Introduced in 1960 and popularised by The Saint television series, starring Roger Moore, Volvo's pretty P1800 sports coupé, although no hairy-chested tyre-shredder, was nonetheless something of a radical departure for the sober-sided Swedish concern. Lacking a sports car in its range, Volvo had started the project back in 1957, the man chiefly responsible being an engineering consultant, Helmer Petterson, who had designed Volvo's PV444. Carrozzeria Frua built the first three prototypes and it was intended that Karmann would undertake production, though this idea was vetoed by Volkswagen, Karmann's biggest customer.
Based on the 121 saloon, the P1800 was built initially by Jensen Motors in West Bromwich and employed Volvo's rugged, four-cylinder, overhead-valve engine in 1,778cc form. Breathing through twin carburettors, this unit produced 100bhp, an output sufficient to propel the solidly built coupé to a top speed of around 105mph. The running gear was conventional, with independent front suspension and live rear axle, and all versions came with servo-assisted front disc brakes. Production of the P1800 was transferred to Sweden in 1963.
A capacity increase to 1,985cc was followed by the adoption of fuel injection in 1969, maximum power increasing to 130bhp, with four-wheel disc brakes standardised at the same time. By the end of the 1960s, the model was beginning to look dated but the introduction of the Reliant GTE-influenced P1800ES sports estate version extended its lease of life. Production of the P1800ES ceased in 1973 after 8,078 units had been built.
This P1800ES has had only five keepers from new and benefits from extensive restoration carried out between 2009 and 2012 by the owner's personal mechanic, including a new gearbox. 'MBJ 189K' is finished in green with beige vinyl interior and is described by the private vendor as in generally good condition. The car is offered with copies of old registration documents (including the buff logbook), numerous invoices for parts, current MoT/tax and Swansea V5 document.