1973 Volvo P1800ES – $3500

“Rare 1973 Volvo P1800 ES wagon for restoration. Was restored in the early 90’s. Complete with registration. Automatic, air cond. Front seats are rough, rest of interior is decent . Good project or parts car. Was running when parked. Asking $3500.00. Email for more details.”

It seems as it Volvo’s been trying to change they brand image since the dawn of time. Having made more than their fair share of reliable and safe brick-mobiles, Volvo’s first attempt to slough off their staid image was a complete and utter flop. Selling just 68 examples, the Volvo P1900 was quickly determined to a be a failure, and just four years after its demise, Volvo released this: the P1800. Immediately taking hold of the market courtesy of its stylish good looks, excellent road manners, and sublime interior, the P1800 sold almost 40,000 units over the dozen years it was made, with the coupe station wagon wagon, the P1800ES selling an additional 8,077 units in the two short years it was made.

With a pleasant 2.0L four pot under the shapely hood, this particular car left the factory with an decent 125 horsepower; five less than the coupe version of the same car. Although the downgrade was as simple as bolting on a thicker head gasket to lower the fuel injected motor’s compression ratio, many contemporary critics felt the change actually improved the car’s performance, making it less peaky and more driveable. Now, as far as this particular P1800ES goes, it obviously looks as if it could use some work. In fact, it looks rough enough that I contemplated keeping it out of the blog on behalf of its condition… but I took heart from the fact that it was the recipient of a recent restoration, which gives me at least a little hope that it may be a decent candidate for someone with a modicum of mechanical know-how. Being a Volvo, these aren’t vehicles renowned for their unreliability (one actually holds the record as the most well-travelled car in the world with over 3 million miles), so with a little bit of elbow grease, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it back on the road in relatively short order. Also, with a very active enthusiast community and even a local club, owning a P1800 in Vancouver is, apparently, very easy.

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