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Rusty But Running: 1973 Volvo 1800ES


If you can handle do a little bit of metal work, this 1973 Volvo 1800ES here on eBay looks like a good deal. The seller is asking $3,500 (or you can start the bidding at $200) and has disclosed the various places where the car is rusty; however, it runs and drives and doesn’t appear to be hacked up, so it could be worth taking on some bodywork. 


Based on the photos, I’d say the odds are good the seller owns (or at least works at) a Volvo specialist shop of some kind. This 1800 has been in his possession for a few years in dry storage, but he still fires it up a few times a year to run it around the block. While every system needs work and he recommends that it be trailered home, the Volvo does start, stop and turn.


The interior looks surprisingly good for the age. As you can see, the front seats will need upholstery work to be perfect, but I think you could live with it for now while other areas are repaired and updated. The backseat looks very good as well, and I love the color of the leather, personally.


There is rust in the frame supports, as well as the front and rear fenders. I’m not enough of an expert on these cars to know if the frame support area is terminal or repairable, but the seller doesn’t seem to consider it a big deal. Any of our Volvo experts care to weigh in on whether this 1800ES is a bargain or a money pit?


  1. Avatar photo Paul

    These are unibody cars, the frame supports can be replaced. This car is savable! However, there’s a lot of welding to be done. The price is aggressive, but I’d assume the reserve is a little lower than the buy-it-now price. The good news is, based on the pics, it seems very complete. Most of the parts for these cars are still available without having to get them from Sweden! Someone save it!

    Like 1
  2. Avatar photo DRV

    This is a good driver project. I guess 12k at a good reasonable metal shop with driver paint if you do the pieces detail. The brakes are 1500.00 for replacement parts if you do it yourself. The front seats are 500.00 each to do correctly. The FI looks good in the pics but a grand for motor stuff should be allowed.
    If you got it for 3500.00 and put 15k into it and a Winter of your own time, you would have a nice ES for 18500.00. It really isn’t that bad except for the green color. I really like that earlier smokey metallic blue !

    Like 0
  3. Avatar photo James

    we have a local boy thats best described as a Volvo nut.
    He has 2 of these 1 has had a good restore job but you never see it out. the other is a parts car.

    he has a few cars lying around and has a few oddball things.

    heres a google street view picture to give you an idea.. I should say though. this doesnt do it justice theres lots more that cant be seen plus there has been more added to the collection.

    Like 0
  4. Avatar photo RON

    i have always wanted one of these beauties or the coupe. at 70 i just know it isn’t for me to tackle. i have a well versed friend on these and i have avoided one for all the reasons stated. i understand the supports right at the front of the doors under the fenders at the cow are crritical and unless you are pretty skilled or willing to pay the price to some one skilled they are not for the novice, i would just be happy to own a low driver quality one but know it will neve happen. there are those out there that do have this skill though. if your aim is just to have one car that is one you desire, i would not think 18,500 as an investment over time s out of reason. but that is one guy’s opinion and why at 70 i have nothing really nice finished and the bld. full of projects but as i have said before, sometimes dreaming is what we settle for or finally get around to doing one right. i do hope someone will save this one, if i were a few years younger i would tackel it if i just got it to driver stage for my enjoyment and save it for someone else hopefully down the road i see another 70 coupe at the bottomof the page to check out

    Like 0
  5. Avatar photo Doug M. (West Coast)

    I think this is definitely save-able, but the fact that there is another one in the background and this one is being cut loose concerns me. The seller seems to have appraised the situation and decided not to take this one on? Out in Oregon it is fairly easy to find one for about $4500 without that much rust… I see about two or three a year come up on CL. However, if you are project-minded, and maybe have a friend that welds, this could be an ok project if your goal is to own one. I have a 72, and they are definitely good looking cars and fun to drive when you are done!

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo AMC STEVE

    To much of an investment for that car. There are better examples out there and this one is what I call “Clapped Out”
    Cancer has set in and the worm is still working

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo van

    I still want to see one with a later Volvo turbo.
    Pro touring with all Volvo parts.

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Mark E

    I wanted to own one of these so very badly in the 1980s. Living in the Minnesota rust belt I looked at maybe a dozen that were beautiful from twenty feet away but everything underneath had been rotted out. True Flintstone-mobiles.

    Like 0

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