Garage Find: Volvo 1800 ES Wagon

The 1800 ES is one of the more collectible Volvos, along with the very hard-to-find fiberglass-bodied 1900 convertible (67 made before the plug was pulled) and the P210 Duett station wagon and panel van. These days, most of the ES wagons have been restored and have pride of place in their owners’ garages. This is a rare example that’s running but available in “as-is” condition. You can find it here on eBay in Elmhurst, Illinois.

The wagon looks very tidy in the photos, unfortunately, taken in a garage with limited light and accessibility. There’s no engine photo, but the paint is shiny and uniform, the chrome undamaged and the interior (from what we can see in the one photo) straight. The owner doesn’t mention it, but this is the desirable four-speed plus overdrive model. Let’s hope the overdrive works.

The ES has been treated to new fuel injectors, a new gas tank, a new fuel pump, and exhaust. It was bought in 2018 as a non-runner, but after all that work it’s running now. But still an “as-is” sale for unspecified reasons. There are 91,000 miles on the clock, which isn’t horrendous for one of these tough-as-old-boots vehicles. No rot is visible.

It’s unclear how much the owner expects for the Volvo. Bidding is over $7,000, with the reserve not reached. These go for around $30,000 to $40,000 when restored to a good driver level. Hagerty says $39,000 for #2, and a big $70,000 for Concours.

As the former owner of two 1800s, I have some familiarity with the model. I owned earlier coupes but always wanted an ES. It remains a great design and even a practical choice with its fold-down rear seat. The 1800s aren’t quite as sporting as they look—they’re more like long-distance cruisers—but the mechanics are legendarily tough. Rust is a big problem, though, and very expensive to fix properly.

The Volvo museum in Sweden has an early version of the ES based on the pre-1970 design, and I photographed it there. It’s neat, but the company did well to pick a less-outlandish style. That big back window is provocative enough.

The 1800 ES was first shown in the autumn of 1971. The Volvo club in Britain says the car was “completely in line with Volvo’s tradition of building estates to match the development of customer lifestyles and the increase in the size of luggage compartments to provide the extra space required for golfing equipment, for example. Under the surface, the technology in the 1800 ES was the same as that in the other 1800 models.” That meant, in this period, a fuel-injected B20 four, producing 124 horsepower, with disc brakes all around. A three-speed automatic was available.

The ES was produced for only two model years, 1972 and 1973. In that latter year, the 1800E coupe was dropped, and only the ES was available. The car might have lasted longer, but it wasn’t going to meet U.S. safety regulations. Total production: 8,078.

Despite the low production, there are plenty of these cars on and off the road in the U.S., and the parts supply isn’t bad. eBay itself has most of what’s likely necessary to finish this car and turn it into a dependable driver. The owners of these cars get very attached to them. Just look at it! C’mon, bid, I know you’re tempted. It’s a beautiful car.

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Comments

  1. OIL SLICK

    Hey thats my hometown!

    Like 1
  2. Car Nut Tacoma

    Awesome looking car. Assuming everything on the car works like it should, I’d pay close to $30,000 for the car. I’ve seen Volvo 1800s before, but never an 1800ES. This would be a treat.

    Like 2
  3. Duke reed

    Mr seller clearly has NO idea how to present this car via pictures

    Like 2
  4. chrlsful

    the blue prototype looks like something that the Japanese put out a lill later.

    I loved (& still do) the ES. The MGBGT too (kind of similar back). These pre-dated the hot hatch set (all world cars) that were a bit of a take off on these 2. Wish they were still produced. The sm volvo wagons are the only thing close I think. Convenience in the back, small over all, pep in the motivation, able to handle the twisties. Better than a cafe racer for somethings…

    Like 1
  5. jrmedsel

    Bidding is now at $8,000 with no reserve.

    Like 1
  6. Mark_Mitchell Member

    The ebay ad is rather short on necessary details to make an informed online purchase!

    Like 1
  7. Tiberius1701

    Nice vehicle to be a 5.0L Mustang T5 swap recipient!!!

  8. Bamapoppy

    Geez! How many keys on the key ring? I stopped counting when I got to double digits! Awesome Volvo, btw!

  9. Bamapoppy

    Geez! How many keys? I quit counting at double digits. Awesome Volvo, btw.

    Like 1
  10. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:May 13, 2021 , 12:00AM
    Winning bid:
    US $9,800.00
    [ 28 bids ]

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