1972 Volvo P1800ES Sportswagon - today's tempter

By: Spencer Leech, Unique Cars magazine

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Not the Volvo as we know it today

1972 Volvo P1800ES Sportswagon - today's tempter
Rare and stylish - the a lot to like about these Volvos.

Here’s something you don’t see every day. A European sportscar known as the Volvo P1800ES Sportwagon, one of the very few to still be registered in Australia.

Back in the 1950s, Volvo had established a strong reputation for manufacturing mostly tough-and-reliable sedans, which was good at the time, but as car design began to evolve, the Swedish carmaker decided it needed to produce something more exciting to entice a new breed of buyers.

So in 1961, Volvo introduced the P1800, which aimed to combine exotic Italian styling with the sturdy mechanicals and practicality that the brand was known for. Despite being a two-door coupe, the car featured four seats and a large boot, which made it an attractive option for family men and women.

Some may recall the coupe version being made famous as the preferred drive of Roger Moore in the TV series The Saint.

Initially, the car was offered with a 1778cc four-cylinder engine with dual SU carburettors which produced around 75kW, but was later upgraded to a 1985cc engine with fuel injection.

The new motor was good for approximately 93kW of power and 167Nm of torque, which allowed it to keep up with its similar MG and Triumph rivals in a straight line, but the Volvo’s live rear axle and drum brakes rendered the car a bit sloppy in the twisties.   

In 1972, Volvo released the car we see here, the P1800ES Sportswagon. This one, which was recently listed for sale, is one of around 10 that is still registered in Australia. The car is equipped with a four-speed manual transmission and has just under 224000 miles on the clock. The seller is asking $20,800.

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