Lot 130 - 1970 Volvo P1800 E

Lot 130 - 1970 Volvo P1800 E

Lot 130 - 1970 Volvo P1800 E

Lot Number 130
Registration RDL46H
Chassis Number 184351031176
Engine Number 212
Odometer reading 26,619 miles
Estimate £29,000 - £36,000
  • As new condition
  • Nut and bolt restoration

The Frua inspiration is clearly visible in the beautiful lines of the Volvo P1800, being the brainchild of PV444-designer Helmer Petterson and his son Pelle, who worked at Pietro Frua’s design studio. In the mid-1950s Volvo aimed at a sports car for the US and European markets. So in December 1957 a hand-built prototype was driven to the Karmann headquarters, with Volvo hoping that this German coachbuilder would take on the job of building the P1800. However, Karmann's most important customer, Volkswagen, threw a spanner in the works. They feared that the P1800 would become a serious competitor and threatened Karmann to cancel all their contracts if they took on the job. Karmann didn’t bite the hand that fed her, and this nearly caused the Volvo project to be abandoned. But somehow, somewhere a press release surfaced with a photo of the car and Volvo just had to acknowledge its existence. This gave the company energy to revitalise the project and the new Volvo P1800 was presented to the public at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1960. Its presentation gained enormous success and Volvo turned to Jensen Motors, whose production lines were under-utilised, to have 10,000 cars made.

Two years later the late great actor Roger Moore played a private eye called Simon Templar, better known as The Saint, in a highly successful British TV-series based on the novels by Leslie Charteris. The Saint chose the stylish P1800 as his personal mode of transport, which made the car a true icon.

Now here is a rare chance to drive around in an as-new example of this Swedish design classic. The only thing you have to do is turn the key to imagine yourself in 1970 driving out of the showroom in your newly acquired Volvo. The car on offer is an extremely well, nut-and-bolt restored P1800 E finished in a sophisticated dark red with black interior. Even from a distance it is clear that restoring this car was a high-end project, let alone when you take a closer look.

We have driven the car for a short stint and can only confirm that the 2.0 Litre Volvo B20 E engine with electronic injection runs just like the car looks from the outside: excellent in all respects. This righthand drive Volvo was delivered new to the UK in 1970. In 1988 it was acquired by a Mr. Murray from Cambridgeshire, a Volvo Owners Club member who restored it to its present, as-new condition over a period of 13 years, completing the restoration in 2001. After that it was MOT'd every year until 2014, when it was exported to Italy. Two years later the Volvo went to The Netherlands. Now the lucky buyer has a unique opportunity to acquire a superb example of a car that will rise in value in the foreseeable future. And, of course, it will also give that independent ‘Saint’ feeling of doing things your own way. 

Interested parties should note that the gearbox on this car requires overhauling.


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. All registration numbers, engine and chassis details are sourced from registration documents provided to Historics by the client or representative or HPI checks and buyers are to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of these details. 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.

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