The Volvo P1800, one of Volvo’s most internationally acclaimed turn 50 this year. This popular people’s car, was planned in its home country, Sweden, Italian designed, British built, launched in Brussels and enjoyed huge popularity in America. The car was first introduced in 1961, after four years of planning and careful development, after spending 12 years in production.
The car has played a minor role; however it played a significant role in creating its image, compared to the earlier Volvo cars. The P1800 was designed to stop traffic and attract consumer attention. Volvo had first produced a sport car in early 1950s. While the car did not have a good run, the then president of Volvo, Gunnar Engellau realised that it was important to have an exciting and prestigious model to increase the company’s overall sales.
This was the P1800, which was conceived following design consultations from Italy. The attractive sports coupe had a steel chassis and fixed roof. It was powered by the then new B18 engine which delivered 100 horsepower back then. This car was first known as the P1800S with S meaning Sweden. Throughout the run of this coupe, the car did not see any major changes to its exterior design.
The P1800 was never meant for mass production. This car was a niche product at the top-end; however it was still reachable to ordinary people, who desired a car that resembled the Ferrari, but had the economical, reliable and pleasant features of the Volvo. The car received a huge response even before hitting showrooms, and has managed to remain a classic, timeless and sporty car.