History of the Volvo P1800

Volvo is renowned for safety and their well built cars, a Swedish philosophy which has seen them remain competitive in the car market. In recent years Volvo`s have been developed further with sleek coupe designs in the C30 and C70, whilst offering all road performance with the XC range.

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What was the P1800?

The idea behind the P1800 was born in 1957, with Volvo looking to enter the sports car market with something stylish and innovative. Throughout the years the P1800 was modified, with the introduction of the P1800S in 1963 with an improved engine and higher top speed. In 1970 the P1800E was released with a fuel injected engine giving the driver 130bhp. The P1800E was also the first model with four wheel disc brakes for improved stopping.

1963 volvo P1800S
1970 volvo P1800E

The final model was release in 1972 with the P1800ES which was a coupe station wagon version of its predecessor. The engine capacity was reduced slightly to 125bhp though its handling and performance were actually improved as a result.

Why was it so special?

The P1800 was most famously driven by Roger Moore in The Saint which aired in 1962. The character Simon Templar drove the car with the number plate ST1 which played a key role in the show. The car itself goes into the history books as being iconic within television and film, just as the Aston Martin DB5 with James Bond and the Ford Capri in The Sweeney.

Aston Martin DB5 with James Bond
Ford Capri in The Sweeney

The P1800 entered the Guinness World Record books for being the world`s highest mileage car, with the owner clocking up 2.9 million miles by 2011. The owner Irv Gordon has owned the car since it rolled off the production line in 1966, having taken it across the Americas and Europe.

As a special treat for the Volvo Owners Club the 2011 Footman James Classic Motor Show saw the unveiling of a classic and very unique P1800. Built in 1961, it was fitted with an original Aston Martin prototype 2.5 litre DOHC four-cylinder engine for test purposes. Whilst the project itself never made its way to the production line the car survives and shows the world the benefits of combining an iconic car with an iconic engine.

How much will it cost me?

A P1800 in good condition can set you back over £10,000. eBay have a number for sale, one being a 1965 P1800 with 86,000 miles on the clock selling at £12,000. For a classic car it`s a reasonable price, a price you would expect to pay for a small family car but this is slightly more interesting and fun to drive. The P1800 is also a real head turner, so will stand out a little bit more than the average family hatchback.

Whether you`re driving a classic car or a brand new family hatchback it`s important that you are always prepared for the unexpected. AA roadside assistance will give you peace and mind and ensure that when you need them they will be there to help you get on your way as soon as possible.

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