The Volvo P1800 was the pet project of Helmer Petterson, an engineer who was hired by Volvo to create a sports car to compete in the US and European markets. Volvo’s previous attempt was with the 1900, a model that did not gain traction in the market selling less than 70 cars total. Helmer had initially gone to Karmann to have the car built, however, VW, being Karmann’s biggest customer, shut down the idea as it would have competed with their models. Determined to keep his project moving forward, Petterson contacted 3 other German firms, however, none could meet the quality standards of Volvo. Ultimately, an initial order of 10,000 went to Pressed Steel in the UK with final assembly to be performed by Jensen.
The most interesting part of the P1800 is this; unbeknownst to Helmer Petterson, the styling of the car was actually done by his son Pelle Petterson! At the time, Pelle was working for Frua Carrozzeria, a subsidiary of Ghia. So, although Volvo maintained until recently that the car was Italian designed, technically it was styled by another Swede working for an Italian design firm.
Finished in Alpine Blue Metallic over a black leather interior, this 1972 1800E is the car to own. The 1800E brought numerous improvements in performance. Even though it retained the 1800 name, the car was fitted with the 1,986 cc B20 engine developed for the 140 sedan (and just previously introduced in the 1800S), and the “E” in the name stood for Einspritz, as the B20 was now fitted with Bosch fuel injection to give 135 horsepower at 5,800 rpm, 20 horsepower more than the old 1800S.
This very nice car is extremely straight and well restored. The paint is high quality throughout as is the stainless trim and chrome work. The interior was redone with black leather seats, and new blue carpets. The headliner, door panels, carpeting dash and trunk are all in excellent condition. Mechanically it’s fully sorted and a great driver!
If you are familiar with the 1800’s you are also familiar with the wide range of conditions. This is a much nicer car than most that can be found on the market and striking to look at in this color combination. Don’t miss out on this beautiful 1800E!