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1973 Volvo P1800 ES



  • The shooting brake is much more rare than the coupe
  • Comprehensive restoration in both body and mechanicals
  • Beautiful red over black/red interior colour scheme
  • Modest mileage
  • Late Swedish-built examples are better made

The Appeal

The term ‘Volvo Estate’ doesn’t wouldn’t do the car justice, this is a ‘shooting brake’ with all the sophisticated connotations the title suggests. It is svelte, elegant and definitely ready for touring or weekends away. It’s been made even more ready by a thorough restoration, both mechanical and cosmetic, which brings the car back to the condition in which it left the showroom in 1973.

We most always think of Volvos as durable and very practical, but decidedly unimaginative automotive boxes, but the P1800 of 1960 well and truly defied that definition. The job of designing the model was given to Italian coachbuilder Frua, but fittingly the shape of what has become probably the most famous Volvo ever, was penned by a Swede; Pele Petterson. Still, it has that Italianate flair.

Initially, the car was fitted with the 100hp, 1778cc B18 engine, but by the time the estate version arrived in ’72, the model was fitted with a 118hp, fuel-injected two-litre.

The History and Paperwork

  • Total body, engine and suspension restoration
  • Comprehensive set of MoT certificates corroborate low mileage
  • All original handbooks and manuals and two sets of keys
This late production example (the Swedish cars were better built) has had only three owners since being driven out of the showroom and boasts a sheaf of MoT certificates to verify its fewer than 59,000 miles drive.
The Volvo also comes with a set of photographs from its restoration. The car was totally dismantled by a classic Volvo specialist, and shots include the (bare metal) respray and suspension and engine rebuild.
The car also retains its original blue document wallet with owner’s manual and service book.

The Interior

  • Black leather over red carpets gives a striking look and vibe
  • Tidy carpets and no holes
  • Steering wheel and gear knob very presentable with no major scuffs
  • Wood veneer retains good grain and colour 
  • No handling wear to door handles
  • Leather and vinyls remain a healthy shade of black with no cracks
  • Door cards and attendant trim/fixtures are very straight and firmly fitted
  • All switch gear looks tidy and all works
  • Headlining taut and clean
The coupe’s cabin offers a nice balance between originality and restoration with much of the interior appearing to have a gentle patina of originality. The seats show only a gentle creasing and retain a deep colour with show no tears or harsh scuffs. Their knurled adjustment wheels actually move and the mechanisms show no rust. As usual, those in the rear show little use.

The contrasting vivid red carpets are clean and nicely trimmed, as are the sides of the transmission tunnel. The headlining above is also clean, with no signs of sagging.

The door cards are very smart. Their quite complex mouldings retain well-defined sections (the rouched pockets are a nice touch), and potential areas of wear around handles show no scuffs or fading. The window winders are in good condition.

The steering wheel (covered) and gear stick are nicely presented, with only a gentle rounding to their outlines, while the dashboard too is very tidy. The wood veneer shows a good grain and colour and is neatly fitted with no rough edges or signs of warping. All instruments are present and correct with smooth surrounds – no cracks. Its nice to see the original radio.

In keeping with the shooting brake’s whole vibe, this does feel a more special space than general Seventies fare.

The Exterior 

  • Quality of the respray (in the original colour) is excellent with a deep gloss
  • Panel fit is good with narrow gaps and consistent shut lines
  • Body reported to be very solid and rust free
  • Chromework is smooth and bright 
  • Plastic/rubber parts – windscreen surrounds, bumper overriders are supple and crack free
  • Vehicle has undergone an expensive full ceramic polish and detail.
The Volvo’s bodywork is in excellent condition. The paintwork itself retains a smooth, high-quality finish with a deep and consistent gloss across all panels. The car was of course fully dismantled before painting, and this can be evidenced by the total lack of overspray on seals (all in good condition) and other trim. The chrome also presents extremely well with the brightwork is of a very high standard, maintaining a deep lustre. 

The metal remains smooth and bright across nearly all surfaces. There are no dents or areas of discolouration. Lights and surrounds, grill and bumpers all fit precisely into position (notice how clean the screws are too), and the chrome strips down the flanks emphasise how straight the sides are. Panel gaps are narrow and doors, bonnet and tailgate open and close smoothly without effort. There are no discernable areas of rust around the car, which appears very solid.
A stunning example of a legendary motor.



The car’s engine bay is very businesslike; orderly and clean, with no signs of rust or leaks. The engine and its ancillaries look to be in fine fettle and the Volvo starts and drives smoothly with no untoward noises or traces of blue smoke. It looks like all hoses, rubber and wiring have been comprehensivlely refreshed. Again, looking at screw heads, jubilee clips and bolts, you feel the car has been thoroughly prepped. 

It’s underneath where you also see the benefit (and feel the reassurance) of the restoration. It’s obvious that the car has seen little if any inclement weather since the rebuild, with the paintwork, suspension and mechanical parts remaining clean. There is no evidence of corrosion and all components look to have been well fettled and appear capable of easy adjustment. Floor trays and underbody bracing appear sturdy with the weathersealing/paint very much intact.
All pretty confidence inspiring.


The shooting brake was in production for only a year, so it’s worth remembering – if you couldn’t tell by the looks alone – that the estate is an even more excusive beast than the coupe. It’s racy, yet restrains such grace and elegance.

 As well as such beguiling aesthetics – and striking colour scheme – this particular example offers that thorough restoration, which, if it had to be undertaken by the new buyer, would doubtless cost far in excess of whatever this auction’s winning bid might be. Finding a nicer example wouldn’t be easy.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1973
  • Make Volvo
  • Model P1800
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 58,936 Miles
  • Engine size 1986
Listing Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Sheffield
  • Location Yorkshire
  • Country United Kingdom

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