Swede Deal: 1970 Volvo P1800E

Here is a project that may be worth more than a look. This 1970 Volvo P1800E is currently up for grabs in Keene New Hampshire found here on Craigslist for $3,900. The seller has kindly provided lots of photos and gives a pretty good description of the overall condition. Apparently, like so many classic cars, this one seems to be another stalled restoration patiently waiting for someone to finish. Let’s take a look!

The seller states the interior needs a complete restoration, so we might as well get the worst of the car out the way first. The pictures provided do show a daunting task ahead as the dash is heavily cracked, and the wood inlays will all need replacement. At least all the gauges are present, however, they also show heavy corrosion on their trim rings. Again at least they are there, as are the various control knobs and what looks like the ignition key. All the seats are provided and shown in another picture, however, they too will need refurbishment, and no word on the door cards and other panels are mentioned.

Aside from the interior debacle, the exterior appears to be in fantastic shape. I mean just look at that face. There is a reasonable period Volvo advertisements compared themselves to Ferrari’s, only cheaper, and not quite as fast. Legendary coachbuilder Ghia was commissioned to design the flowing lines of these coupes. Quite a nice job they did, as these P1800’s are a far cry from the rugged utilitarian designs they are known for. The seller states that this car has undergone body repairs to all the corroded areas, apparently of which there was very little of. The underside of the car had been treated with Ziebart protection when it was originally purchased, so this certainly has aided in the prevention of the tin worm on the floorboards. Plenty of pictures are provided of the underside which is always an added bonus for those buying sight unseen. A windshield is also going to be on the “need to buy” list as it is not provided with the sale.

The seller states the engine turns over and is not seized. However, as we all know, a rebuild is most likely going to be required in order to make this one road worthy. Powered by a 2-liter fuel injected engine, these are good for about 130 horsepower. Couple this with disc brakes all around and a solid transmission, the P1800 is a great cruiser that can more than keep up with modern traffic. Plan on finding a replacement radiator as the seller does not have it. Most of these parts are available and there is a level of club support, so spares shouldn’t be too hard to find.

All in all this P1800 looks like it has great potential. A structurally sound car is always the way to go when going into a restoration. The value of these cars has been increasing as they were overlooked for so long. They are certainly eye-catching, and not seen too often, and the local Volvo dealer probably won’t even know what it is. The question remains, is $3,900 a reasonable price for such an undertaking?

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  1. hatofpork

    It looks like a nice body. I estimate about 16 or 17 large to get it back to condition, so the question becomes- “How much are restored 1970 Volvo P1800E’s worth on the collector market?” – unless you just don’t care and absolutely have to have one (not a bad thing).

  2. Steven

    Very nice one’s online for sale in the $20’s upper

  3. DRV

    I’ve had quite a few of these and one ground up resto on a ’70. Rust is the problem and the rest is simple to work with.
    Don’t spend more than 15k on it unless your money return is not important.
    They have never been an much of a seller until recently, but even now it’s a tough market for them.

  4. rallyace

    Buy it and send it to the Wellwood Garage to be built into a vintage race car. These are a blast to race and relatively inexpensive to maintain as a race car.

  5. roland schoenke

    I love the body, I would custom the interior keeping new wood trim, and through a Japanese running gear under it.

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