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High Tech Driver! Injected 1971 Volvo P1800E

Enthusiasts feeling demoted from “Driver” to “Destination Selector” by new car technology might consider this dark green pill as the ultimate antidote. The 1971 Volvo P1800E in Canterbury, Connecticut comes with some uncommonly modern technology for its day, including fuel injection, overdrive, and four-wheel disc brakes. Leather seats and factory alloy wheels add to this Volvo’s features appreciated by typical motoring fans. You get a dose of the good stuff with no techno-nanny buzzing the steering wheel as you make a lane change or applying the brakes just as you signal to avoid slower traffic ahead. The listing here on eBay includes a thorough reckoning of the vehicle’s good and bad points by a knowledgeable seller. At least six bidders have elevated the sporty Volvo’s market value beyond $6500, and it’s likely to rise from there.

A modern-style plenum intake distributes air to each cylinder where it blends with fuel released by the Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection system. Unlike the entirely mechanical fuel injection on my 1972 BMW 2002 tii, the P1800E is much more like today’s injected cars. A computer ECU (Electronic Control Unit) decides exactly how long to open each injector to adjust for load, RPM, engine temperature, and ambient air temperature. It does not have oxygen sensors in a feedback loop or ignition knock control, but overall, it’s rather sophisticated for 1971. Put it all together and the 2.0L inline four makes 130 HP. The push-button electric Laycock de Normanville “J” overdrive gives a 0.80:1 gear reduction on top of the four manually selected gears, the latter close-ratio in overdrive cars. Though I’ve never driven one, that should make for spirited two-lane driving and reasonable highway cruising. Thanks to Wikipedia for some details.

The classic dash certainly speaks more from the car’s 1961 debut than the early ’70s, and that’s completely fine. Cars like the elegant Ghia-designed P1800 deserve a long production run. Tidy black leather adorns the supportive-looking seats, refreshed during a 2010 refurbishment. Thanks to VolvoCars for some details.

The paint also dates to a 2010 injection of cash, part of a windows-out color change from yellow to this PPG single-stage urethane green, which looks a bit bolder than Code 94 Dark Green. Mud flaps telegraph the owner’s care, appropriate and prudent on a New England classic. A host of mechanical and cosmetic details and undercarriage pictures grace the listing. Factory alloys combined with the “E” (German for Einspritzung i.e. injection) system and overdrive make this Volvo more interesting than most, and surely a star at the local show ‘n’ shine, not to mention the open road. Can you think of a more splendidly designed Volvo?


  1. Capt RD

    Drove my 1800S [carburated] daily for years on a 90 mi. commute — plus many long road trips from Bar Harbor to Annapolis. Great comfortable highway car, stylish design, then and now, not a speed demon but not underpowered. These are a pleasure to drive and a treat to own.

    Like 6
  2. Flmikey

    The description of this car should be a model of how to write an ad on eBay…wish it was closer to me…I’ve Been looking for one of these…

    Like 2
  3. Tom c

    I’d love to have this car , well worth the price.

    Like 1
  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    Friend built a ’73 ES race car using the injected engine. 226 hp on the dyno and 124 at the rear wheels. Had a chance to drive the car in three races and the engine was smooth as glass. Won all three races. He’s got a ’72 1800 street car that’s a great driver and does draw the attention at the Volvo meets. Not sure why the picture rotated… it was positioned right in the file.

    Like 1
    • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

      Had this in file from a while ago…


  5. Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

    I second the comments on the pictures…very well presented. This looks to be a well-cared for vehicle that was clearly driven. There is some rust bubbling shown but overall I’d be surprised if it doesn’t go over $10K at the end of the day Monday. Back in 1970-71, I was working in Flushing, Queens and one of my colleagues and her husband had a 1968 version that I got a couple of rides in. I was driving a used 69 Corolla at the time and was jealous as hell. I love the dashboard, to say nothing of the styling. I almost bought a 64 122 2 door as my first car, but the dealer didn’t do what he promised and I wound up buying a 66 Saab 96 with the 3 cylinder 2 cycle engine. The Swedes made excellent cars for the most part.

  6. Norman Moquin

    I should have kept my ’65 P1800 S/N 13922, but traded it on a new ’70 142S in early ’71 (was sorry for that DUMB move) ! My P1800 was more GT than a sports car. I once drove it from Connecticut to Wisconsin nonstop and was ready to keep on going. I installed a Stebro exhaust on It and an aftermarket a/c. That made it perfect !! I wish that I could afford another one !

  7. chrlsful

    “…Can you think of a more splendidly designed Volvo?…”
    yes, the duette (eventho Simon Templar drove Ms Steel in one of these) – but we speak ‘style’ rather than another noun/adjective. There is no accounting for one’s taste (lookit allda different hair cuts or some women’s fashion, architecture and furniture choices!).

    But these are a fav of mine. No Italian pep or handling – a good solid staid reliable ‘sports car’ (mirrors of their national personality & economics)… Nothing to reject out of hand ! Great color change (no yellow vehicles of any # wheel), FI, OD, discs. Bet this drives like a modern car…I’d rather daily their wagon again tho. This time I’d go 1800E/ES, the smaller v30, 40, etc of the 21st century (if that IS the correct model #s)

    • BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

      These cars have heavy steering, nothing modern here. Volvo C30 Polestar is a personal fav for a car that can be thrown around.

  8. Paul

    Love this car! Must have some great barns in Connecticut!

  9. Bob in Canada

    First car was a 1961 PV544. Second car, a ‘63 544. Then a ‘64 P1800, Married 10 months after. That was due to it. Then a ‘66 P1800. Then the babies came so on to other Volvo’s. 82 yo now and 13 Volvo’s so far. Old cars now are a 1990 Jag. xj6 and a ‘70 Fiat 2000 Spider. Should get one of these too.

  10. David Donahue

    One the my customers on my paper route had one. It was red. I loved it so much I offered to wash it for him free of charge.

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