SOLD: 1973 Volvo 1800ES for $92,400 (USD)
1973 Volvo 1800ES for $92,400 (USD)
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24th June, 2014
Just a few weeks ago in USA, Bonhams Auctioneers sold a 1973 Volvo P1800ES
Sport Wagon for the record sum of $92,400 (USD). It was at an auction at Greenwich Concours d´Elegance in Connecticut,
USA that the Swedish classic with just 13,000 miles on the odometer was sold. “As far as we know, this is a new world
record for a classic Volvo”, a representative for Bonhams said.
This P1800ES has spent its entire life in Keene, New Hampshire, and been used very little by its three owners, the
first of them keeping the car for 27 years.
The red paintwork is totally original, so is the black leather upholstery and the car has the factory fitted air
The presale estimate was 30,000 to 40,000 USD, but it was bid strongly by a number of current and former Volvo dealers
before ultimately selling to an overseas bidder for more than the double its estimated value.
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“The car was nicely presented, well preserved and totally original. It was key for a high price like this, a
restorer would struggle to match the build quality of the factory in Gothenburg,” said Eric Minoff, specialist at
Bonhams´ Motor Cars department.
Bonham's Pre-sale Preamble
This remarkable, original ultra-low mileage example was in the possession of its original owner until 2010. It was
purchased new by James Powers from Harbor Motors in Keene, NH in 1973. He used the car to drive to NYC to take courses.
As this purchase coincided with OPEC embargo, Mr. Powers had the car professionally fitted with a high capacity 28 gallon
fuel tank. This allowed for wide refill intervals for this fuel-efficient car. When the courses ended, the car was stored
and used only occasionally in summer months. After nearly thirty years he decided to sell the car onto another Keene
resident Gerald Wolf, who put a mere 900 miles on the car before selling it to the current owner. Upon acquisition, the
current owner contacted the Leo Watkins Auto Centre in Keene, who serviced the car from new and verified its low
Recognising the remarkable preservation of this car, the current owner set about sorting out any minor issues with the
car and detailing it back to its like-new condition. The brake system was renewed with new callipers, hoses, pads rear
rotors and master cylinder. Electrical issues were solved and the engine received ignition and valve timing work.
This 1800ES, in addition to having incredible originality, a great story and super low mileage, is also an excellent
spec. The ES is a fuel injected model, equipped with overdrive and air conditioning all of which make the car pleasant
to use on modern highways. With only about 8,000 produced we doubt a better, more original and lower mileage 1800ES Sport
Wagon will appear on the market making this a special opportunity to acquire a benchmark example.
About the P1800/P1800S/1800S/1800E/1800ES
VOLVO P1800/1800 (1961-1972)
In 1960, Volvo presented a new sports car, just a few years after the previous attempt with the plastic-bodied Volvo
The new car became known as the P1800. Later the designations were changed to P1800S, 1800S and eventually 1800E. This
new sports car had Italian-influenced styling by young Swede Pelle Petterson and production began in 1961.
As Volvo did not have the capacity to build the car, production during the first years was contracted to England.
Pressed Steel made the bodies and final assembly took place at Jensen Motors Ltd. In 1963, the assembly was transferred
to Gothenburg and an S was added to the P1800 designation. Body production was also transferred to Sweden, to Olofström
in connection with the 1800 E in 1969.
The Volvo P1800 was based on the floor pan of the Volvo 121/122S, but it had a shorter wheel base. The car also had an
entirely new 1.8-litre, 4-cylinder engine, which initially developed 100 bhp and later 108, 115 and 120 bhp; the classic
Over the years, the car was developed primarily by the introduction of new engine alternatives. In the autumn of 1968,
a 2.0-litre engine with an output of 118 bhp was introduced. It was followed in 1969 by a version with fuel injection and
an even higher output.
The P1800 became famous because of its role in the "The Saint", a British television series in the 1960s, in which the
main actor Simon Templar (played by Roger Moore) drove the car.
Variants: P1800S, 1800S, 1800E
- Produced: 39,414
- Body: Coupe 2-seater
- Engine: 4-cylinder, in-line, overhead valves, 1,778 cc, 84.14 x 80 mm, 100 bhp at 5,500 rpm, increased in 1968 to 108
bhp at 5,800 rpm. A 2.0-litre, 1,986 cc ( 88.9 x 80 mm), carburettor version appeared in 1968, followed by a
fuel-injection version in 1969, 120 bhp.
- Transmission: 4-speed manual, 4-speed manual with overdrive or 3-speed automatic, all with a floor-mounted gear lever.
- Brakes: Hydraulic, discs at front and drums at rear, later models had discs for all wheels.
- Dimensions: Overall length 4,400mm, wheelbase 2,450mm.
VOLVO 1800ES (1971-1973)
In the autumn of 1971, a new version of Volvo's famous 1800 model was presented. The new version was called the
The 1800ES had a newly designed rear end compared with the previous versions of the 1800. The roofline had been
extended and the car had a profile that was more reminiscent of an estate; a sports wagon. The 1800ES had increased
luggage capacity to provide extra space.
Volvo 1800E and Volvo 1800ES
Under the body, the technology in the 1800ES was the same as that in the other 1800 models.
The new version was produced for two model years, 1972 and 1973. In 1972, both versions were produced in parallel, but
only the 1800ES was produced in 1973.
When the last cars were built in 1973 and production ended, this was due to increasingly rigorous safety requirements
in the USA in particular. Low volume sales for the specialist sports wagon made compliance too expensive.
- Produced: 8,078
- Body: 2+2 seater coupé
- Engine: 4-cylinder, in-line, overhead valves, 1,986 cc, 88.9 x 80 mm, 124-135 bhp.
- Transmission: 4-speed manual with Electrical overdrive, floor-mounted gear lever. 3-speed automatic with
floor-mounted gear selector.
- Brakes: Hydraulic, disc brakes on all four wheels.
- Dimensions: Overall length 4,380mm, wheelbase 2,450mm.