Dealer Find: 26k Mile 1973 Volvo 1800ES

A teacher on Long Island bought a brand new Volvo in 1966 and loved it so much that he drove it 3.25 million miles before his death in 2018. The story of Irv Gordon is fascinating, and I highly recommend you read up on him, especially if you’re thinking of buying a Volvo. Today, we’re featuring a more practical version of Irv’s beloved coupe; this one comes with extra luggage space in the back and about 3 million fewer miles. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to drive this car like it was meant to be driven. You can find this 1973 Volvo P1800ES here on eBay, in great condition.

The seller claims that they acquired the car when they purchased a Volvo dealership. They have mileage certificates going back nearly twenty years and believe the 26,000-mile odometer to be actual! Under the front-hinged hood rests Volvo’s B20 inline four-cylinder engine, which drives the rear wheels through a four-speed manual gearbox. It made about 125 horsepower when new. Not a lot by today’s standards, but more than enough to make for an engaging drive through the countryside. It’s said to run well, but due to a “clutch problem” isn’t driveable.

What makes this car special is its “shooting brake” body style. For those unfamiliar, that basically means a two-door station wagon. This would become a popular look for Volvos in the coming decades, and provides a perfect balance between practicality and aesthetics. And, I mean, just look at the thing. It’s gorgeous. If there’s one thing Volvo does well, it’s safe, reliable, station wagons. The seller states that the only real blemish is one rust spot by the tailgate, and they provide images of it.

The interior is in decent condition, as is the rest of the car. The leather seating surfaces look new enough to make me question if they were reupholstered at some point in the car’s life. Based on the pictures and the description, it sounds like all this car needs to be daily driven is a new clutch. I’m always skeptical about cars that “just need this one small repair” to be driveable. If that’s all it needed…why haven’t they done it? As always, do your due diligence and ask as many questions as you can think of if you want a stunningly gorgeous car perfect for road trips. If that is truly all it needs, this might just be the future daily-driveable classic bargain of a lifetime.


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  1. Frank Sumatra

    Then make the damn “Small repair” and move on! What is wrong with certain sellers???

    Like 21
    • Peacemaker

      Agreed! Especially since they’re a Volvo dealership. 🤔

  2. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Aside from the “one small repair” issue, this is a nice one.

    Like 2
  3. Mike

    It’s never a small repair. Seller “it needs a battery” Actually means flywheel missing teeth.

    Like 14
  4. RMac

    Yes in the ebay add they say they are a Volvo dealer but a Volvo dealer can not fix the clutch issue to make it drivable? Seems like something is fishy!!

    Like 30
    • Richardd Adams

      Actually, with most clutch issues the car remains driveable .
      Start it in first gear, then shift with the engine revs dropping and you on your way.
      It will get you across the country.
      Try and stay out of heavy traffic.
      However, if the clutch plate previously shattered itself, rather repair it at the dealership.

      Like 2
  5. Rodney - GSM

    “One rust spot”?
    (That has metastasized…..)

    Like 2
  6. bobhess bobhess Member

    Bit of strange stuff going on but these are one of my favorite designs and is on my list of 5 great looking car designs. Have friends that raced an ES and pulled 226 hp out of the engine with the fuel injection slightly modified and obvious modifications to the engine. Upping the hp for street use isn’t difficult either.

    Like 4
  7. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car. This was when Volvo produced great cars. I hope this car goes to a good owner, one who will enjoy it, “drive it like he hates it”, as the advertisement goes, while also maintaining it.

    Like 3
  8. Russell

    Probably got turned down by BaT and listed it on eBay. I think it’s worth buying if reasonable, but too many unknowns to trust this seller. Get it running, prove to us it’s a solid driver, and then we’ll talk (bid).

    Like 3
  9. Tompdx Member

    Always loved these – I’d buy it if I could. I bet the clutch problem is a simple hydraulic one, due to sitting for decades.

    • Herb Kaiser

      Mechanical clutch, not a big deal

  10. wizzy

    25K? I doubt it. Too much wear on the leather and that “rust” spot is cancered through. What else is not obvious in the pics? This car requires a PPI without a doubt. Be careful.

    Like 1
  11. John Walsh

    Yes in the ebay add they say they are a Volvo dealer but a Volvo dealer can not fix the clutch issue to make it drivable? Seems like something is fishy!!
    Probably find todays technicians are unable to find the fault as they cant plug in a computer. :)

    Like 1
  12. wizzy

    25K? I doubt it. Bad clutch at 25K? Too much wear on the leather and that “rust” spot is cancered through. What else is not obvious in the pics? This car requires a PPI without a doubt. Be careful.

  13. Geoff

    The ES came standard with a 6 digit odometer, not a 5… someone’s done some messing about.

  14. Richard Martin

    I always wanted one of these – one of the nicest looking cars that have been made. That colour would look wonderful with a set of chrome wire wheels.
    Unfortunately these cars seem to attract rust and if there’s any visible on the surface you can be almost certain there is a lot more underneath.
    To my eyes the paint doesn’t seem to be original although to still have totally original paint after almost 50 years would be a long shot anyway.
    The add doesn’t mention whether it has overdrive. I’m not sure if all the manuals had OD or if it was an option – others may know. Obviously overdrive would make it more enjoyable on the highway.

    Like 1
  15. Mountainwoodie

    A neighbor had the exact color combo ‘73 ES with an aftermarket steel sunroof and Overdrive . He wanted three grand and I thought it was too much back in the mid Nineties. Yes I’m an idiot. As for this one, something doesn’t make sense. If a VOLVO dealer owns the car and can’t seem to straighten out the clutch before selling it you have to wonder why. Odd.

  16. James427

    Just bought one of these in coupe form in the same color. Love this body style.

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