New England Project Car: 1973 Volvo P1800ES

It seems like there are some cars, no matter how obscure, that just pop up in a given area. Volvos and Saabs are two of the more popular import brands in New England, going back generations when the first 900s rolled off the boats. This 1973 Volvo P1800ES is one such car that appears in the northern states with some regularity, and the listing here on eBay confirms its undersides have been exposed often to New England’s snow-covered roads.

Listed for sale in New Hampshire, the seller says this P1800 is a garage find that sat for many years before being unearthed. In that time, the interior has stayed nicely preserved, with an attractive blue interior that is somewhat mismatched at the moment, likely due to the seats being recovered at some point. The dash in these cars is incredibly un-Volvo like, with driver-focused gauges and a smart three-spoke steering wheel. The wood dash trim still looks good, and the seller shows photos of nice door panels as well.

Ah, yes – that famous New England rust. The doors are said to be intact but the lower sills show evidence of many years of driving through snow, slop and salt-covered roads. The seller claims the Volvo is structurally “pretty good” and that the rot you see here doesn’t extend into the chassis. There is also some rust near the battery tray, which is fairly common regardless of make and location. There’s an opening bid of $500 with a reserve if you’re looking for the chance to own this P1800.

And why shouldn’t you? The wagon’s lines are still among the best of the era, with a distinctive rear hatch area that will make you fear errant baseballs more than ever due to the expansive glass canopy. These Volvos can rust at frightening rates, so this one presents fairly well even with the rust that’s visible in photos. The risk is always what you can’t see, however, and that – combined with the car’s non-running condition – truly warrants an in-person inspection.


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  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    The photos show that the rocker rust has indeed made it’s way into the chassis. Those box-beam crossmembers are prone to rust.

    When you pull the carpet, you’ll see the floors will be rusted where they meet the kick panels on both sides, and undoubtedly where the battery box lets water in on the right side. The nose cone is gonna have issues too, you can see that. So, if you’re going to fix all that rust, you should pull the chrome window trim, because there will be rust around every piece of glass on that car. Ask me how I know.

    Currently there is a nice one on Tampa craigslist for 12K, same color combo, with fresh paint, it looks really good. It just needs the FI sorted (or Weber conversion). I’ve seen that car in person, and for 12K it’s a good deal. Try 11K and have a thousand to fix the FI. This New Hampshire car will require WAY more that 12K to get it comparable. One more thing: watch and see if this car doesn’t sell to Europe, probably Holland, Germany, or Poland.

    • JustTheCaptain

      “Sorting” the FI is problematical, I sold mine because I couldn’t get it to work, had a propensity to cut out at speed. Weber’s may be the solution. Also, when you drive at night the big rear glass lights you up with every car behind you at stoplights.

  2. JustTheCaptain

    1800ES not P1800ES. The “P” cars were built in England by Jensen. The Swedish cars are the 1800S and 1800ES, “S” for “Sweden “.

  3. John T

    Another Rally Car for the BF Scribes!

  4. Rx7turboII

    Is it me or Just an Illusion that the radio looks about 3 ft away from the steering wheel? I suppose at least that gives the passenger full reign of the radio then! LOL

  5. Adolph Otterstein

    The dual points distributor is the high end bug a boo. Replacing it will change the car big time.

  6. On and On On and On Member

    Ebay description has rot in every sentence. sounds rotten. Parts car.

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