Friday, May 29, 2015

5k: Shooting Star: 1973 Volvo 1800ES

The Volvo 1800ES was a shooting brake version of Volvo's aging P1800/1800S/1800E platform, meant to breath new life in the old parts.  The frameless glass tailgate equipped version only sold 8,000 units for the '72 & '73 model years, but the prices don't really reflect that level of exclusivity...yet.  Wait too long and you might find the cheap 1800ES is thing of the past like the dodo bird, cheap 911, and Lindsey Lohan's probation...and we'll have to move on to beating another dead horse.  In the meantime, giddyap <whack>.  Find this 1973 Volvo 1800ES offered for $4,500 in Vancouver, Washington (not Canada) via craigslist.

This Volvo 1800ES  isn't some kind of preserved show queen, but the ratio of rust and rot to price is very favorable if you examine recent comps.  The lack license plates and seller's wording indicates he might be some kind of liquidator, but if the car runs and drives well, I don't see how you could lose on this one. 

Under the hood is the original B20E fuel injected 2.0L pushrod four that develops 124 horsepower.  The 1800ES isn't a heavy car, so performance isn't bad when compared to similar vintage classics.

The interior has its share of rips/tears, but it is easy enough to fix at a local upholstery repair shop and much simpler to refresh an interior than deal with a rusty chassis.

See a better way to drive a coffin shaped classic?


  1. I believe the '73 was equipped with the B20F, although I've seen references to both.

    Stainless IPD brake lines go in mine this weekend. That dang a/c will be the next focus of my efforts...although I'm seriously considering replacing with a vintage air setup as the factory system has confounded both "experts" I've brought it to.

    1. Contact VintageAir in San Antonio, Texas for a great AC system for an 1800 or an ES.

  2. Not sure why, but this has been for sale for months??

  3. It's worth noting that this has Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection, unlike the K-Jet 1974 140 series and most of the 240 series. This makes it easier to convert to something like Megasquirt to support modifications. K-Jet certainly works, but not everyone knows how to work on it...

  4. Vince: thanks for posting this. It's cathartic.

    Readers: I found this while doing my daily CL Volvo search up and down the West Coast. Sent it to Vince as an internal tip before I found myself calling the seller and making another bad decision.

    By "bad decision" of course I mean "perfectly reasonable and sane purchase of $4500 1800ES." It's just the timing that's wrong for me on this one. It doesn't look like a total rust pile, claimed to be running, and it's in a good '70s color. I'd wager that there's rust in the rockers and lower quarter panels where all of these cars get eaten, so factor that into R&R costs.


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