Volvo P1800 S 1968 - Today’s Tempter

By: James Robinson, Unique Cars magazine

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The 1968 Volvo P1800 S interior The P1800 S interior The 1968 Volvo P1800 S interior
The Volvo P1800 S B18 engine The B18 engine The Volvo P1800 S B18 engine

Gorgeous Volvo has saint-like styling

When you think of Volvo, most think of big, boxy wagons and sedans like the 740 or the 850, built like tanks and styled like a block of cheese. What you don’t think of when pondering over the Swedish manufacturer is ‘sports car’.

But, that’s exactly what the Volvo P1800 was, a sports car, and a gorgeous one at that. There are no sharp, angular lines in the styling of this Swedish coupe; it’s sleek, flowing and undeniably pretty.

However, in terms of performance credentials, it wasn’t exactly rapid, perhaps more akin to a grand tourer than an out and out sports car. The P1800 came with two engines, first the 1.8L B18 inline four, then in later models, the 2.0L B20B inline four.

The P1800 is also somewhat of a celebrity in the automotive world, immortalised in popular culture thanks to Roger Moore’s character driving a P1800 in the hit TV show of the 60s, The Saint.

This particular P1800 is a 1968 ‘S’ model. The ‘S’ denotes the place of manufacturing, Sweden. This may sound strange as surely a Volvo would be made in Sweden; however, early P1800s were actually made in England under subcontract by Jensen, but due to quality issues around Jensen’s manufacturing, production was moved to Volvo’s Lundby plant in Gothenberg in 1963.

Other features of this particular P1800 S include the updated B18 engine which gained an additional 6kW, taking the total to 85kW, a 4-speed manual with Laycock overdrive and lovely cherry red paint job.

It’s priced at $48,000, and could be a sweet investment as these Volvos are only going one way in value…up. 

If you’d like to know more about what these coupes are like to drive, you can check out our review of a 1962 P1800.


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