The Volvo 1800ES has this undeniable “cool” factor that any enthusiast will recognize. Its two-door shooting brake design, by Jan Wilsgaard, is one of the greatest features about the car and gives it an iconic appearance. The 1800ES was an evolution from the original 1800 but equipped with a series of refinements to increase performance and reliability. As opposed to the earlier cars, the ES received fuel injection, thicker cylinder heads, and one of two differentials which were geared to compliment the 3-speed automatic or 4-speed manual gearbox that were available with these cars. The 1800ES may not be a focused, high revving, aggressive sports car but it certainly possesses enough performance to enjoy a windy back road. The ES was only in production for the 1972 and 1973 production years when new regulations halted the continuation of all of the 1800 models. With just over 8,000 1800ESs produced, they have become quite a rarity as many have either rusted away or have been long neglected making good examples even more challenging to find. This brings us to the example on offer here.
Available for purchase is a 1972 Volvo 1800ES, chassis number 1836353001676, with 115,208 miles, finished in white over a tan interior. This example is being offered from what is believed to be its third caretaker who has brought the car up to par mechanically and cosmetically. The current owner purchased it from a collector in Idaho in September of 2016. It is an excellent driver quality example that has had the cabin refreshed and the mechanical systems meticulously sorted to ensure proper enjoyment.
Upon approach of this example, the exterior is consistent with that of an excellent driver quality car with presentable paint and chrome. One will notice some small chips that have been touched up scattered throughout the body, focused around the front end, shoulder line of the doors, and lower seam of the glass rear hatch. The paint is strictly driver quality but absent of any major flaws. Upon acquisition of the car, the current owner had the rocker panels have been properly replaced as they had begun to develop some early corrosion issues. The exterior chrome items show consistently with no major pitting or flawing, displaying some wear but nothing that warrants refinishing. The glass on the car is free from major fault, cracks, chips, or deep scratches. The rubber trimmed belt line, bumper inserts, windshield moldings, and door seals are in good shape, still supple and undamaged. The seals for the headlamps however, have developed some significant dry rot and we suggest replacing them. An inspection of the wheels will yield no issues as they have been reconditioned and well-kept, mounted on a set off fresh tires. Overall, it is cosmetically a very nice car that will fair well at any local show. Is perfect for touring or a day camping to take full advantage of its original utilitarian purpose.
The interior of this example has been nicely reupholstered in its original tan leather and brown carpets, showing nicely. The door jams are in the condition one would expect as a good driver quality example, with some small chips in the paint and marks from entry and exit of the vehicle. The factory door jam stickers are all present and accounted for. Both of the door panels do not have any noteworthy blemishes, showing in tandem with condition of the rest of the car. Both of the seats have some moderate pulling in the leather but little signs of wear otherwise. The rear seats have seen light use and show accordingly with some wear. The green cloth insert located inside the armrest storage compartment has incurred some dark staining. The dash is presentable, noting a couple light scratches and minor scuff in the finish but absent of any cracks or fading. All the instrument faces are clean and fully functional with no blemishes to note. The original head unit has been replaced with a later Pioneer unit however, the original unit is included in the sale. The chocolate brown rugs are in good condition with no stains or tears, showing consistently throughout the cabin. The headliner is tight with no sagging or major blemishes and is original.
Making our way to the engine bay, the 1.8L 4-cylinder power plant is original to the car, making this a matching-numbers example. At first glance, certain finishes have begun to fail, there is some typical surface rust on the exhaust manifold, and the paint is chipping at the surrounding drain rails. All of these items are to be expected of a driver quality example. Taking a closer look, one will notice factory stickers and stampings still present, fresh hoses, sorted wiring, and no signs of leaks or needs for repair. The trunk area is tidy with the storage compartment for the spare wheel free of rust and wheel still present as well as the jack. The brown carpets are flawless and the leather luggage straps have been replaced, showing as new. Inspecting the underside of this example, one will immediately notice evidence of proper maintenance. There is a new set of shocks at all four corners, the muffler has been replaced, and the gas tank has been replaced at one point as well. Aside from some overspray from when the new rocker panels were installed and painted, no items are out of place.
This example has just received a recent extensive mechanical service, putting all systems in order for its next caretaker. The fuel system has been gone through in full, replacing components where needed, fluids changed and bleed, as well as wiring brought up to par. Each and every system was comprehensively gone through and made to operate as intended. The engine starts without issue even when cold and comfortably idling. On the road, the engine performs well, pulling strong and supplies just enough power to really engage in those twisty back roads for some more spirited driving. The four-speed gearbox shifts smoothly with no grinding gears and the clutch operates as it should. In the corners, the steering is responsive and has no binding or excessive play. The brakes do not pull or fade, performing as one would expect. When on the highway, just flip on the overdrive and this 1800 will comfortably cruise along without issue. This is an example that has been thoroughly sorted and is worthy of any rally or tour.
The Volvo 1800ES boasts one of the most intriguing body designs for an entry level, affordable, and utilitarian car of its era. Its shooting brake body style makes is truly unique and has projected it to icon status. This example is one that has seen many miles of enjoyment while being diligently maintained so it can offer many miles more to its next custodian. This numbers-matching example is well sorted and practical enough that if one desired, could drive every day without issue. Offered with this sale are the factory books, tools, jack, spare wheel, and radio.
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