Parked in ’92: 1970 Volvo 1800E Coupe

Volvo may have a reputation for building boxy vehicles, but the 1800 is an exception – Swedish designer Pelle Petterson designed the car while he was a student of Italian coachbuilder and designer Pietro Frua, which contributes to its sleek and attention-grabbing looks. Barn Finds readers Patrick S. and Dayle found this 1970 Volvo 1800E Coupe here on eBay, and it is a solid choice for anyone seeking to fix up one of these classic Swedish sports cars.

This 1800 is available in Tucson, Arizona, and it spent its entire life in the states of California and Arizona, which means it was not as prone to rust as other areas in the United States. The seller mentions that the car sat on jackstands in a carport from 1992 until recently. Apparently, the previous owner purchased a newer vehicle and this Volvo sat, though somewhat oddly, the vehicle does have a long list of receipts from the 1980s, showing that said owner did care about this car at one point in time.

The paint has damage from the rather arid areas it lived in, and the seller mentions that despite the patina and some minor surface spots, it is doesn’t have any serious rust problems. The chrome exterior trim has some imperfections, a dent in the rear bumper, and the seller notes that the exterior may have received body repairs at some point in its past.

Inside the cabin, the interior is all original but is also plagued the effects by sun exposure. Oddly, while most vehicles have worn drivers’ seats, the passenger and rear seats of this Volvo feature far more wear than the driver’s seat.

There’s a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine under the hood, which pairs to a 4-speed manual transmission to drive the rear wheels. The drivetrain has about 135,000 miles on it and while it does not run, the seller does mention that the engine spins freely when turned by hand and the transmission has no issue shifting through the gears.

At the time of publication, bidding is at $2,025 with the reserve not met. Would you bring this distinctive Volvo coupe back to life?


  1. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    I know this is pedantic, but this car is not a P1800. It is an 1800E.

    The “P” designation was used for the first 6000 cars built by Jensen in England. In 1963, Volvo pulled the plug on Jensen and moved production to Sweden, where the car became the 1800S (S for Sweden). In 1970, the injected cars were called the 1800E. In ’72, the wagon model came out, and was called the 1800ES (estate).

    Like 18
  2. William Evans

    I remember when the Volvo advertisements referred to the 1800 as a “Souped Down Ferrari”.

    Like 1
  3. DRV

    I just sold my 25 year owned ’70 E and it was my sixth 1800. I checked out the pics underneath and it looks excellent compared to 95% of them. The only problem with this one is everything needs to be done. I like original sheet metal so this one is a good start. The most rare part of it is the original wheel trim rings!

    Like 5
  4. Capt. Doug

    I have owned an 1800S – [B-18 carbureted engine] — truly the only car I absolutely regret selling.
    These are great touring cars with classic lines that will always elicit interest and provide pride for an owner.
    Rust is the biggest enemy on these — I looked carefully at the over 100 large pictures on Ebay ad and there is nothing serious pictured – battery box excepted and simple repair – the bottom of the doors both shown are one telling factor – very clean there.
    The body work on the rear will have to be exposed and properly fixed but from the inside it doesn’t look too bad at all.
    The mechanicals are all easily available if needed but going through it all, replacing rubber, hoses, seals etc. will be worth the effort.
    New seat coverings and padding is necessary, available. – a dash cover may suffice. That body is an exceptionally straight example to start with!
    Watching these prices for many years — getting the recognition $$ they deserve of late – as a project this is the one.

    This is a worthy project – a great car to drive and a very classy addition to any garage.

    Like 7
  5. Gord

    vin on plate and vin on title not matching or am i reading it wrong? hope someone can help…. need them to match to import into canada!

  6. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    The VIN on these cars does not appear on that plate above the brake booster. That plate designates the type (1800), drive hand (left or right), transmission (auto or manual), if it’s an export model etc. The plate also contains the color code and the upholstery code. It is very common to see that 18345XXX number listed as the VIN on these cars, even though it isn’t the VIN at all. But, nobody at the BMV seems to catch it, so it continues.

    On the E models, the VIN will be stamped on the firewall, next to the heater control valve, and, it will be on a small plate riveted to the A-.pillar on the driver side.

    Like 2
    • Motorsport Whse

      I added a pic of the VIN, actually it was stamped under the hood, RF corner or the radiator support behind the pass side headlight.

  7. Bill D.

    I love the P1800 but I’m also weirdly interested in the Isuzu Vehicross up in the first picture.

    Like 3

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