1972 Volvo P1800 E 
 

 

Having a passion for cars and working at Stillman Volvo, especially as the pre-owned manager, is akin to being a kid in a candy store. Curt Stillman was always looking at different cars but the P1800 was always tops on the list for a classic vehicle and it was his grandfather's favorite car. This particular 1972 1800E was found at a home in Maryland by Curt's nephew Jonathan in 2003. At first we were a little concerned by the lack of dirt and rust underneath the car. Further inspection led us to the conclusion that everything was original and that the car rarely, if ever, saw a wet road. The car was in running order and we drove it home the same day becoming the car's third owner.

Since the car was in good condition to begin with, restoration was minimal. When we acquired the car it had only 85000 miles on it. However, thirty years of weathering took its toll on the rubber components so all of the engine seals and suspension bushings were replaced. Shock absorbers and springs were replaced as well. The engine received a routine tune up. The front seats were reupholstered and the carpeting was replaced. The aftermarket stereo was installed by the previous owner. Besides the stereo, the only parts that have been replaced that were not original stock components are the anti-sway bars. These were replaced with larger bars that reduce body roll on Chester County back roads.

The P1800 enjoyed one of the longest production runs in Volvo's history. There were 47,485 units produced worldwide between 1961 and 1972. Probably the best known 1800 was the one that Simon Templar drove in the television series "The Saint" in the mid 1960s. The 1800 also received free advertising when it served as the pace car in the 24 hour race at Sebring in Florida in 1963 and 1964. In its final year of production, there were only 1864 of the 1800 coupes produced. The 2.0 liter four cylinder engine produced 135 horsepower and 133 ft lbs of torque. By today's standards that is not very much but it was enough to propel the 2580 lb car to a top speed of just under 120 mph. The 1800 gave way to the production of an improved 140 series car that was to pave the way for Volvo's 240 series. The P1800 was Volvo's first true sports coupe and was to be the last until 1998 when production began on the new C70.