Swedish Duo: Volvo 1800S and 1800ES Projects

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For the vintage Volvo fan, it doesn’t get much better than this: a garage-find pair of an 1800S coupe and an 1800ES wagon. The seller is a specialist in Volvo sales here in New England, and has helped find numerous late model examples new homes. He was contacted by an elderly owner in a nearby town to unload these two classic Volvos, which have been sitting for some time and unfortunately suffer from mice  damage, the extent of which is not disclosed. The seller would prefer to move the cars as a pair, as the owner is trying to offset mounting healthcare costs. Find the listing here on eBay with the Volvos located in North Brookfield, Mass.

Now, I’ve been scolded before by Volvo enthusiasts who noted I had my labels wrong as it pertained to the numerous renditions of the 1800 series. However, in the photos of the car from the rear, you can clearly make out a distinctive “S” badge, which would seemingly indicate this is a genuine 1800S, which would have been manufactured at a Volvo facility instead of the Jensen operations that oversaw construction of the earliest cars. The bodywork looks decent but really, we can’t tell much from the photos. North Brookfield is western Massachusetts, or at least west of the center-most city of Worcester, which is indeed snow country. An underside examination is definitely in order, but it’s good to see decent chrome and original trim pieces still intact.

The 1800ES is one of those bucket list cars for me that I would love to own but have very rarely come across the opportunity to buy (well, except for right now). The styling is gorgeous to my wagon-loving eyes, and the fact that it’s slunk down so low just makes it one of the best ways to drive a vintage car in shooting brake form. The body panels look straight on this car as well, so if the bottom is rotted out, I’d say that’s more a case of the cars falling victim to their environment rather than being neglected as the upper portions look like they’d come back to life with relative ease. Still, there’s no confirmation of whether the engine are stuck or how extensive the rodent damage is.

Interior photos are not terribly helpful, but it would appear the coupe is a manual-equipped car while the ES has an automatic, which many buyers seemed to opt for when choosing the estate body. The cabins aren’t exactly clean, with plenty of trash strewn about, but the seat upholstery is intact and the dashes aren’t cut up. The seller doesn’t provide any indication as to whether the rodent damage is a simple infestation of occupying the glove box, or if the wiring has been chewed to bits. The price seems a bit high to my eyes for two desirable-but-rust-prone vehicles stored in Massachusetts garage for decades, so it definitely warrants a phone call to see how solid (or not) these two vintage Volvos are.

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  1. Bill

    The seller supposedly “sells Volvos and other vehicles professionally” yet can’t be bothered to post any engine or undercarriage photos?
    Supposedly selling to “help out” and elderly person at a delusional price.
    Not sure why Barnfinds would promote this dealer crap.

    Like 15
  2. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    Bill is right, this has to be one of the worst ebay listing ever. Any dealer worth his salt should make a decent effort to present the cars, but this isn’t even close to a decent effort. The photos are useless.

    The text is odd and confusing; he wants to move them together, but after that he’ll split them up?? What the hell does that mean? Then he says we should move quick to get her to sign titles so he can get them under his wing? That sounds like an email that wasn’t supposed to get in to the description.

    These cars can be VERY prone to rust, especially in a snowy climate. Underside photos would definitely be a must. Buyer beware.

    Like 6
  3. CadmanlsMember

    So the guy is selling cars he doesn’t have title for. Good luck with that

    Like 8
  4. Bill

    As Rex said, that line in the listing is really strange “We should move quick so I can get her to sign titles / get them under my wing.”

    No Vin numbers either…..

    Sounds like he’s got his own side deal with the “caretaker of senior with failing health”….

    But then again I am sure I would be very happy to take them as-is for what he will be actually paying for them.

    It seems like he tried to get away with skipping the step of actually picking them up and taking them back to his place. Just sell them right out of the old folks garage with no cash laid out. Great for him if it works.

    Like 4
    • fordor

      yeah–sounds like the old/usual “flippin’ flipper” garbage

      Like 3
  5. Peter k

    The B18 & B20 motors were great until 250k miles hits the clock then they were boat anchors. Better bet is to drop an aluminum 4/6 cylinder motor in it instead

    Like 0
  6. RallyAce

    This screams ‘run away’. No photos to gauge the condition. The seller does not have title to the cars. The price is over twice what I would consider fair for two cars that have not run in 20 years.

    Like 6
  7. Stephen

    The “seller” looks like a broker – takes cars on consignment. Not great, but if a buyer is very careful this could work.

    But with close to zero effort by this seller to fairly present the cars, this would be a hard pass for me.

    Like 2
    • fordor

      You’re saying the same thing I tried to say, but my post got “censored”.

      Like 3
      • Stephen

        Cannot imagine why. Seems like a fair and pretty obvious observation.

        Like 2
  8. Graeme

    Most of these cars have rust issues. A friend of mine had one and sure enough it was full of filler. When he sold it, all the knowledgable Volvo guys inspecting it brought a magnet.

    Like 1
  9. chrlsful

    I’m w/Jeff – the ES (’72 – 4). These cars are 20 min E of me, just the other side of “the Quabin”. I like the MGB GT (’65 – ’80) same, hot hatch? or newer wolwos (small sporty wagons).

    In the day – my patch elbow cord sports coats would have fit in with any of these (P1800, 1800S, 1800E, 1800ES). All I could afford then were used 240 and (almost a waste of time) 850s wagons. 20 yrs ownership for the 1st and 18 for the 2nd (needing a interference head replacement as mechanic did not use wolwo prts doing reg maintenance B4 the ‘blow’). Unfortunately, a one car stretch is enuff (too much?) for me now. I come for the eye candy, memories and possibly a buy connection.

    Like 0
  10. Gary Rhodes

    The titles tied up in a estate or are lost? I’d be wary on these turds.

    Like 2
  11. 914Shifter

    What a bunch of complainers!! I own several of these early 1800’s (wagon and coupes) and think that the pics do a reasonable job of showing whats up… short of the rust questions from down under. (realizing, of course, that he is not cleaning them, nor taking them out of the garage to photograph them-which would definitely help bring in a stronger offer). I feel that the interiors seem to show well for how easily these can go south after 50ish years. The seats are not torn up, the dash appears to have minimal cracking, the gauges are not all rusty! Further, the price is not a bid, but only a listing with “Make an offer.” My guess is that this broker will either make a good amount if he gets a close to $20ish K. offer, and if he doesn’t get a decent offer, will probably pick them up himself for a real decent price and then “have them under his wing.” Offer $10-12k and see where that goes?

    Like 0
  12. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    Hey 914,

    Well you just go ahead and plunk down your bid for these two mystery mobiles, and we’ll see who’s complaining then!

    Like 4
    • Stephen

      Well put Rex.

      Based on the pictures, we are not sure if either car even has an engine. But we’re just complainers.

      Time for 914 to stop taking and start bidding.

      Like 2
      • 914Shifter

        @Rex and @Stephen: OK, I concede… you guys are right. If I WAS going to bid, I would not do it without contacting the seller to further confirm the questions you are raising. Therefore, one must conclude that: A. The seller does not know how to do his job well, or B. The seller only wants to show that he has “done his part” in selling these cars, and probably will NOT get a reasonable offer, after which he will be able to snatch then up for some much lower price -and considering that HE is the only one that has seen the motors, interiors and under carriages… not all us would-be bidders.

        Like 0
  13. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    What everyone else has said.
    Additionally, the terse comment in the listing about mice leads to a lot of questions. Is the wiring shot? Stuffing in the seats, upholstery not in pictures? Carpet/pad? Will a Haz-Mat suit be needed?

    Off the top of my head, I’d say that the lister was attempting to make a quick buck with a few photos and half an hour creating the listing. (somewhere between 5 and 10K) Not a crime, but seems kinda slimy.

    Ended with no visible action, BTW. Not surprised.

    Like 1
  14. Randy

    Don’t walk, run away. As a long-time owner of Volvos in general and 1800ES in particular, there’s nothing here worth any effort. Red flags are everywhere, from the photos or lack thereof and the sketchy description.

    This looks like someone trying to take advantage of an old person.

    Like 1

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