Monday, February 25, 2013

10k: Swap Market Find; 1973 Volvo 1800ES; Roadkill

We at DT are constantly scouring the internet looking for interesting, affordable cars because there are few barn finds to be found in the metropolitan areas of Southern California where most of us spend our drive time. However, yesterday, DT's grey-haired cub reporter found this really nice 1973 Volvo 1800 ES for sale by the mechanic/painter who just finished restoring it to its former glory.  Here's the catch. He did the work for a customer who couldn't pay.  He now owns the car and is only looking to recoup his costs out of it, that's why it is for sale for just $7,950 as shown on the sign in the window.  The seller, Bill, is located in San Diego, California and can be contacted directly via Email and phone number listed below.This 1800ES is sold!

There are no links to Ebay or Craigslist or a Volvista site for this car.  The only known pictures are those found within this article. Any information beyond what you read here will have to be obtained from the seller directly; as this is not a DT Exclusive for which we've demanding huge remunerations from the seller.  We're just passing along something we are certain at least four of our readers will probably pick up the phone and call on within the next 24 hours!!   As a courtesy to our readers, we're giving you 24 hours head start to make the call or we're probably going to snatch this one for ourselves.  If the seller's contact info to the left of this text is gone, then This car is sold!  Also, if you buy it, please send us a note or leave a comment below...we are looking at you Doctordel!

The odometer reads just 86,840 miles which the seller believes to be accurate given what he knows about the car's history.  The previous owner had the engine rebuilt at approximately 80,000 miles, but then let the car sit for so long that it many of the peripherals like the injectors, fuel pump and alternator needed work to bring the car into proper shape.

The interior presents pretty well, but it reinforces the notion that the current owner was only charged with getting it back into tip-top running shape and giving it a presentable re-paint.  That said, a weekend spent detailing the minor bits in the interior would really enhance this car's flipability presentation.

As mentioned above, the current seller painted the car himself.  This cub reporter is a known paint snob and has painted many cars and motorcycles in various locations.  This car has a 2-ft paint job which I would rank as an outstanding job by a do-it-yourselfer and nothing to complain about if even it it had been done by a professional shop.  The paint is free of runs and there is just a VERY MINOR amount of orange peel on the passenger's side rear pillar which could probably be wet sanded out as the paint appears to have a lot of depth to it as shown in the picture below.

Even as is, the car presents far better than the price tag suggests.

The engine bay has not been detailed, but the B20E came to life instantly by reaching inside and just turning the key.

Bill (the seller) is well versed in Volvos and said that he would be happy to send along any other pictures if needed by any seriously interested buyer.

The purpose of DT is met when great cars find their way into the hands of the next person who will not only take care of the car, but drive it regularly.  Hopefully, a new home will be found for this at the home of one of our Volvo loving readers.

Find another affordable, but eminently drivable classic for less? Email us here at


  1. Alright, BIR. I am starting to feel as if you have been hired by my wife to tempt me...over and over and over again. I am already going to check last weeks ES up the coast this Friday. Now, this.

  2. I was at the swap meet on Saturday. I didn't see this car there, but I was looking at a pristine '63 Coupe de Ville which sold to the guy who looked at it after me for $15,000. The person who bought it was a dealer, uploaded photos of it from his phone to his website and sold it same day for $18,000.

    OTOH I did score a typewriter for $10. Big deal, right? Except it's an Olivetti Valentine, sits prominently in the Museum of Modern Art, and goes on fleabay, when found, for $500 - $800. So not a bad day even though I missed on the Cadillac.

    Any price on the 544 next to it?

    1. If I remember correctly, that 544 was priced about like that '63 Caddy...I think he had $14,900 on the window. I didn't go any further than that.

  3. I was at the Big 3 too...........only spent 3 hours there though .had to resist ....this year seemed to be a whole lot more than in the past couple of years...either a sign the economy is picking up or going down again....

    I saw this 1800 ES...and the '63 Caddy.......most of the cars in the car corral looked a bit on the high side..I think even at 15K the Caddy while beautiful was too screwing ....well that speaks for itself

  4. Looks nice, but it is a shame the seller can't afford a coat rack and needs to use its roof instead...

  5. Seems like this is about $10-12,000 worth of a Volvo... I have one in gold, and had one in blue. Both priced much higher than this one. ...oh, yes, and I do love that 544! You don't see them that clean very often.

  6. Agree the price sounds good. I emailed him and it sounds like there are a few more details to work out than I want to dive into right now. So, I will have to allow another of

  7. My DT brethren. Bill answered all my questions very promptly and was extremely forthright. Seems like a decent guy.

  8. I checked it out yesterday. He is a decent guy. It would be mine today but I had to back out: I'm just too damned tall for it. At 6'2" I have to hunch down or drive like a pimp to see out the windshield.

    It is a great driver car. Started, stopped, ran out fine. It has a couple issues that about $500 in parts would fix (notice in the pic half the windshield trim is missing). The rear view mirror could afford to be replaced. Couple of knick nacks here and there.

    Someone shorter than 6'2" will get a great looking car.

    1. ~ maybe someone else can provide a definitive answer but recall my brother Dean telling me that it is an easy task to relocate the seat tracks to make the car comfortable for tall drivers. provision was made by the factory to do so without drilling, he told me.

    2. AbnMike- I noticed the same thing about the mirror but saw that one of his friends had two for sale at $10/each. I'm also 6'2 and fit and fit quite comfortably; but then again, I like to drive pretty close to the wheel and that usually provides a little more headroom by staying forward of the rearward slope of the roof, but cars are like shoes, they've gotta fit.
      My sense of the guy was that he's very reliable. He's apparently built quite a following of Volvo owners.
      My biggest impression was that a weekend could be spent detailing the interior and increase the visual impact dramatically. Same thing with the engine compartment.

    3. Yeah I am more torso than leg apparently so from my ass up I'm really tall but only have about a 32" inseam. So seat close enough to really work the pedals results in my head touching the roof of the car.

      Which is a shame because I loved it and would have bought it but ultimately it ended up being a safety issue - couldn't see in the side view mirror without moving my body, etc, etc.

      It really is a great car and you're right - a weekend of some detailing and a couple bar tabs on some odds and ends and it would show perfectly. Hell even at the state it's in a non-Volvo-familiar person would likely never see the couple of very very minor issues.

  9. How was the quality of the rust repair, guys? Seller
    Told me that it had quite a bit of repair done and that always makes me a little worried, hence my hesitance...

  10. As for the the height issue: I am 6'3" wearing 32w/34i measurements and I fit in my ES quite fine. A little knee splay but very manageable.


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