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Daily Driver Longroof: 1972 Volvo 1800ES

This pretty 1972 Volvo 1800ES isn’t perfect, but it’s solid enough that the seller feels you could use it as-is, or as an excellent basis for restoration. These half-wagon, half-hatch Volvos are stuck in an interesting spot value-wise, as you can still buy decent ones for reasonable money, and basketcases for not much cash at all. Showstoppers tend to command big bucks, but those are few and far between. What do you do with this no-reserve driver? Find the 1800ES here on eBay with bidding at $2,550.

I’ve always loved the lines of the 1800ES, with that huge glass canopy sitting atop a slim strip of tailights and chrome bumper. The exhaust was always a favorite feature, too, if only for its pronounced presence. The 1800ES is a legit usable classic car that can haul modest volumes of stuff, whether home from the swap meet or up to a cabin for a weekend getaway.

The interior is quite nice for a driver, and the blue carpets are from another era of automotive design and tastes. The seller notes the presence of rust in multiple locations, including the driver’s side rocker, behind rear driver’s tire, passengers side jack frame crossmember, and driver’s side front to back frame rail. According to him, these repair pieces are widely available, but it still sounds like a fair amount to repair.

The engine is said to run well with healthy compression, and the previous owner claims it was rebuilt, but there’s no receipts to support this claim. The Volvo has been upgraded in the suspension department with Bilsteins and John Parker performance springs, so it’s likely more fun to hustle than your standard 1800ES. With the clean body and interior, I’m inclined to fix the rust and bring it all the way back. You?


  1. art

    Run from the rust…never ending cancer. That old asphalt based undercoat was a double edged sword. If it stayed intact, ie, no stone chips or cracks it was okay but if chipped or broken open, water, salt and silt entered and formed pockets accelerating the rust. This car has serious rust in the under body alone and the minute the underside is cleaned of the undercoat, the new owner is going to turn pale.
    A once beautiful car that will take lots of money to restore. Better to spend more for a rust free Volvo, as it will be less cost in the long run.

    Like 3
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Pretty car, pretty rusty. Restorable but will take a lot of rust repair underneath. With everything else in good condition this car is worth the money and work only if it’s bought at a reasonable price. Rust is no fun but I’d take this one on.

    Like 1
  3. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    All the 1800s leak right around the bottom corners of the windshield, or perhaps it’s actually the weatherstripping of the door, not sure. Either way, the rust starts in the front corners of the floors, and spreads to the rockers. This car has that malady, plus some underbody rust that is typical of northern 1800s.

    But, these cars have good upside potential, and the European buyers really like them. And, the repair panels are available if you want to get into some welding. Having owned one, it’s not that great of a car that I’d be interested in fixing another one.

    Like 1
  4. DJ Tubs

    My classic car TV show had one on. I love the looks of it. Yet after all these years, what about basic replacement parts?

    Like 0

    I say $2500 would be tops. Rust is suspect and that undercoating has to come off to see what’s going on. Big job.

    Like 0
  6. SMS

    I think these are such good looking cars. Saw one in a parking lot and went up to talk with the owner. He had always wanted one and found a car that had been in the San Francisco bay area all its life. Even with that he said that it took so much work to deal with the rust.

    Still as he said it was worth it as he had always wanted one and got it

    Like 2
  7. Capt. Doug

    As a former 1800S owner and DD I never understood that this design was the progressive evolution of that timeless styling.
    Rust eventually defeated me as much as I loved that coupe.

    Like 1
  8. PairsNPaint

    These were beautiful, practical, fun cars, but all that rust means a full rotisserie restoration is needed. If you’re not prepared for the time, effort and cost, run away. At least the owner seems realistic about this one.

    Like 0
  9. Andrew Franks

    I agree with Oil Slick. $2500.00 is realistic for what will be some time and/or expense in dealing with the rust.

    Like 0
  10. stillrunners

    Always liked this wagon style…kinda was sexy when they were fresh out of the factory !

    Like 0
  11. Pete

    Nice car!running wise fix the rust and drive it period

    Like 0

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