Volvo 1800ES timeline
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.