AutoHunter Spotlight: 1964 Volvo 1800S

Featured on AutoHunter, the online auction platform driven by ClassicCars.com, is this 1964 Volvo 1800S.

The Volvo 1800S is a car I know quite a bit about. You see, I bought and restored one of these cars, a 1966 model, about 10 years ago. One of the main reasons I bought it was because it was featured in the 1960s TV show The Saint starring Roger Moore. I loved this show as a kid and knew at some point I would own a 1800S. We went through every single system of the car, properly repaired the body giving it a bare metal respray, rebuilt every mechanical system, and also did a complete restoration on the interior. If you have ever gone through a comprehensive restoration of a car, where you were involved in the process, at the end of the project you find that you know practically every single detail about the car you restored.

I loved that car; I drove it to Monterey for Car Week, took it to see Roger Moore at a media event, won awards with the car at shows, and took countless pleasure drives. I sold the car in Monterey at the end of car week and in retrospect I should have kept the car, as it was a perfect example.

Moving on to the 1964 Volvo 1800S featured here, I will start off by pointing out what is incorrect with this one. The two things I noticed after closely examining the car and going over the Volvo 1800S books in my library were that the grille insert is of the later 1967 style, 1966 and later 1800S seats had headrests, there’s a Weber carburetor conversion, a modern radio mounted under the dash, red painted front brake calipers and rear brake drums, and the steering wheel has been covered with a leather cover. That’s it.

The seller describes this car as having been owned by its previous owner for 10 years. It is powered by its reportedly original and rebuilt Volvo B18 1.8-liter inline 4 cylinder engine and is backed by a four-speed manual transmission with overdrive. Features on the car include period correct accessory fog lights, the aforementioned digital AM/FM stereo, the 1965 and later 1800S bucket seats, and power front disc brakes. Finished in the Volvo paint color #79 Pearl White, a color this specific car was painted originally, over a black leather and vinyl interior. This means that the front seats are leather and the rear seats are vinyl, which is how these cars were delivered to the U.S. market.

The body of the car looks excellent. Some important things I noticed right off were the correct seams on the rocker panels, correct seams on both the front end and the rear end of the car where the body panels meet. I mention all of this as when Volvo 1800S cars are painted they often have these seams filled, which is incorrect.

The chrome on this car also looks excellent, especially the rear tail light housings, which tend to become pitted over time. These are either the best cared for original ones on the car, or the owner took the time when restoring the car to rechrome the old pieces or replace them. This to me speaks to a well cared for Volvo 1800S, as these parts are expensive to buy and even more expensive to rechrome.

Mechanically the seller states that in 2013 the car had its engine rebuilt with the addition of a new valve cover, distributor, spark plugs/ wires, heater cable set, pinion seal, fuel gauge sending unit, driver side track set, shift bushing and rear lights ground, brake system serviced, and a realigned exhaust system. In 2014 the car received a new fuel pump/hoses, and a headlight and fog light repair. In 2015 the car received a new fuel pump assembly. In 2016 it received an oil change, fluid check/top up, trunk latch repair, and new brakes. In 2017 the owner rebuilt water/oil temperature gauge. In 2019 the car received a new battery. In 2021 the car received new tires and Minilite style alloy wheels, fixed the horn, another oil change, fluid check/top up, a new ignition cap/rotor, a new transmission mount, and replaced the driver and passenger seats with the 1966 and later style Volvo 1800S seats in correct leather. Finally, in 2022 the owner had the headlight wiring repaired.

So after looking at this car in great detail, this is a Volvo 1800S that I would bid on and buy myself. It looks to be an excellent example. Restoring a Volvo 1800 to the level it appears this car was restored costs tens of thousands of dollars. I can tell you that my personal car definitely cost that much to do and it was rust free.

For me the best part of the Volvo 1800S is the styling and its link to Roger Moore and the TV show The Saint. This car is the spitting image of the car used in the show, and whenever I drove mine it made me feel like I was going off on another adventure somewhere in the world.

These cars are the epitome of a world class small displacement GT car, and of all those cars, such as the MGB GT, Lancia Fulvia, Fiat 124 Coupe, it is the absolute best. In fact it is so much more car than those cars that it is better compared to much higher end Italian and British GT cars of the era. The styling by Pietro Frua combined with the leather seats and amazing dash layout make the Volvo 1800S something very special. The Volvo 1800S features good handling, is fun to drive, has a very comfortable interior, and will cruise all day at 90 mph without missing a beat. There is no way to get a better classic European GT for the money than with a good example of the Volvo 1800S. This 1964 Volvo 1800S is probably the best example ever to appear on AutoHunter or ClassicCars.com.

The auction for this stunning 1964 Volvo 1800S ends Tuesday, December 26, 2023 at 12:45 p.m. (MST)

Visit the AutoHunter listing for more information and photo gallery

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