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Ready to Roll: 1971 Volvo 1800E


It may be exciting to stumble upon a barn find, but sometimes it makes more sense to buy a car that has already been pulled out and cleaned up. This 1971 Volvo 1800E had been parked for many years, but has since been brought back into drivable condition by a dealer in Washington, DC. They have already done all the dirty work so the next owner can enjoy the car while sorting out the small stuff. Find it here on Hemmings with an asking price of $9,900.


Volvo wanted something a little more sporty when they thought up the P1800. The PV544 and Amazon did well at the rallies, but they just didn’t have the “look” that consumers expected from a sports car. The P1800 changed all that with its slick profile and tail fins. Jensen was tasked with building the first cars, but their build quality wasn’t up to Volvo standards so they moved production in-house where it belonged.


The B20 was bulletproof and Volvo improved it even more by adding Bosch fuel injection which made it good for about 124 horsepower. This engine bay needs some detailing, but the seller has already changed all the fluids and gotten it running again. They claim that the compression test was good and that it is a strong driver. They also swapped out the belts, battery, and bled the brakes. These service items may seem minor, but can they be time consuming for the novice mechanic. A new radiator and a finned valve cover would really clean things up in here.


The interior needs some new seat covers and while we were at it, we would probably replace the brown carpet. Supposedly the air conditioning still works, which is a miracle, but could use some servicing. We are not sure about the claim that this is a ‘barn find”, but it could make a fun driver for someone wanting something a little out of the ordinary. Volvo is Latin for “I roll” and with a little maintenance this one will continue to do so for many years to come.


  1. george Member

    A car that runs may still have “surprises,” but probably fewer than one that has to be towed. There’s an “insurance premium” to be paid. 1800 Volvos are all beautiful cars, and parts are available, but prices haven’t gone up as much as some similar cars, probably because the parking effort is equivalent to a Nautilus machine, and partly because there is no factory convertible.

    This price might be a bit rich for a car that still needs help, but where else can you get that kind of style with the excellent build quality of a Volvo?

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  2. paul

    Price is a bit steep, but a nice ride that is bullet proof.

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  3. David

    I’ve always loved the styling of this model, clearly a step above their usual staid, shoebox on a wheels look. If I had the money, I’d snap this beauty right up!

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  4. Chris A.

    This needs a very good looking over as rust hides well in the Volvo P1800 body shell. The left rear quarter looks like it has had some work done as does the door. Yes, the drive line is bulletproof and 1971 is a good year, but there are some weak spots like the electric OD and some of the eletrics. The seat restoration won’t be cheap.

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  5. Don Brookins

    As a regular reader of this fun column, what a nice surprise to find “my car” in one of its installments. I own a ’71 and it’s my daily driver. They are indeed bullet proof and easy to maintain even for a very novice mechanic such as myself.
    This one is pricy for its condition but the car doesn’t have a defined market. It’s whatever one wants to pay. If the body is solid, I’d place its value at around 6 or 7. There’s a bit of work to do and it’s worth doing. Because of their durability, they are still out there but they are at the point of becoming a rarity. I think it’s one of the few cars that don’t need to be garaged and protected as the age and become rarer. There is great fun having it out ther every day getting constant looks and compliments. I most enjoy the 30 and under folks discovering it for the first time.
    Here’s a video I made of my car last summer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNd0WGInjvg
    It won’t play on a mobile device since there is copyrighted music but it will play at home.

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    • Brent Fullard

      Really nice video Don. Well done!

      BTW: I had a ’73 1800ES back in the day (circa’79). Teal green with tan leather interior and A/C.

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      • Don

        Thanks Brent. Glad you liked it. Had an ES too but I was young and stupid and bought an automatic. Couldn’t get out of its own way. That teal was a nice color.

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    • Roger C.

      This is a great video!

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      • Don

        Happy you liked it Rog! Pass it around.

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    • Dolphin Member

      I owned at least one of most Volvo models from the PV544 to the V70 XC, but never a P1800 despite it being the best looking Volvo of all. Seeing your terrific video reminded me how good they still look decades after they were designed and built.

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      • Don

        There is a rake to it that makes it look like it’s moving while standing still. I was once describing it to someone when he said, “Oh, it’s that one that looks like a slipper!”
        Thanks for the note!

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    • Peter

      Fab video Don!
      I actually purchased this car and am in the midst of restoring it. Should be done in the Fall of 2014. Can’t wait to get it out there after your inspiring you tube clip. THanks!

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      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Please keep us updated on your progress Peter!

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  6. Jeff

    I pay that much if it were an ES, but about 6 is about all I would spring for for this one. And that would only be after a thorough going over. The things rust in the damnedest places!

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