Volvo 1800ES time­line

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Driving -

1957 1960 1962 1972

Volvo be­gins de­vel­op­ment work on the P1800, with a view to cap­tur­ing sales in the in­creas­ingly lu­cra­tive US mar­ket. It’s not the man­u­fac­turer’s first at­tempt at a sports car – it launched the P1900 twoseater road­ster two years ear­lier, but only 68 were made. Volvo un­veils the P1800 at the Brus­sels Mo­tor Show. It had orig­i­nally looked to Ghia to come up with the car’s de­sign – and it duly came up with two pro­pos­als – but in the end the pro­duc­tion ver­sion was penned by Pelle Pet­ter­son, a Swedish de­signer who at the time was a stu­dent with the Frua de­sign house in Italy. The mak­ers of a new ITC ac­tion se­ries, The Saint, hunt for a new car to star along­side Roger Moore. Jaguar turns down a re­quest to pro­vide an E-type for the show, so Volvo agrees to sup­ply a P1800. It makes its de­but in The Tal­ented Hus­band episode that Oc­to­ber. The 1800ES is launched. It’s an evo­lu­tion of two pre­vi­ous bids to re­place the P1800 – the Ber­tonepenned P172, which toyed with the idea of mov­ing Volvo into GT ter­ri­tory, and the Rocket, a rad­i­cal hatch­back de­vel­op­ment by Frua in 1967. The pro­duc­tion de­sign is fi­nalised by Volvo’s chief de­signer, Jan Wils­gaard. The ES is briefly pro­duced along­side the coupé, which Volvo phases out. ES pro­duc­tion ends in June 1973.

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