Vintage Bargain:

1972 Volvo 1800ES
Sport Wagon!

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Volvo's 1800ES achieved international cult car status a long time ago. Well-preserved, original examples are sought after by enthusiasts worldwide and will most likely continue to appreciate as long as there's fossil fuel available.

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Built for just two short years, 1972-73, only 8,078 of the exciting Sports Estates were ever produced. With this groundbreaking sportwagon design, Volvo successfully revived a decade-old model and gave fans of the 1800S Coupe much-needed additional luggage space in the bargain.

Derisively called Schneewittchensarg ("Snow White's Glass Coffin") in the Old World, the Volvo actually had its detractors when it was new. Today, with many cross-over designs making waves at international car shows, the Shooting Brake styling seems fluid and modern.

This sports-car-cum-wagon was anything but cheap. Though being a high-profile car -- it was even named PLAYBOY's Playmate Car of the Year in 1972 -- of beautiful finish and construction, very few Volvisti were willing to pay the steep asking price. It seems the 1800ES was just too far ahead of its time. Half a Century later, the few survivors are coveted collectors' items.

This early 1800ES, VIN *1836353-001305* was completed in February of 1972. It was sold to its previous owner, a gentleman residing in scenic Lompoc, California, in 2015.

Eventually the owner fell ill, and wasn't able to drive the car anymore. We purchased it directly from his wife.

Reportedly, in its early days, the car was involved in a fender bender, requiring a new front bumper, a new right headlight, and a new right front fender. The repair was done professionally, and you'd have to know it in order to detect it.

Volvo's body is healthy as an ox. The flanks are arrow straight, shut lines ("gaps") of doors and hoods simply perfect.

The high quality finish is still superb, with no dings, dents, or scratches to note.

Above: exterior details.

Volvo's exterior was repainted in its original "Ocean Green" color in 2017.

Stock steel wheels and center caps are in excellent condition. Beauty rings have a bit of curb rash (worst wheel shown). Tires are good.

As you would assume from a vintage Volvo known to be almost bullet-proof, the fuel-injected B20 2-liter engine, residing in a clean engine bay, is in healthy condition. It starts on the first turn of the key, runs smoothly, doesn't need diapers, and does not smoke at all.

The desirable M41 4-speed manual transmission with electric overdrive is a joy to use. The overdrive works perfectly, making highway travel a relaxing and engine-pampering affair. The car has factory air conditioning, but it will need servicing as it's not blowing cold.

Moving inside, we find an interior in the upbeat spirit of the Sixties, with traditional sports car dash and Jensen cassette radio. Sport steering wheel is the only non-stock item here.

Multiple SMITHS gauges look beautifully detailed and work perfectly, except for the oil pressure gauge. We did hook up an eternal oil pressure gauge, confirming that the oil pressure is excellent.

Factory wiring under the dash.

After the car was repainted, all of the seats were reupholstered in color-matching tan vinyl. Front seats are firm, almost too firm.

There are no flaws in the upholstery. However, seats are difficult to move; most likely the tracks will need to be lubed.

Flawless rear seat; seatback folds forward for added cargo capacity. Note rear safety belts.

Ready for a test drive?
So are we, but before we take off, let's check out the trunk area first.

More good news await in ye olde luggeren (swedish for: trunk compartment).

Factory spare resides in separate compartment below the trunk floor. Again: no corrosion anywhere, a small miracle!

Friday, September 1st, turned out to be a nice summer day here in our beloved mission town San Buenaventura. Tracie at the steering wheel, we hopped into the Volvo and went for a spirited drive, taking photos along the way.

The 1800ES behaves like a more modern classic. Its suspension and brakes are fully up to the task. Fuel-injected engine purrs, transmission is a joy to use. There are no squeaks or rattles, one truly feels safe and protected by this big hunk of Swedish steel.

And with no black boxes, no ASL, ABS, engine management computers, side air bags or other unnecessary nonsense to spoil the fun, the ES can be driven with abandon, knowing that all mechanical parts are inexpensive and easy to find, should the need ever arise.

Electric overdrive is a joy to use. Ease on the throttle, flip the lever on the right side of the steering wheel, and -- pop -- you have a 5th Highway Gear. In fact, you can use overdrive also in 3th gear, giving you 6 gear ratios to choose from!

Few of those Scandinavian Sports Wagons were built. Ever fewer survived. It's fair to assume that prices for these classics will never go down again.

If you have longed to acquire a solid example, finished in a rare and very exciting color, at a very attractive price, this is your golden opportunity.

Thank you for looking . . .


You are most welcome to inspect this fine automobile at our location in Ventura, by appointment, or have someone inspect it for you.
Please, direct all inquiries to or call us at 805-792-9797.