Practical Classics (UK)


Graham Wilson tells us about his glamorous sporting estate


How did you come to own your 1800ES? ‘Well, my parents had a number of Amazon models when I was growing up – although I do remember my dad coming home one day in an 1800 coupé, much to my mother’s horror. We were still very much a family of four, so it went straight back to the dealership!'

It wasn’t a straightfo­rward purchase though, was it? ‘Not exactly! The car was originally bought by a firm of accountant­s and later sold on to a friend of mine. John then ended up with a company car, so parked the Volvo in his mother’s garage in Hitchin, where it stayed for many years. I had no idea about it until one day in the Eighties, he mentioned that he needed to move ‘his old car’. I couldn’t believe it when he opened the garage! We trailered it to the garage of his house in Northampto­nshire where it remained until 2000.’

So, John finally offered to sell it? ‘He did! But he was moving house, so we had to move fast. We removed the car and eight large boxes of parts on a single Saturday morning!’

Did it need a lot of work? ‘It was very straight but yes, it needed quite a refurb! The fuel injection system was all clogged up, while the bumpers, seats and other trim was off the car. To reassemble it though, I spent a long while going around shows to take pictures of other examples’

Has the ownership experience been OK? ‘The engine has been brilliant – aside from one head gasket failure – while I’ve re-chromed the three-piece bumpers and replaced the exhaust, springs, dampers, radiator and alternator. There was one hairy experience when one of the fuel lines broke on the King Harry ferry in Cornwall – they were furious and shoved us off the ferry with some urgency! I replaced the whole fuel system after that!’

What appeals to you most about the car? ‘It isn’t fast, but it’s comfortabl­e and makes a fine tourer. We took it to the Le Mans Classic and my wife Janet paid for us to do a few laps! It’s unlikely I’d sell it, as there’s really nothing else out there that does quite as much as an 1800ES. And you don’t often see them in the supermarke­t, do you?’

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