LIS­TER STEALTH / Stealthy power

- Cars · Consumer Goods · Volvo Cars · Pirelli & C · Sweden · Volvo P1800 · Polestar Racing · Polestar Cyan Racing · Volvo S60 · Symbian Series 60 · Volvo C30

One of my per­sonal favourite clas­sic car icons of all time, is the per­pet­u­ally un­der­rated Volvo P1800 sports coupé. Launched to crit­i­cal ac­claim in the 1960s, the P1800 was as much a style and de­sign icon, as it was an au­to­mo­tive one, and has, since its de­but, in­spired sev­eral Volvo cars, in­clud­ing the Polestar 1, from the com­pany’s newly-formed elec­tric car arm.

Now re­born (again) as a road-le­gal ver­sion of a fic­tional Cyan Rac­ing track car from the orig­i­nal pe­riod, the Volvo P1800 Cyan reimag­ines the icon for a new era, al­beit, without modern driv­ing aids such as sta­bil­ity con­trol, anti-lock brakes or brake boost­ing. The P1800 Cyan has, how­ever, been com­pre­hen­sively re-en­gi­neered for en­hanced per­for­mance, dy­nam­ics and driv­abil­ity.


First to go was the orig­i­nal car’s nat­u­rally as­pi­rated four-cylin­der en­gine, which has been swapped out for the same tur­bocharged 2.0-litre unit that was used in Cyan Rac­ing’s 2017 Volvo S60 TC1 racer. The en­gine, it­self quite the en­gi­neer­ing feat, be­stows upon the P1800 308 kW of power, that is aug­mented by a 455 Nm torque fig­ure.

In an ef­fort to main­tain the car’s au­then­tic nat­u­ral as­pi­rated feel, Cyan Rac­ing tuned the en­gine to of­fer lin­ear power and torque de­liv­ery, which the com­pany claims are “the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a nor­mally as­pi­rated en­gine”, while re­tain­ing the in­creased per­for­mance and pre­ci­sion re­quired from a modern rac­ing car.

A range of en­gines was con­sid­ered for use in the P1800 Cyan, in­clud­ing Volvo’s Red Block and five­cylin­der turbo mo­tors. Still, Cyan chose the newer mo­tor sim­ply be­cause the team is fa­mil­iar with its work­ings and char­ac­ter­is­tics.

Be­sides tun­ing this modern pow­er­plant to de­liver a more re­al­is­tic era-spe­cific feel, race en­gi­neer­ing firm, Holinger, was com­mis­sioned to pro­vide a fivespeed gear­box for the P1800 Cyan, which is said to de­liver the same “me­chan­i­cal feel­ing” as the orig­i­nal unit while of­fer­ing more pre­cise changes and dura­bil­ity. Power is sent to the rear wheels, but not through a live axle set-up as in the orig­i­nal car, but rather through a be­spoke in­de­pen­dent rear sus­pen­sion set-up, which is fully ad­justable as per the front sus­pen­sion set-up.

For bet­ter trac­tion, a limited-slip dif­fer­en­tial with torque-bi­as­ing func­tion­al­ity is fit­ted to the car, with a gear­ing set-up that in­tends to op­ti­mise cir­cuit per­for­mance with the type of on-road be­hav­iour that is ex­pected from a modern road car.


In or­der to ac­com­mo­date the sig­nif­i­cant changes made to the orig­i­nal car, the P1800 Cyan’s green­house has been repo­si­tioned slightly, and its body re­in­forced with high-ten­sile steel. The car’s track has also been widened sig­nif­i­cantly.

Nat­u­rally, the key to the suc­cess of any modern sports car is in its power-to-weight ra­tio. To en­hance this, the P1800’s un­der­pin­nings were over­hauled with a fo­cus on en­gage­ment and light­ness. The hy­draulic sus­pen­sion now fea­tures alu­minium up­rights, dou­ble wish­bones and two-way ad­justable dampers, while car­bon fi­bre chas­sis re­in­force­ments add stiff­ness with min­i­mal weight.

The P1800 Cyan rides on forged rims shod with Pirelli P Zero per­for­mance tyres, while mas­sive steel brake discs and four-pis­ton cal­lipers pro­vide 21stcentur­y stop­ping power.


Cyan Rac­ing used its first road-go­ing car, the 2010 Volvo C30 Polestar Per­for­mance Pro­to­type, as a bench­mark for its retro-racer. Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s head of en­gi­neer­ing, Mat­tias Evens­son, Cyan Rac­ing wanted to “reconnect” with its first road car, as well as “carry over some of the driv­ing feel­ing and per­for­mance avail­abil­ity” from this model.

“Our com­pany was founded in 1996 to race Volvo cars in Swe­den, and the Volvo P1800 Cyan is clos­ing the cir­cle for us. We claimed our first world title with Volvo in 2017 and have since then won two fur­ther world ti­tles with two other man­u­fac­tur­ers. The first world title was a mile­stone for us, and we felt it was a good time to reconnect with the past and to those be­fore us rac­ing Volvos. The first Volvo P1800 Cyan car­ries our blue and yel­low rac­ing colours to mark our her­itage,” adds Cyan CEO, Chris­tian Dahl.


The ex­tremely limited P1800 Cyan will be mar­keted in­de­pen­dently by Cyan Rac­ing, with prices start­ing from $500,000 (ap­prox­i­mately R8,500,000).

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