1973 Volvo P1800ES

In case you missed it, Volvo released a stunning concept at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. The Concept Estate is a modern take on what seems like an extinct breed these days: the shooting brake. The estate car is experiencing a little bit of a resurgence amongst enthusiast communities across the US, mainly due to fast five-doors like the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Estate. However, the two-door estate vehicle, or shooting brake, is still a bit too obscure for the mainstream American motoring public. The MINI Clubman is about as close as we’ve seen lately to a two-door estate vehicle, and even that one had a third door on the side.

The Volvo P1800ES was a curiosity, built towards the end of the P1800 run for 1972 and 1973 only, with a little over 8,000 produced. The trademark glass rear hatch would go on to be copied in later Volvo hatchbacks such as the 480ES and C30. This example for sale in New York is a well sorted example in a sharp red orange color that looks idyllic against the autumn backdrop in these photos.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Volvo P1800ES on eBay

Year: 1973
Model: P1800ES
Engine: 1.9 liter inline-4
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Mileage: 62,050 mi
Price: $42,500 Buy It Now

1973 Volvo 1800ES Sport Wagon. This Volvo is in excellent condition and ready to go anywhere. New seats, cam shaft, fresh tune-up, power steering kit, roof rack removed over $25,000.00 in recent work.

Other than the original Mini, I think there are fewer cars that look better with the Minilite style alloys than this Volvo. Not a lot of information is provided on this classic, but from the photos it looks pretty well sorted. The only thing I could find fault with is, you guessed it, the automatic gearbox. As usual, I’m not a fan of the slushbox in this package but for some it may be more attractive. The asking price of over $40,000 is certainly very strong money for a P1800ES. Hagerty lists a Condition #1 vehicle at just over $30,000 as of writing this. This is another case of the seller trying to recoup all of the monies invested and will eventually have to take at least a slight hit at some point.

-Paul

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11 Comments

  1. The styling was a brave glimpse at what Mercedes Benz might have in store with their compact sedans 30 years in the future. 🙂

  2. Yeah, funny how much that ’73 Volvo looks like a c-class Benz.

  3. Sorry about that, the coding was off on this post and I was in the middle of traveling this evening. It’s fixed now.

  4. Just giving you a hard time Paul! 😉

    I love that the modern C30 calls back to some of these design cues a lot (especially that back glass). However…it also reminds me a lot of the AMC Gremlin in some bad ways too. I like the old Volvo 1800s a lot, including the one with the more traditional rear section too (and of course the p1800 s coupe!) but I’m afraid you’re probably right Paul, and we won’t see a true 2-door wagon/shooting brake again soon. Unless maybe Chevy does a retro Nomad…no smaller manufacturer will get closer than Volvo’s C30 IMHO, and it’s no shooting brake.

    Weren’t these considered to be cars for salesmen or maybe mechanics back in the day? People who needed to haul a medium amount of stuff but not a lot of people?

  5. The way I understand the 1800ES was intended as a sporty vehicle for a new family with one or two young children. (The rear seats are very small) It was easy to pack up everything you needed to travel with said youngsters. Then you could fold down the rear seat and use it as a wagon to haul things.
    The execution was mixed… The car had front and rear disc brakes, RWD, rear panhard rod, etc that should lend itself towards being a sporty car. But then the suspension was set-up to be reliable for the rough roads of Sweden and it had an agricultural motor. So basically the same reliable car as Irv Gordon’s 3,000,000 mile car and not the sports car to match it’s looks.
    It does not take much to make it handle extremely well, however the steering gearbox ruins the experience with vague feel and many lock to lock turning of the steering wheel.

    Myself I have an 1800ES and hope to adapt either a Mustang II or shortened Corvette front suspension and install the 2015 Mustang EcoBoost 6 speed drivetrain. If I have no time I may sell it and buy a BMW Z4 Coupe!

  6. Very nice car… but in which way is this car German?

  7. audemars,

    We’ve had numerous requests from readers to highlight some unique Swedish machines. All of us here at GCFSB appreciate them as well, so it helps diversify the daily content and keep things interesting.

    Thanks for reading.

  8. Karmann very nearly produced the P1800 for Volvo – it probably would have had a very different history had that occurred!

  9. European Cars for Sale Blog.

    Nice.

  10. @Bushwick Bob – I, for one, suggested (recently and once is comments of the distant past) they post a Sweed weekly (or whatever). It’s a small, fun niche…probably not enough cool sales to merit its own daily blog with its own base of readers & commenters. I’m not crazy – I didn’t say “how about some British cars.” 😉

    @Rene – fascinating resto-mod plans w/ your 1800, thanks for sharing! Did you catch the one for sale last year (I saw it mentioned on Bring a Trailer) with the Honda S2000 drivetrain? 9k redline and 240hp = probably pretty fun to drive and not a lot of weight per hp to push around! Ecoboost sounds cool too, I wonder how much it weighs. I believe standalone engine “control pack” available now or soon, maybe manual trans only IIRC, it’s been awhile since I looked. Fun times!

  11. @Ry – Yes I did catch that S2000 drive-trained 1800ES. I liked it a lot! For my 2015 Mustang Eco-Boost drivetrain I just need to be patient until they start crashing them in the winter 8^)
    That will be lower cost than buying them as a stand alone engine and I can get all the bits like air conditioning, alternator, etc.

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