In California white with a black vinyl roof, Webasto-style sunroof and gorgeous pale blue interior (leather in front as was always the case), this is an automatic gearbox version.
First registered 20 August 1973 (which, incidentally, was a couple of months after production had ceased), this example has been a UK car all its life. There is in the paperwork microfilm evidence that the first owner was the comedian Jimmy Tarbuck (copy of original green logbook) and this is endorsed by auction entries from a few years back. When Jimmy owned it it bore his personal registration number: “COM1C”. After he sold the car it acquired the registration number which it still wears. Including him, there have been five recorded previous owners, one of which (the owner before the last one) had the car from 1979 to 2015, an amazing 36 years!
In 1972 Volvo introduced the final version of the longstanding P1800, the 1800ES, a two-door estate. Along with the Reliant Scimitar GTE and the Jensen GT, the Volvo was one of the earliest “lifestyle” estate cars. It was differentiated from those two by being from a major manufacturer using its own existing engines. Despite having used outside stylists for the original P1800 sports coupe, the 1800ES variant was an in-house design. One of its key style indicators was a frameless, glass tailgate which has reappeared on later Volvo models. Volvo continues to be proud of this heritage: http://www.volvocars.com/intl/about/our-company/heritage/heritage-models…
Although it was made by a mainstream manufacturer, the 1800ES remained a niche product in its range. When impending US safety and emissions standards threatened a significant re-design, the 1800ES was killed off after only a couple of years in production with barely over 8,000 having been made. It was the last of the line of P1800 cars, of which a total of a little over 47,000 were made. This makes it remarkably rare, even out of the total P1800 production.
This is a handsome practical and very usable classic which copes easily with modern day traffic. Although the version of the already well-established 2-litre (1986 cc) fuel injected engine used in the 1800ES was slightly down on power from that used in the P1800 coupe, when mated with the Borg-Warner three-speed automatic gearbox as here, it suited the car’s different character and likely use. Despite the Simon Templar/Saint associations of the coupe, the P1800 range was not a full-blooded sportscar anyway, although it looked much faster and had superior performance over most mainstream cars of the period. A “trouble free sports car” as Volvo said in its promotional literature.
The gearbox in this car performs well with kickdown available when required. With its folding rear seat backrest extending the available storage space, its comfortable seats and fitted seatbelts, this is a very usable, modern classic, yet benefits from being a historic class car for road taxation and is MoT exempt. There is a sheaf of original MoT certificates up to 2018 and evidence of maintenance carried out, especially in recent years (incl. a new fuel tank and sender unit, water pump, cold start valve, radiator recore, tailgate struts, door seals, headlamps, stainless steel exhaust, service ancillaries – in April 2017, etc), plus old tax discs, an original handbook and brochure and spare keys. Under 100k recorded miles.