Solid Swede: 1968 Volvo 1800 S

Before he starred as James Bond, the late Sir Roger Moore played the role of Simon Templar in the television spy thriller “The Saint” from 1962 until 1969. It was in this role that his chosen mode of transport was a Volvo P1800. If you wish to channel your own inner spy, then this 1968 Volvo 1800 S might be the car for you. It is located in Tampa, Florida, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding is currently sitting at $5,100, and with the reserve now met, the Volvo is set to head to a new home.

First things first. I know that there is a difference between the P1800 and the 1800 S. I was merely using it as a point of reference in this case. This Volvo looks like it might be a fairly solid car. The photos that the owner supplies are not the greatest, but they seem to show a car that is essentially fairly free of rust issues. The most prone areas such as the lower rear quarter panels look like they are solid. More vitally important is the fact that the front ends of both rockers appear to be free of rust. This is quite important, as this is an area that can cause problems, and rectifying these problems usually isn’t a cheap exercise. The panels seem to be nice and straight, and given the generally good consistency of the California White paint that has been applied to the panels, it would be interesting to see how it would respond to the application of some polish. All of the external trim and chrome is present, although it looks like some of it, including a couple of the hubcaps, sports some dings and damage. The bumpers look like they would restore quite well, but the owner has a new pair that can be included in the sale for an additional $990.

The Volvo’s interior is another area that will need very little to make it sparkle once again. All of the upholstery looks good, with no signs of any splits or tears. The dash and pad appear to be tidy, while the wheel also looks pretty decent. The most obvious flaw is the carpet, which really is looking tired and a bit threadbare in places. With that in mind, I had no problems in locating a high-quality full carpet set for around $250, so this is an interior restoration that could be quite inexpensive.

Residing in the engine bay of the Volvo is the 1,782cc B18 4-cylinder engine. Fed by a pair of SU carburetors, this engine pumps out 115hp. Backing the B18 is a 4-speed manual transmission, which sends the engine’s power to the rear wheels. While the 1800 S was no muscle car, it was still able to eventually find its way to 110mph. Having said that, getting to that speed required patience, especially when you consider that the 0-60 time was 13.9 seconds. This particular Volvo was treated to a carburetor rebuild last year. It is now said to run and drive really well.

The Volvo 1800 S is a car that has developed its own cult following. There are many reasons for this. The first of these is that it is a quirky and unusual car. The second is that they are an extremely entertaining vehicle to drive, especially on twisting roads. The fact that they are built like a tank means that they are tough and robust. Probably the clincher is the fact that parts remain readily available, and are also extremely affordable. Maybe all of those attributes help the 1800 S to tick a lot of the right boxes for you. If this is the case, then perhaps this is a classic that you should seriously consider.

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Comments

  1. Steve

    Nice over spray on the left front bumper bracket and on the license plate light

    2
  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Steering wheel is on the wrong side for Mr Templer, minor stuff ;-)
    I think I remember someone finding the Volvo from the Saint a few years back and restoring it. It was in very sad shape when found from what I remember.
    I’ve liked these including Volvo wagons. They were solid drivers.

    3
  3. kiteflier

    Had one in 1979 that had the tinworm bad but hey I was young and it was cheap. Got a call at work from the wife saying it’s TIME to get her to the hospital – contractions started (first kid). Jumped in the P1800 and floored it.. I covered all 15 rural miles in record time. That was the first time I ever heard valve float, 90 in third. Turned sharp right into driveway and the right front wheel collapsed. got out and wheel was flat on the ground but still partially attached. The king pin had come out when I turned the corner! Looked back by the rear wheel and there it was (note:you don’t go far without king pin). Jacked the car up put king pin back in and got to the hospital in time.

    11
  4. Brian

    I spy Bondo and bad bodywork.

  5. Capt RD

    Drove my 67 1800S daily for years in the early 70’s — great highway tourer, surprising amount of storage, not a speed demon, reliable beyond expectations for age, mine started to rust – this one unless it was unbelievably dry stored and extremely pampered has had the rust ‘fixed’ — if it passes a magnet test by at least 95% metal repair it could be a fine buy.
    No one will be disappointed driving an 1800S.

    2
  6. luke arnott Member

    The original choice for the programme was an E type,but Jaguar wouldn’t supply one.The later “Saint” series with Ian Ogilvie featured an XJS V12.

    2
  7. Mountainwoodie

    Back in 1978 , new to the Left Coast, I looked at one in San Francisco. The ‘Volvo” green. It had an overdrive and looked to be very solid. Didnt want to swing for the 1200 bucks and so I settled on a ’67 Toyota manual for 700 bucks. Then in the early nineties I had a chance to buy a green ES with a dealer installed sliding metal sunroof and overdrive! Again I was to cheap to pay the 3000 bucks the kind seller wanted. A road littered with misplaced priorities!

    1
  8. Charles Tucker Member

    Assuming no rust issues these are a joy to drive

  9. John Member

    Sure it’s a ’68? No side marker lights.

  10. chrlsful

    I don’t think USA needed them till ’70?

    • PatrickM

      Besides, it is a foreign car, not an American. Wasn’t manufactured here. We started installing side lights in 1968.

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