EXCLUSIVE: 1972 Volvo 1800ES

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

Seller Description: This is solid, running, driving 1800ES that I have owned for 10 years. I bought it as a non-running garage find and have turned it into a reliable runner. I am currently suffering from the typical collector car hobbyist problem of too many cars and not enough room, so I have decided pass this on to a new caretaker who will enjoy it as much as I have.

This is an excellent bucket list car, and with only 8,077 examples made this is now a reasonably rare car. After getting the car running, I discovered a dead transmission was the real reason it had been parked for so many years. I was able to source the correct 4 speed with electronic overdrive and have had no issues running around town or even going on longer scenic drives like through the Adirondack mountains as I did with it last year. This car is now willing to drive 500 miles a year or 500 miles a day if you want it to.

The correct matching numbers engine is in place, but the car was repainted some time long ago and there is an aftermarket sunroof. There is a rebuilt ECU in the car and a spare working original along with several other items from Don Thibault (www.p1800.com) who was quite helpful in getting me the right parts and explaining a few things that my Volvo mechanic had forgotten about these old cars. A new fuel pump was installed less than 1000 miles ago and around the same time the gas tank was removed and relined to repair a small leak. The radiator was also re-cored and this car now runs like a champ.

It has a very clean/solid frame and the floors are decent too. As can be expected, there is some rust around the rear glass and evidence of some bodywork work on the front fenders. Hagerty suggests $8,400 for a #4 car. With non-runners going for $3-4k all the time, I think I am priced fairly asking $7,500.

The interior has bagged out door panel pouches and the dash could use a new pad. The cloth upholstery has stood the test of time remarkably well but the driver’s seat is now in need of repair. The exterior would benefit from a good paint job and minor bodywork. The rear bumper should be replaced, as it is showing rust around the edges. A new mesh grill would also give the car a more finished look.

Many of the major suspension components have been replaced and during my ownership I have focused on the mechanical needs of this car. She is now basically sound, but remains cosmetically needy. She should eventually be restored but offers reliable fun and use for a new owner right now.

Over the years, we have owned quite a few different Volvos and we have always been happy with them. They are durable, nice drivers and down right simple to work on. The only problem is that they aren’t necessarily the best looking cars, but the 1800ES solves that issue in my book! What a great looking and practical car.

John 1800ES looks to be in pretty good shape, it needs a few things, but sounds like he has already taken care of the major issues to make it a driver. If you fixed a few of the cosmetic issues, installed some new seat covers and polished the paint You would have a fun and rare driver that will garner lots of attention anywhere you take it! Special thanks to John for listing his Volvo with us! If you have a garage find that you’ve revived and now need to move along, please consider listing it here on Barn Finds.

Asking Price: $7,500
Location: Haddam, Connecticut
Mileage: 163,000
Title Status: Clean

Contact The Seller

Sorry, this one has SOLD!

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  1. Dave Wright

    At the time these were new, Road and Track called them the “most reliable” sports car. They did a lot of things well but were not the best at anything. Not a bad place to be…………..

  2. Mario ouellet

    Hi are you in Mass.
    And is The Volvo stil available

    • John

      Hi Mario

      The car is in Haddam CT, just south of Hartford. Feel free to contact me via the ´Contact The Seller’ panel above if you would like to arrange to see it.

  3. Woodie Man

    Glad its on the other coast. A neighbor had a similar ’72 with a sliding sun roof in the proper green. Back in the late eighties I almost talked him out of it! Darn! On my bucket list for sure.

  4. angliagt

    I just have to ask – why is it registered in Mass,
    when you’re in Conn?

    • John

      It’s not registered in Mass. These are just old plates from my collection (notice they don’t even match) that I used for the photo shoot. It was easier than photoshopping out the real plates or hanging a towel over them like I have seen done by others so many times before.

  5. Sam

    Cool car! This would be a great garage mate with a new/used c30.

  6. Tom

    The ES is definitely on my bucket list too, but I just bought myself a new(er) daily driver and with the money I already spent and the money I plan to spend on it, I couldn’t right now.

    Too bad to. Looks real nice and clean. I have a thing for the shooting brake design. I just wish car manufactures would make new two-door wagons again.

  7. Mark

    Like these cars…….always thought from a side view the roofline and side window configuration looked similar to the 71- 73 Chevy Vega wagon

    • Sam

      How about a Cosworth V(ega)olvo wagon?

  8. 86 Vette Convertible

    Looks like a great wagon, not so big it can do daily running yet big enough to take on a trip.

  9. OA5599

    Nice description and evaluation done by the owner of this ES.

    Wish I had room.

  10. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Staff

    Dang! CoolHluke mentioned it on the Toyota SR5 post, but it really has a somewhat similar vibe!


    • BMW4RunninTundra Member

      Took the words right out of my mind!!! I was thinking of the similarity of the two. Being a “Toyota Guy” I am torn between the two. Although it looks like the SR5 will end going for considerably less leaving the new owner the pocket change to bring it up to its former glory. The Volvo will go for a higher price but the hardest, in my humble opinion, part has been done. Making it mechanically dependable. The cosmetics are actually the “fun” part. The SR5 is going to require both. Unfortunately “no room at the inn” so I’m out of contention! I’m actually kind of glad I dont have to decide between the two! It would be tough!!!!

  11. David Miraglia

    Nice Volvo, I live in Brooklyn so if I had any free time I’d take a drive over their to check the car out

  12. Bill McCoskey

    I worked for a BMW Dealer back in about 1976, and we had a bright orange ES traded in on a new BMW 318i. It was one of the last of the ’73 1800ES wagons, and it was loaded with all options, except for stick shift [I think it also had O.D. too], This car was perfect ,and had seen under 2,500 miles of use, and of course garaged at all times. The inside of the wheel wells were still orange! I wanted that car so bad, but the problem was I had just recently bought a loaded ’73 BMW 2002 from my bosses, at a considerable discount, and there was no way they would do it again so soon.

  13. Rolf Poncho 455

    There is only one O and that’s a Volvo

  14. Joss

    I went to see this car today, in the next town over from me. It’s pretty much as described, a #4 car – needing lots of little things – but nothing major, to be a decent driver level. Note that the pictures look somewhat better than in person, just imagine the typical old 80’s Volvo 240 series that still keeps plugging away but looks tired inside and outside. A 240 like that will never be fixed up, but this car is worth holding on to of course, great as a driving DIY project. Find a complete interior, including the dash, from a parts car. Fix a bunch of small things like the fuel gauge/sender etc. Find chrome trim to replace some dented items. Lastly, invest in a decent paint job. Good bit of work, but doable for the right person who wants to get in at a lower price point. It’s an honest project. Personally I’d prefer to pay double or some more for someone’s older restoration. However, it does seem like a car you could drive home for a road trip.

    • John

      As the seller of this car, I wish to thank Joss for taking the time to make this post and confirming the condition of the car, especially knowing that he is looking for one that looks a little more refreshed cosmetically. It’s hard sometimes as an owner to look at a car objectively after long term ownership. Pricing a car is a delicate balance between what you have in to it and what it is worth to others. This car wants to be driven and will be sold to the first person who shows up with a firm and fair offer.


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