as well as the very sporty steering wheel.
The rear is also nicely shaped with those subtle fins finishing off the shoulder line. There’s also a hint of late-’50s rocketship styling with the small, quad taillights there.
Like I said, the P1800 here is no trailer queen. While it does wear vintage white-on-black plates, those are probably just period-correct instead of being assigned at a historic vehicle inspection. While the car is reasonably clean, there is wear and both the driver’s side door and front fender seem to be both ill-fitting and in need of a better respray. With some more funds invested in the Volvo, it would be nigh-on perfect, but then again – doesn’t it run just fine like this?
The P1800 memorably starred in Roger Moore’s The Saint series, and was oftentimes driven in anger. With the car here being suitably worn, given the chance it’s mechanically sound, it too could be briskly driven instead of being mollycoddled.
[Images: Copyright 2012 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]