Launched in the 1960, Volvo P1800 quickly became a hit around the world. The sports car was made until 1973, with over 50,000 units produced, four models released, and an icon status reached thanks, in part, to its inclusion in the popular TV series The Saint. But all of this almost didn’t happen, and the car’s interesting history certainly enhances its appeal. The vehicle was originally developed in the late 50s as an alternative to Volvo’s previous sports car project, the P1900, which had been a disaster for the company in terms of sales.
The stylish P1800 was designed by Pelle Petterson, who was the son of Volvo engineer Helme Petterson and was working at the Italian design firm Pietro Frua at the time. After the first prototype was built in 1957, the company turned to German manufacturer Karmann to build the car. In a twist seemingly taken from a movie script, Karmann’s biggest client Volkswagen threatened to withdraw its own cars if the deal went forward, thus pushing Volvo’s project close to cancellation. Thanks to a last-minute partnership with Jensen Motors and Scottish Pressed Steel, the first P1800 was completed in 1961 in the UK and an icon was born. Following the success of the first model, the company moved its production to Sweden and launched three other models, including the P1800E. It featured various improvements from the original, including a more powerful B20E engine with Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection, revised camshaft, and four-wheel disc brakes. Reaching a top speed of 118mph thanks to its 130bhp engine, the car also completed a sprint of 0-62 in 9.5 seconds. Listed by auction house Bonhams, this impressively restored 1972 Volvo P1800E features a gorgeous yellow color and black leather upholstery. The elegant car will be auctioned on December 7 and has an estimated value of between $34,000 and $42,000. If you want to own a piece of automotive history or simply love the sleek, retro design, go to the official website to see more info about the auction. Photo credits: Bonhams.