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Saint Anger – 1962 Volvo P1800

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]

Currently there are "31 comments" on this Article:

  1. JayP2112 says:

    Hint of 1949 Ford taillight that is…
    <img src="http://www.motorbase.com/uploads/pictures.ubh/2007/03/08/fs_1949_Ford_Tudor_Rear_Clip_Light_Green__H_Ford_Museum__CL_1.jpg&quot; width="450">

    Never noticed that before.

  2. Newport Pagnell says:

    If this had a V-12 and a prancing horse badge, it would be $250k. It's that nice looking.

  3. Irishzombieman says:

    Someday down the road I'm going to get a nice classic car.

    And someday also I'm going to finish my long-half-built CNC router and home foundry.

    And when all these things have come to pass, I'm going to duplicate and create bitchin' old emblems likes these.

    Hope the car I end up with is a Volvo. . . .

  4. mdharrell says:

    "…differentiated from the later P1800S cars…."

    There never was a P1800S. The "P" was dropped from the designation when "S" was added, so the post-Jensen cars are just 1800S, 1800E, or, for the wagon, 1800ES.

  5. scroggzilla says:

    Need's more Moore

    [youtube phvZf6EHac4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phvZf6EHac4 youtube]

  6. MVEilenstein says:

    Dang it. I thought this was a Metallica post.

  7. PowerTryp says:

    Ohhhhh my that's in fantastic shape. It wasn't till just now that I thought that swapping a rotory into this would be a very good idea mainly due to the shape of the nose badge. These cars will remain high high up on my list of WANT.

  8. lilpoindexter says:

    Why did you black out the plates?

  9. Ate Up With Motor says:

    Small note: the Swedish-built 1800S also had the bull's horn bumpers in 1963-64; they were retained until the 1965 model year. The early 1800S differs from the P1800 in only minor ways: different seats, different upholstery and door trims, different wheelcovers, and a slightly more powerful engine.

    • craigsu says:

      I thoroughly enjoyed your latest missive on the Opel GT. Can you share what's coming in the pipeline?

  10. Xedicon says:

    Oh yes, yes! The P1800 is so drop dead pretty! Volvo made some wildly sexy rides at one time, this is one case where a car maker would be very well served indeed to go back to some of those lines! I also get car boner over the Amazon wagon… I must excuse myself…

  11. From_a_Buick_6 says:

    Those C-pillar badges are so cool. Nobody does stuff like that anymore. I dig the accessory mud flaps, too.

  12. TurboBrick says:

    Anything it loses in driver comfort it gains back in style points.

    Oh, and great pictures! It's summer!

  13. Gadgety says:

    The seat feels as if sitting on the ground. This early series has got what it takes on the looks front, however, none of the P1800 has got any engines to speak of. So it's a poseur's car.

    • Howard says:

      you obviously have never drove one in anger.the 2 liter is peppy for a 1970 4 cylinder and near indestructable.


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