Lot 229 - 1971 Volvo P1800E
|Odometer reading||91,000 miles|
|Estimate||£15,000 - £17,000|
|Result||Sold - £17,920|
The P1800 project was started in 1957 as Volvo wanted a sports car to sell in the US and European markets. The man behind the project was Helmer Petterson, designer of the PV444 and the styling was the responsibility of his son, Pelle, who worked at Pietro Frua. In December 1957, the first hand-built P1800 prototype was driven to the headquarters of Karmann. Volvo had hoped that Karmann would be able to take on the tooling and building of the P1800 and, if so, it would have meant that the first cars would hit the market as early as December 1958. However, in February 1959, Karmann's most important customer, Volkswagen, forbade them to take on the job as they feared that the P1800 would compete with the sales of their own cars and threatened to cancel all their contracts if they took it on. This setback almost caused the project to be abandoned and it looked doomed until a press release surfaced with a photo of the car, putting Volvo in a position where they had to acknowledge its existence. These events influenced the company to renew its efforts with the car and it was presented to the public for the first time at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1960. Volvo turned to Jensen Motors, whose production lines were under-utilised, and they agreed a contract for 10,000 cars.
The P1800 was made famous by the hit TV seriesThe Saint, starring Roger Moore and the P1800 owned by Irv Gordon of New York holds the Guinness world record for the highest recorded mileage for a single vehicle, having been driven over three million miles; a testament to the robustness of Volvo's design.
This striking metallic silver-blue example has been owned by the current vendor since 2006 and was restored in 2007, retaining the original black interior. A bare metal respray in the original colour was carried out and a photographic record of the work comes with the car. The engine starts readily and settles to a quiet idle. A short drive showed the car to be a smooth performer with all gauges working correctly and a good ride. This fine example comes with a V5C registration certificate, an MoT certificate valid until June 2016, a workshop manual and a number of invoices. The car will be fitted with new wheels prior to the sale and the original 'clover rim' wheels will be supplied with the car as a spare set.
The Volvo P1800 has been widely tipped to be one of the cars to invest in for the future and this late example should attract strong interest.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.