Volvo P1800, Volvo Cars: Timeless Classic

Volvo P1800, Volvo Cars: Timeless Classic

Volvo P1800, Volvo Cars: A Timeless Classic

The Volvo P1800 is one of the most iconic cars ever made by Volvo. First introduced in 1960, this two-door, two-seater sports car still turns heads over 60 years later with its timeless styling and renowned durability.

Over the decades, various versions and special editions of the P1800 have been released. Most recently, Volvo introduced the P1800 Cyan, a resto moded version developed in collaboration with their motorsports partner Cyan Racing.

Volvo P1800, Volvo Cars: Timeless Classic
Volvo P1800, Volvo Cars: Timeless Classic, image credit google

Below we’ll explore the origins and evolution of the Volvo P1800, what makes it so special, the modern P1800 Cyan, and where to find these cars for sale.

The Origins of the P1800

Production of the P1800 began in 1960 after Volvo commissioned the Italian firm Frua to design their new sports car. They wanted a car that could compete with the Jaguar E-Type in style and performance.

The P1800 featured Volvo’s sturdy B18 engine but had a fiberglass body giving it a lighter, performance-oriented edge. In the first year, production issues led to the bodies being manufactured by Jensen in England before being shipped to Sweden for final assembly.

Early models of the P1800 are exceedingly rare. Only 190 1961 models were built, making them highly coveted among collectors today. By 1962, Volvo had worked out production kinks and began making the entire car in Sweden.

Why The P1800 Became an Icon

While the Jaguar E-Type overshadowed it in regards to straight-line performance; the P1800 carved out its niche by blending sports car agility with the durability, comfort, and safety that Volvo was known for.

The P1800 was also immortalized in the legendary 1960s TV series “The Saint” starring Roger Moore. His character Simon Templar drove a white P1800 around Europe solving mysteries and embarking on adventures.

Volvo P1800, Volvo Cars: Timeless Classic
Volvo P1800, Volvo Cars: Timeless Classic, image credit topgear

This prominent spotlight cemented the P1800 as one of the definitive sports cars of the 1960s. Volvo capitalized on the exposure, even naming one special edition the “Saint” model in Roger Moore’s honor.

Evolution of the Volvo P1800

The original 1960-1963 P1800 saw only modest engine and technical changes in its four years of production. In 1964, Volvo introduced the updated P1800S which came with disc brakes all around and a more powerful B18 engine mated to a new gearbox.

The 1800S continued until 1969 when Volvo rolled out the 1800E, shifting to fuel injection for the B18 putting out an impressive 130hp. Front seats were also updated to allow easier access to the rear seats, improving practicality.

The final evolution came in 1972 with the 1800s. While mechanics were the same as the 1800E, the ES had a significant redesign featuring a glass rear hatch, earning it the nickname “Snow White’s Coffin”. This shooting brake style made the 1800ES stand out from anything else on the road.

The Modern P1800 Cyan

At the 2020 online reveal of Volvo’s Concept Recharge all-electric vehicle, they surprised fans by also announcing they were bringing back the P1800 sports car.

Teaming up with their motorsports partner Cyan Racing, Volvo built the P1800 Cyan Edition. It combines the iconic, timeless body of the original P1800 with a modern chassis, suspension, and a 415hp electrified powertrain.

The P1800 Cyan is a high-performance restaurant-mod homage that maintains the soul of the original while featuring cutting-edge racing technology under the skin – the best of both worlds.

Only 47 examples of the P1800 Cyan will be built, honoring the year the first P1800 rolled off the production lines. Deliveries started in 2021, with most cars already spoken for well in advance.

Where to Find a Volvo P1800 for Sale

Given their fame and rarity, finding a Volvo P1800 or 1800S/E/ES can be a challenge. They rarely come up for public sale, but do trade hands privately and on specialist auction sites.

Expect to pay anywhere from $30,000 for project cars needing full restoration, ranging up to over $100k for concours-condition specimens or rare early models.

The limited-edition P1800 Cyan models have all likely been already pre-sold for their approximate $500,000 ticket price. However, if your budget allows, it may be possible to still get on the waiting list for the next Cyan series.

While not cheap, a classic P1800 is an investment that will provide driving enjoyment while holding and potentially increasing intrinsic value over time. For Volvo enthusiasts and collectors, it represents an incredibly special piece of history.


The elegant styling blended with rugged dependability has ensured the Volvo P1800 remains one of the most beloved sports cars across over sixty years of automotive history.

From its origins born out of a desire to compete with the best of British sports cars, to the cutting-edge 21st-century Cyan restomod edition; the Volvo P1800 retains an intangible quality that connects directly to the heart of driving enjoyment.

For those lucky few who own one, and for the rest of us who admire them, the Volvo P1800 is a timeless representation of everything that makes classic cars so special. We look forward to these Scandinavian icons continuing to turn heads for decades to come.

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