1973 Volvo P1800ES Estate Wagon
|Engine||In-line 4-cylinder, 1986cc|
|Body Work||Sports Wagon|
The Volvo P1800 offers an irresistible combination of style, thanks to the coupe body attributed to Italian designer Pietro Frua, and dependable performance from its rugged Swedish underpinnings. Volvo initially had the P1800 built in Britain with the body shells by Pressed Steel and final assembly by Jensen but patchy quality control saw production shift to Volvo's Gothenburg plant in 1963. The P1800 began life with the B18B four-cylinder engine and running gear lifted straight from the Amazon series but was steadily improved with more power and numerous detail changes through the 1960s. In 1968, the B20 engine went to a full 2-litres and the following year saw Bosch electronic fuel injection adopted to give the most power yet - 124bhp - along with disc brakes all round, alloy wheels, a new dashboard and a ZF gearbox (although the Borg Warner Model 35 automatic transmission remained a popular option). Although it remained fashionable through the Swinging Sixties, thanks in part to Roger Moore driving one in The Saint, by the early 1970s the P1800 was looking a little dated but a sport wagon variant named the P1800ES - launched in August 1971 - gave the model a much-needed boost. Styled in-house by Jan Wilsgard with an extended roofline and unusual all-glass tailgate, the P1800ES had lots of luggage capacity and proved a popular design - annual sales of the Volvo actually exceeded 5,000 units in 1972/73 for the first time - with a total of 8,078 built when produced ceased in 1973. With survivors relatively scarce and a strong following around the world today, the Volvo P1800ES is an interesting and eminently practical classic car.