Technical & Buying Guides

VOLVO 1800 1961-1973


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Frua of Italy are recognised as the designers of the P1800 coupe, although Pelle Petterson, son of the Volvo Engineer Helmer Petterson, was the actual designer. Pelle designed the original P1800 body style while working for Frua, a subsidiary of Ghia design studio.

The classic lines have some similarity to the 50’s style Ferrari’s. In fact it has often been suggested that the P1800 was in fact based on the Ferrari 250GT. The 1800 was built primarily as a Grand Tourer car, the 1778cc and the later 1998cc engines are almost indestructible and cars with 200,000 miles plus on their Speedo’s is not unusual, my 1962 P1800 has done in the region of ½ million miles on its original engine and member Irv Gordon’s car, a 1965 1800S, in the U.S.A. has done nearly 2 million miles with only one major re-build to the engine in all that time.

Even on today’s crowded roads, the 1800 is still a pleasure to drive or travel in, it eats up miles effortlessly, giving you a good feeling of security and comfort, the low lines of the coupe reduce the sensation of being thrown about or of the car wallowing, which is common on some more modern cars.

The earliest and rarest cars of the 1800 range are the first 6000 known as the Jensen built P1800’s, because Jensen Motors assembled them in West Bromwich, England. Of the original 6000 cars, 75% were built as left hand drive versions and went mainly to America, and the remaining 1000 were for the home market here in Britain and other RHD markets. The P1800 were produced in only three colours, Dark Grey Metallic – Code 71, Bright Red – Code 70 and Old English White – Code 69. The red and the white being bright shades and all three not being normal Volvo paint colours - cars were painted in Cellulose Paint rather than Volvo’s usual Synthetic Enamel. White and grey cars were supplied with red interior and the red model with white interior. Sadly, of the approximately 1000 RHD cars built, only around 50 in total have survive in the UK and of those only some 25 are actually on the road and being used, the remainder being in various states of restoration or too far gone to restore. Interestingly nearly all the P1800’s that survive today were built with Dark Grey Metallic paint work but many have over the years been repainted in other colours

The only model correctly known, as the P1800 is this early model, if you choose to try and buy one of these cars either to restore or already restored, you are without doubt choosing the crème-de-la-crème of the 1800s. The Jensen is in a class of its own, having many parts that are unique to this model, the badge on the C-post, the interior was different and mechanically, some parts were only used on these cars, in particular the large roulette wheel type wheel trims. The P1800 was selectively assembled by hand and therefore no two cars are the same. Jensen doors will not fit the later cars, as the doors were in fact deeper than the later ones, the glass too was of a much thicker gauge, both in the screens and the doors, window winder mechanism and window guides are also different, and not interchangeable. These cars are therefore the most expensive of the 1800's, their rarity and uniqueness enable them to hold their price.


Volvo P1800 – Jensen Motors, England  built Model –Type ‘A’ 

Chassis No: up to 6000 – Production Years May 1961to March 1963 – 6000 Units

As already said, the Jensen built 1800 is the rarest, second hand parts are hard to come by and are not cheap when found due to their scarcity. Some parts are not available at all new i.e. Curved heavy chrome trim on doors, front cow-horn bumpers, rear wrap around bumpers, front upper & lower wishbones and main front suspension crossmember (although later type can be fitted as a complete unit) and heavy aluminium egg-crate style grille (may be reproduced in the future but will be very expensive) and chrome nose cone. The chrome nose of the P1800 being a different profile to those on later cars – See photo in Gallery. The original Roulette Style Hub Caps are also rare and sort after, making extremely hard to find in both S/H and NOS condition. If your car needs them they will be expensive!

Body panels on these cars also differ. This includes front wings; front panel and also wheel arches were different profiles. Replacement new panels will fit with work; they are actually pressed from late production vehicle e.g. 1800E & 1800ES but are not correct for the purest so be careful if you decide to undertake a total restoration of this model. Try to check availability of Spares before you part with your money. Remember the Volvo Enthusiasts Club can help to source any parts you may require for this and other 1800 models.


Volvo 1800S – Volvo Sweden built – Type ‘B’

Production Year April 1963 to July 1963 – 2000 Units produced.

Due to production problems production in 1963 was moved from Jensen in West Bromwich, England although they continued to provide parts e.g. the interior for this model -. The 1800S (1963) from Chassis No: 6001 –7999. This was the first of the 1800’s to be built in Sweden, hence the ‘S’ after the number and retained many of the early Jensen features including the same body shell and interior, although different materials were used for the interior trim (other than the front seats). The car lost the Built in England by Jensen Motors Chassis Plate, which is unique to the Jensen cars, although the ‘Pressed Steel Ltd’ painted plate still remained on the vehicle. Bodyshells for the 1800 were in fact built at Linwood, Scotland for ALL 1800’s up to 1968. The 1963 1800S also lost the large full Jensen wheel trims, these being superseded by a smaller round chrome caps with a red ‘V’ in the centre and a chrome outer ring – often referred to as ‘snob rings’. These trims had previously been used on the Volvo 120 and PV models. Some 230 of these cars retained the ‘Jensen ‘C’ Post Badge, while All gained a new 1800S badge on the rear panel. Cars were now painted in Volvo standard colours, vehicles being available in Amazon Red - Code 46, Pearl White – Code 79 and Graphite Grey – Code 80. These cars are rare in terms of production numbers but in terms of cars surviving there are many more examples of this model still on the road.

Volvo 1800S – Type ‘D’

Production Years – August 1963 to July 1964 – 4,500 Units Produced

For the 1964 Model the 1800S gained an all-new Bodyshell, with different doors, glass which would remain in production until 1966 when a new rear axle mounting system would be introduced. The Type ‘D’ retained the heavy egg-crate front grille and solid wheels and large red ‘V’ hubcaps. Other changes included a new air intake grille for the heater just below the windscreen – the heavy cast unit was replaced with a lighter more flat unit. Internally the car received a new style interior, which would remain with only minor modifications, for the remainder of 1800’ an 1800E production, This vehicle also received new front suspension design and a new heater. Engine performance was increased to 108 bhp.

Volvo 1800S – Type ‘E’

Production Years – August 1964 to July 1965 – 4,000 Units Produced

The 1965 Model lost the famous Front Cow-horn Front and rear wrap around bumpers, to be replaced with flat rubber edged bumpers – same front and rear. These would remain on all models including the 1800ES to the end of production. Wheels were also replaced with a slotted style as used on other Volvo models (although wider) and a new smaller black ‘V’ hubcap. The front Grille was also replaced with what is referred to as the flat grille and a new chrome nose. This model year also saw the end of chrome on brass trim around the front and rear screens and the chrome on brass trim on top of the doors. Other smaller items of chrome were changed to cheaper anodized aluminium.

Volvo 1800S – Type ‘F’

Production Years – August 1965  to July 1966 – 4,500 Units produced

There were little changes for the 1966 Model. Engine output increased to 115bhp and the rear axle received a new mounting system. Two torque rods to replace the earlier large pressed arms which wrapped around the rear axle and a torque rod.

Volvo 1800S – Type ‘M’

Production Years – August 1966 to July 1967 – 4,500 Units Produced

For the 1967 Model there was only two major changes. These were both to the exterior. Firstly the 1800 lost the heavy chrome side trim on the doors (known as hockey sticks) and front wings (wing spears). These were replaced by a thin straight trim along side of car.

The second change was a new front grill with multiple bars made from polished anodized aluminium.

Volvo 1800S – Type ‘ P’

Production Years – August 1967 to July 1968 – 2,800 Units Produced

This was to be the last 1800S model to be fitted with the B18B 1778cc engine. There were no major changes to this model except that the two spoke steering wheel was replaced with a three spoke all plastic wheel. This new steering wheel would remain in use on all 1800’s to the end of production in 1973.

Volvo 1800S – Type ‘S’

Production Years – August 1968 to July 1969 – 1,693 Units Produced

This model is often referred to as the 2 litre ‘S’ having been the first model to be fitted with the new B20 1986cc engine. This was to be the last 1800S and the last cars to have body shells produced in Scotland by Pressed Steel. The model had many of the parts that would soon be found on the next 1800 the ‘E’. This model was also the last 1800 to be fitted with Carburetors. Both SU and Stromberg Carbs were fitted to this model and it would appear that there was no pattern to their use, just what was available at time vehicle was assembled. The car was also fitted with an alternator and improved twin circuit brakes, although the vehicle still had drum brakes on the rear. Only 1,693 of these cars were built and next to the Jensen built cars are the rarest of the cars easily found. Be careful if buying this model that it is actually a 2 litre ‘S’ and not an earlier car fitted with a 2 litre engine, which will fit ALL 1800 cars.

Volvo 1800E – Type T’

Production Years – August 1969 to July 1970 – 2,799 Units Produced.

Volvo launched the 2 litre fuel injected engine, re-naming the car the 1800E for fuel injection. The car got quite a face lift at this point and in fact was an all new body shell, production of which was in Sweden. Changes to the interior included, a new imitation wood facia for the dash, instrument changed in style and became black with white dials and the front seats gained head rests.

Externally, the fuel filler was moved from the top to the side of the rear wing. A good move as earlier cars had often suffered from water getting into the fuel if the drain had become blocked. The rear wings also gained air vents, which were an attempt to improve air circulation – one of the few criticisms of earlier cars. The front grill was the same as the previous model was now pained matt black.

Other major new features included disc brakes all round and new style wheels which were a combination of a steel rim with an alloy hub. The p.c.d. of the wheel studs also changed to metric, which allows the owner to use wheels from later produced models e.g. 240, 740 etc. An automatic version of this model using a Borg Warner unit was available but non-are believed to have been produced for the UK market, although an Auto box can be fitted to all E’s and ES’s due to the Tunnel being enlarged on all model to accommodate if required during production.

Volvo 1800E – Type ‘U’

Production Years – August 1970 to July 1971 – 4,750 Units Produced

There were no major changes to the 1800E for the Type ‘U’ other than engine performance was increased from 130bhp to 135 bhp.

Volvo 1800E and 1800ES – Type ‘W’

Production Years – August 1971 to July 1972 – 1800E = 1,865 Units Produced

                                                                                 1800ES = 3,070 Units Produced

1800ES: 1971 saw the launch by Volvo of the new 1800ES, a very innovative car, being the 1800 sports coupe, with an estate back on the same bodyshell. The car had rally type seats with integral headrests, inertia reel seat belts and an all glass tailgate. A feature that would return as a design feature on several of Volvos models in the future e.g. 480 and the C30. New all steel wheels (as fitted to the 164) were also a design feature of the 1800ES with 186/70 HR low profile tyres as standard. The car retained the 135bhp 2 litre fuel injection engine but gained the stronger M410 gearbox from the 164, the six-cylinder saloon. Automatic models were also available, however many have been converted to standard manual/overdrive over the years A conversion, which is easily undertaken with donor parts.

1800E: This would be the last model for the 1800E with only 1,865 units produced. It was built with the same interior as the new 1800ES and had the same plastic front grille. This model also gained the steel wheels and tyres from the 1800ES.  Badging on the rear panel was revised with the loss of the individual ‘V.O.L.V.O.’ letters, which had been a feature from the very first P1800 in 1961, to be replaced by badging similar to those of the 1800ES. This model is an extremely rare car with only three known to the club in the UK, however other may well exist.

Volvo 1800ES – Type  ‘Y’

Production Years – August 1972 – July 1973 – 5008 Units Produced

This would be the last 1800 to be produced. New features included an improved dash with rocker switches for the heater, wipers, and washers, instead of the pull switches common to all previous models. For the American market to comply with legislation, new mounting for the bumpers had to be introduced. These were not fitted to cars for Europe but their fitment meant that larger holes had to be made in the front and rear panel. Keeping standard Bumper Iron’s for non-USA markets meant that larger rubber Grommets (about 3” square) had to be used. The last 1800ES rolled off the production line on the 27th July 1973.


The Volvo 1800 has one major problem RUST!! Thorough inspection is therefore absolutely vital before you commit yourself to the purchase of a particular vehicle. Rust affects many areas of the 1800 and repair can be extremely expensive. Repair panels for most areas that commonly rust are available through the Volvo Enthusiasts Club’s Suppliers. Major Body panels are still available from Volvo but are expensive, however some panels are difficult to find e.g. front panel and rear panel for 1800ES. The Volvo Enthusiasts Club is able to help locate difficult and out of production parts, so give us a ring.

Front Wings:

Rust in the front wings is particularly expensive to repair. Starting at the front of wing, first inspect the areas around the headlight and sidelight. There should be a vertical seam (See Fig: 1) between the headlight and sidelight, which should continue below the sidelight almost horizontally out to the wheel arch, this is where the front panel and the front wing are joined’ This area is often filed when rust appears. The joint where the front wing and front panel joint on the top is hidden by lead loading. However sometimes bubbling can be found in the area if a line is drawn from the corner of the bonnet out to the headlight hole. Repair panels for the front area of the front wing and part of the front panel are available.

Looking now at the top of the wing check for any rust bubbles. If you look under the wing above the wheel you will see a chassis member which runs along the inner wing from the headlight bowl to the bulkhead. This chassis members is very prone to rust but more importantly when the 1800 was produced foam was inserted above this member to stop drumming between this and the wing above. The foam holds moisture and rots the wing from the underside. This foam should be removed if still in place and the area between the top of the chassis members and the lower side of the wing should be regularly filled with Waxoil or a similar product. Any signs of rust therefore on the tops of the wings are generally very bad news.

The rear lower section of the front wing is also very prone to rust. To the rear of the front wheel, under the wing, is a ‘splash plate’, which is bolted down the inner edge to the inner wing/bulkhead and sealed to the wing on the outer edge by a rubber seal. Mud etc gets trapped behind this plate causing the bottom of the wing to rust away and also the splash plate and footwell. Both the Splash plate and a repair section for the lower front wing are available. (See list of Repair Panels available)

Full replacement of the front wing can be a major operation requiring the removal of the windscreen, as part of the lip on which the windscreen fits is part of the front wing. Also both where the front wing meets the front panel at the front of the car and where it meets the scuttle below the windscreen are lead loaded. Polyester filler should not be used here, as the areas are prone to flexing when the car is used. Filler will therefore crack, so any signs of cracking in this area could mean that wings have not been fitted correctly if they have been replaced. Another problem is fit. All 1800 were very much hand built and hence replacement panels require a lot of work to fit, particularly with getting correct gaps along bonnet edge and front of door. If at all possible it is best to repair wings rather than replace, particularly as front wings are becoming difficult and expensive to obtain.

Front Panel or ‘Nosecone’:

Rust attacks this area of all models, particularly around the head and side light, which along with the wing forms the light apertures. Also check the inner nosecone behind the grille and also the lower valance around the bumper mountings and the lower edge. This panel is no longer available from Volvo due to the condition of the original press tool, however Reproduction Front Panels are now being remanufactured by specialists and available through Volvo Enthusiasts Club Suppiers.


Doors as on other cars are prone to rust at the bottom in both the skin and the door frame bottom. Good replacements are hard to find, however Door Skins are still available through the Volvo Enthusiasts Club Suppliers - both Full and half skins available and door frame lower repair panels. Doors used on all models produced after 1963 are interchangeable but late ‘E’ and ‘ES’ Doors do have internal side impact crash bars fitted. Be also aware that all 1800 were selectively assembled so fitting doors from other cars can be a problem. Doors fitted to the Jensen P1800 and very early P1800S models are unique and will only fit these bodyshells, however later doors will interestingly fit these cars if finding original doors Jensen and P1800S are a problem.


This is a major area of problem due to water, which flows down front of door being channeled out through sill. Drain holes block and sill rusts out. The sill is assembled in three main parts (See Fig: 2):

1/    The inner sill, which is split upper and lower by the cars floor.

2/    The mid sill

3/    The outer sill.

1/    The inner sill must be checked both inside the car and underneath. Rust is particularly a problem at the rear end of the sill around the seat belt mounting and under the car where it meets the floor. Check this area well particularly under the rear seats near the rear wheel arch. Replacement inner sills are available but require major work to fit correctly.

2/       The mid sill can only be viewed from under the car, between the lower flanges (See Fig; 2) of the inner and outer sills. There being a gap of approximately ¼ “ between the two over a length of around 2 feet (See Fig: 3). To make sure that the sill is not corroded you will really need to prod up between the two flanges. Obviously some owners will not like you doing this but it is the only real way to check the condition of the member. The cars strength relies mainly on the box made doorstep, inner sill and the mid sill so their condition is extremely important. Many badly repaired cars will have no gap, the Outer Sill being welded directly to the Inner Sill. These cars should be avoided as strength is very much reduced and also values will be reduced.

3/       The outer sill is really only cosmetic. Looking at the side of the car, check that there are two vertical seams at each end of the sill (See Fig: 3). This is where the front and rear wings meet the sill (See Fig: 4). The sill is actually stepped and continues behind the wings. Correct replacement of the sill is therefore expensive, as both the bottoms of the front and rear wings have to be removed to allow the full sill to be replaced.

Door Posts:

Check the bottom of doorpost where it meets and disappears into sill/door step

Rear Wings:

Check both the front and rear lower sections and the wheel arch edges. Repair panels are available for all these area. Full replacement wings are available for early and late production.

The inner wheel arch also suffers from rust. Check both inside the car under rear seat and in the boot. Repail Panels are available gor the Rear Inner Wheel Arch.

Rear Panel – Coupe:

The rear panel on the coupe model suffers from rust in two main areas. The top lip and channel onto which the boot seal fits and the lower rear valance. A repair panel is available for the rear valance both inner (3 pieces including sides) and outer

Rear Panel – Estate:

The rear panel on the ES suffers in the same way as the Coupe but is no longer available, being out of Volvo production for some years. However like the Front Nose these are now being produced by Specialists and available through Volvo Enthusiasts Suppliers -. There are two types early or late, which are identified by the size of the bumper iron holes. Later panels have the large 3” approx. square holes.


The roof on the Coupe model seem generally not to be affected by rot but check Estates particularly on the tops of each of the pillars and long the top edge of the front windscreen.


Rust in the bonnet frame is common particularly around the hinge mountings. The hinges also seize regularly if not used which cause damage when the bonnet is forced open. Rust also affects the bonnet skin particularly at the front edge and corners. Good second hand bonnets are rare and expensive. Remember also that a bonnet from another 1800 may not fit your car correctly.

Boot Lid:

Rust in the rear section of the boot lid skin around the handle is common. Like Bonnets, good second hand boot lids are rare and expensive. Also like the Bonnet, a boot lid from another 1800 may not fit your car correctly.

Front Scuttle – Area below front windscreen:

Pay particular attention when checking this area. Rust is very common under the windscreen rubber and can show itself as rust marks coming from under the seal. The bodyshell here is double skinned and rust can affect the bulkhead – check by pushing down on the panel near the rubber. If rotten the panel will easily move down away from the seal. In very bad cars I have seen this move up to ½ an inch when checked. It is worth at this stage to also check inside the car up under the dashboard to se if the are any signs of rust caused by corrosion under windscreen seal.

Estate Rear Side Windows:

The rubber seal for the side rear windows is no longer available and rust in the section above the rear wings is extremely common. The holes drilled for the screws which hold the chrome trim were, when the cars were built not rust proofed effectively, being drilled after the car was painted, which causes major rust in this area. Check with care for ANY signs of rust coming from under the seal. Repair is expensive.

Inner Front Wings:

Check the condition of the inner front wings, particularly around the battery box. Also check the chassis rail under the wing, above the road wheel, which runs from the headlight bowl to the bulkhead.


Rust in the front floorpan is common, particularly where it meets the bulkhead and above front outrigger, under the front seats above the mid crossmember and also under rear seats near the rear wheel arch. This area is very important to check as it is double skinned and is where the rear axle is mounted, so any corrosion in this area can be a problem. Front floorpan repair panels are available.

Boot Floor – Coupe & Estate:

Rust in this area is common due to poor rubber seals allowing in water. Check the inner valance under the car where it joins the bottom of the rear panel and the sides behind the rear lower section of the rear wing. Also check rear section of boor floor where it meets rear panel. The gap between the two should be regularly filled with Waxoil.

Front Chassis – Moving backwards from front panel:

1/   Front of chassis: Rust is particularly bad news here. Check around the steering box/steering idler and the anti-roll bar and front bumper iron mountings. 1800E/ES’s commonly have problems with cracking of the chassis around the steering box mounting. A repair section is available. Early cars have one bolt mounting of anti-roll bar to chassis – later have two.

2/      Radiator Crossmember: Check the condition of the radiator crossmember. This can be a very difficult member to replace if you don’t know how and I have found even on Concours winning cars that this member was in fact rusted badly. Often the member looks solid from the rear due to oil from the engine but is rotten at the front. To check the member lie on your back and put you had up behind the front valance, you will be able to feel the front of the box section. In extreme cases the front can have totally rusted away.

Replacement crossmembers are available and directions how to replace the section without removing the front panel.

3/      Engine Crossmember or Cradle: Rust can affect this major assembly – Check the underside for corrosion and also towers on to which top wishbone is attached - second hand cradles available. Check also suspension wishbones, corrosion

4/    Main Chassis Rail – rear of main engine/suspension cradle back to mid crossmember: this chassis section, particularly where the chassis kicks up the bulkhead is liable to corrosion. Check also the top section under the bonnet by bulkhead, which forms the front crumple zone.

5/       Front Outrigger with Jacking Point: Situated under front floorpan between main chassis and sills. Genuine outriggers with jacking point (looks like inverted egg cup). Repair panel has no jacking point can be fitted but this will effect value. Rust very common in this member, check where it meets sill and main chassis rail, also above – the floorpan.

6/        Mid Crossmember: The handbrake is attached to this member on the driver’s side of the car by the sill. Check the condition of this member thoroughly, as often these can be very rusty.

7/         Rear Axle Mounting and Chassis over the Rear Axle: This can, particularly on early cars be a major area of corrosion. Extremely difficult and expensive to repair, particularly in the areas around the rear axle mountings and coil spring upper mounts. No repair panels for this area. Check particularly well under rear seats near wheel arch. Early cars have large pressed arms, which link rear axle to body. Check these with care. They are available new and if replaced or removed fill with Waxoil. Check lower drain holes are clear regularly.

8/        Rear Chassis - below boot floor: Check rear section of chassis against rear valance, where rear bumpers are bolted.

The above is only a guide to rust problems in 1800’s. Care should be taken to check all parts of the car but do remember that all of these cars are all old, being produced between 1961 and 1973.


Lower 12 inches of front wings

Lower 12 inches or rear wings

Front Nose Cone/Front Wings – Area around headlight and sidelight.

Top on front wings

Bottom of Doors – Skin and frame

Bottom of doorposts

Sills – Outer, mid and inner.

Wheel arches, front and rear

Estate side window where lower chrome trim is screwed

Back valance

Boot floor

Front edge of boor aperture, for ES rear tailgate aperture, lock area

Estate 1800’s also prone to rust in roof/pillars

Front outriggers on all models

Front floor pans

Crossmember under radiator – check front edge

Chassis rail under front wing – top of inner wing, from headlight bowl to bulkhead

Front Chassis around steering box/idler, anti-roll bar mount and bumper iron mounting


Injection parts for E/ES models expensive new, hard to find second-hand

Interior hard to find in good second-hand condition, particularly armrests – New interiors available but very expensive

Some chrome trim no longer available new e.g. top of rear wing, early front nose cone. Early hockey stick style door trim, trim around ES rear windows/tailgate.

Early Bumpers no longer available new

E/ES Steering Box no longer available new – can be reconditioned but expensive

Petrol Tank - been reproduced – very expensive, good secondhand tanks hard to find

Rev Counters and Oil/Water Temperature Gauges often do not work on early cars – Can be rebuilt.

Time Clocks on all models rarely work but can be rebuilt



ALWAYS check that the car is fitted with a Genuine Volvo Oil Filter, other makes can cause problems with engine lubrication if they do not have the non-return valve fitted in them. A Volvo B18/B20 engine should cover over 200,000 miles without major rebuilding – although camshafts, valve guides and fibre timing gears may need replacement at around 100,000 miles.

Camshafts on injection engines are particularly prone to wear at around 100,000 miles and can be mistaken by unskilled ears as Crankshaft Big End Bearing failure, more skilled enthusiasts will note the sound is only half engine speed – hence valve area. Fibre timing gears can be replaced with all steel gear sets – originals are one fibre, one steel. The originals are fine and give no problem but if you intend to up-rate the engine with a high lift cam etc, steel gears are a must.

Engines with high mileage’s can smoke particularly on start up of on over-run down hill. This will generally be caused by valve guide wear and oil running down valve into combustion chamber.

B18 and B20 can be converted to run on unleaded. Original Valves fitted are already hard (Stellite) but valve seats will have to be replaced – Unleaded head conversions are though the Club and its Suppliers.


The manual gearbox fitted to the 1800 is robust, long lived, and should not cause any real problem. When driving cars it is best to ‘slip the clutch’ when engaging and dis-engaging overdrive. This helps to give a smooth operation and avoid damage to components. The use of the wrong oil can cause problems – Gear oil should never be used in gearboxes with overdrive. Oil is shared by the two units – checked and filled in the Gearbox. _ Engine Oil should be used. Manual Gearboxes used 1800ES and late E’s  M410 are expensive to rebuild due to rarity of parts.

Rear Axle:

The rear axle is again almost indestructible, however, loss of oil can cause premature failure. Check for oil leaks down back of brake backplates (Half shaft oil seal leaking) and pinion bearing seal (where prop shaft bolts to axle). It is common on higher mileage cars to encounter differential whine, but this does not mean that the axle will not give further long service. Removal of the rear brake drums on the P1800 or 1800S models requires a Special Hub Puller, which can be hired by Members from the Club

Engine Types Fitted to UK Spec Vehicles:

B18B – 1778cc Twin SU Carburetors – Fitted to P1800 (1961-63) and 1800S to 1968

B20B – 1986cc Twin SU or Stromberg Carbs – Fitted to 1800S 1968only

B20E – 1986cc  Bosch Jetronic Fuel Injection – Fitted to 1800E and 1800ES

Tuning your 1800,

The 1800 can easily tuned/uprated by its owner,.

Suspension can be improved by adding Poly Bushes or better Shock Absorbers such as Koni or Bilsteins. Wider after market steel 5 1/2 J wheels are now available from our Suppliers plus also many owners have fitted repro Minilite Alloy wheels to their vehicles

Engines can be uprated, changing engines from a B18 to B20 is just a straight swop and if you are going to rebuild your B18 you can also bore it to 2lt for new pistons, the main other block components eg Crank, Con Rods etc are identical in both engines – you will need a B20 Cylinder Head. Those used in the Injection Cars and last of the 140’s (no holes for injectors) have large inlet valves (44mm) and are the choice of many tuners – known as the ‘Big Valve Head’, obviously the injector hole need to be blanked off before use.

IPD in the USA have for many years provided owners with a range of tuning parts but other suppliers both in UK and Europe can provide more specialized parts e.g high lift Camshafts, Steel Timing Gears, Sports Exhausts etc

Volvo Enthusiasts Club Technical Co-ordinator’s will also be able to help should you need advice


Volvo 1800’s For Sale generally can generally be divided into five groups

For Restoration or Spares:

For a car to use as the basis for a total restoration

Running but require work:

Running but in need of some major work in near future e.g. Sill replacement

Cars generally in good condition:

Cars generally in good condition but may need minor work to improve appearance – good useable car with no major faults or corrosion                                   

The Best Cars:

The best cars – not concours but having only minor faults                 

Be prepared to pay more for a early produced car with Cow–horn Bumpers Jensen Built P1800’s (up to Chassis Number 6000) being the most collectable

The Very Best Cars – Concours Winners & Rebuilt:

Cars, which have been fully restored or are Concours standard, depending on all round condition of the vehicle. Interior, chrome, originality, and low mileage will add to the price, as does documented history of the car, original bill of sale etc.

An 1800ES in Concours condition is currently worth less than a coupe. Low mileage on an ES is common. Lots have less than 75,000 miles on the clock and it is unusual to find one, which has covered more than 100,000miles

A Jensen built P1800 in Concours condition, would be very unusual and therefore it is difficult to give a price for this, as it would depend on the individual car.


The Volvo Enthusiasts Club provides Technical Information on the service etc for all 1800 models and other Classic /Older Production Volvos.


Please Note: This Buyers Guide is produced by Kevin Price and is the Copyright of the Volvo Enthusiasts Club. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior permission, in writing from:

Kevin Price, 127 Kidderminster Road, BEWDLEY, Worcestershire, DY12 1JE

Volvo P1800 (Jensen of West Bromwich, England Built) 1962 – Model ‘A’
Volvo 1800ES 1972 – Model ’Y’
Front Wing – Rust around Head and Side Light can be extensive
Rust in area around Head and Side Light
Rust removed from Head and Side Light area
Repair section made from second hand wing - Repair Panel for this area available
Visible seams - Join of front wing and front panel
Visible seams - Below headlight to side light and out to wheel
Front Wing - Rear lower section, rust in this area can be extensive
Splash Plate - Rear of inner front wing (bolted down inner side) lowered
Rust in Chassis Rail under front wing between headlight bowl and bulkhead
Front Wing rear lower section removed
Front Wing rear lower section removed showing extensive rust to door post, sill etc
Inner Sill repaired
Mid Sill etc repaired
Outer Sill etc welded into position
Front Wing rear lower section Repair Panel
Front Wing rear lower section Repair Panel fitted
Repair to door step, inner sill and floor – Note repair areas to check for rust
Area behind Splash Plate Rear of Front wing – Area fills with mud so Waxoil
Extensive rust attacks doors and sills – Note wiring loom in (left) Near/Side sill
Replacement Door Skins are still available
Door Frame (Skin removed) – Check for rust, particularly in lower section
Doors with new skins fitted – Make sure they are well rust proofed inside
Seam - Sill to front wing – Also note seam other end of sill to rear wing
Rust in rear Wheel Arch – Repair Panel Available
Rear Wheel Arch, rust removed for fitting of Repair Panel
Rear Wing front lower section to sill – Repair Panel Available
1800ES Rust under Chrome Trim (trim Removed) lower of rear side windows
Rear Wing, rear lower section – Repair Panel Available
Rear Valance – Repair Panel Available
Boot Lid Seal Lip – Check for rust particularly in back corners
Check Boot Floor ( Petrol Tank on this car has been removed)
Bonnet - Check for rust in frame particularly around hinges also front of skin
Rust in Inner Wings under bonnet
Rust in Inner Wings – check also chassis rail which is other side of this area
Inner Rear Valance being repaired (Petrol Tank has been removed)
Rust in Rear Side Inner Valance
Inner Rear Wheel Arch - Rear section repaired
Inner Rear Wheel Arch – front section repaired
Extensive corrosion under rear seat – note rear axle mounting visible
More extensive corrosion under rear seat to floor and rear axle mounting
Corrosion to front of rear wheel arch, floor, rear axle mountings and chassis
Under rear seat area repaired
Rust in Inner Sill and Front Outrigger under car
Front Wing removed showing Door Post. Bulkhead end of Outer Sill etc
Front Nose Surround Profiles – Top: Jensen built cars. Lower: All later cars
Rear Axle Mounting Early Production – ‘Pressed Arm’ Reproduced Part
Front Wing ‘Splash Plate’ – Reproduction Part
Front Outrigger with Jacking Point – Genuine Volvo Part
Outer Sill – Genuine Volvo Part


Please Note: This Buyers Guide is produced by Kevin Price and is the Copyright of the Volvo Enthusiasts Club. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior permission, in writing from:

Kevin Price, Volvo Enthusiasts Club
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