Peter Leoni’s amazing 1963 Volvo 1800S Restoration


The most rewarding part of being a motor head is the people you meet along the way.

Peter checked in as he is doing a full bottom up restoration on a 1963 Volvo P1800, chassis number 6023

Looks like a pretty decent solid car to start with. Some people would drive this car as is.

Peter went to work and fixed any questionable sheet metal.

This is the track that holds the weather stripping on the doors. Since you can not go to and buy these with your Visa card, Peter made a wooden buck to duplicate this track and then made a tool so he can shape the inside exactly like the factory part. Impressive!

Peter actually built a bath for the car to run rust removing solution through it. According to Peter, the key is fluid movement. He used a pump and as the fluid is moving about, it keeps destroying rust. This he used a spy camera to look inside the cavities to make sure he did a good job.

All open seams got sealed to keep out moisture.

Protective coat of paint.


Peter is returning the car to it’s original color, 79 pearl white. You know, like the Saint!

Peter even built his own paint booth.

THIS! is when it really get to be FUN. Installing all the trim and chrome on a freshly painted car.

All hardware was re-plated to factory specs. Note the black bolts as some bolts were not shiny and some bolts that were painted like the trunk bolts for example were also black.


I met a lot of car guys that tells me “they” restored the car. A lot of times that means that they wrote checks! Peter not only do all the paint and body work…get this…he does his own chrome!

Front cross member painted in the correct blue gray color.


This is the frame that holds the headliner. The advantage is that you can work on a bench with it to make sure all wrinkles are gone before it goes back in the car.

Like this…


I look forward to updates from Peter and of course the finished product. There will be some serious awards handed out to Peter for the incredible work on this car.

The Swedish Puzzle


Since your’s truly does not have a thing to show for in the Volvo resto department I can at least show someone else’s work:

Gary Ramstad’s incredible 1967 1800S is now finished and on the road where it belongs.

Gary had the coming out party at the April 9, 2017 at the PSVSA Car Club Spring Show and Shine Swap meet for members at Juanita Beach Park in Kirkland.

Looks great from any angle.

Completely rebuilt engine and stock appearance under the hood except a little extra chrome. Chrome is known for making cars go faster. Gary did 95% of the resto including bench pressing overdrive transmissions up in to the tunnel.

All of the interior was redone as well. The interior was probably the largest reason for the “Swedish Puzzle” name. Gary bought the car partially disassembled and you know how that goes. Not only is it hard to know where everything goes, it increases the chance of missing parts. Regardless, Gary powered through and the evidence speaks for it self.

Gary owns a perfect 122S and a 544 so this 1800S rounds out his collection nicely.

Like the man sez: Now for the first time ever, I get to drive a Volvo 1800S Sports Car this 2017 Summer.

Nice job, Gary!…Now drive the wheels off it!




1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 23


This is a short update as work is interfering with my ability to play with cars!


As stated before when doing rust repairs: Make template, make replacement part, install…you know…rinse and repeat.


This is the bottom of the A-pillar. It is attached to the inside rocker panel support and hides under the front fender.



Since I can not go to “” and order this part I have to make one.



Looks OK.



I am realizing that I will test fit the rear quarter panel and front fender about a 1000 times. They fit in to a recessed area on the rocker so the rocker has to be…you know…just bloody perfect.



Speaking of perfect…Let’s get screwed!

In order to test fit everything before I start to tack and weld it in place, I use sheet metal screws in order to “suck in” the sheet metal when it belongs. One push or pull here and there will change the fit in another corner. Puh!



This sure is an interesting corner. This is where the front fender meet the body. This is NOT an Amazon, where one would just bolt on the fender and call it a day. Then you go and have ginger snaps with Gevalia coffee.

I guess this is why they call this coachwork…as in lots of work!



Another interesting area. This is the top of the front fender by the windshield. It looks like the fender was actually a part of the windshield frame. Since this area is very healthy on the car I think I will just cut the fender on the dotted line and weld to body. Then I can smooth out the windshield channel with lead.

Also, I ran this by the experts in Sweden and got approval 😉 You don’t mess with Swedish experts!

Well, that all I have to say about that.
I hope to get some quality time in the shop in the upcoming weekend.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen Project, part 3


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen dissasembly interior

All this have to come out. I am taking pictures and documenting as I go. It is always easy to tear stuff out, putting it back in the right order is another thing.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen dissasembly interior apart

It is amazing how the interior from such a small can spread out.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen dissasembly interior rear 2

All gone. I have to hack away all the sound deadener so the media blaster can get to all the surfaces. Having said that, I am researching a chemical dip as an option.



The antifreeze was very clean. That is a good sign as the car has been sitting and clean antifreeze have good corrosion protection.

1967 Volvo 1800S

If one 1800 is good then two must be better. This rather solid 1967 1800S followed me home. It will be a parts car for now but it may be a project for someone in the future.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen jack tool

Here is one of the benefits with parts cars. I was missing the crank for the jack, One look in the trunk and here is what we need. Also the washer for the spare tire was found.

1964 Volvo 1800S

Well, if two 1800 is better than three must be bestest?? This is a 1964 with a perfect right side front molding. Guess what? I have a ding in the right side molding on the 1961. This car also have a bored out B-18 with a D cam and overdrive. It also have a Volvo AM-FM Radio, could be useful.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen kick panel

Back to tearing out the rest of the interior. This must be the coolest kick panel…evar. Chrome vinyl! Looks like something Chrysler would have cooked up in the late 50’s.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen dissasembly interior all out

A/C unit is gone and so is the rest of the interior.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen air intake

It should be a felony to paint this air grille.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen air intake Binford

Binford 6000 Professional Paint Remover to the rescue!

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen in garage done for the day

All done for the day. Sometimes I just have to stop and sweep up so I can get a good start on the next shop day.

Volvo P1800 Jensen history

Volvo 1800 S

The Volvo P1800 was created in 1957 as Volvo wanted to offer something sporty for the export market. Volvo turned to Frua in Italy to design the car as they wanted…you guessed it…a car with Italian design.

Volvo P1800 Prototype

Turns out…A Swedish designer, Pelle Petterson was working for Frua at the time and he was asked by the Frua management to come up with a design. They submitted several ideas anonomysly to the current Volvo president Gunnar Engellau in December 1957. Once he saw the P1800 he said: I want that! He did not know at the time that a Swede actually penned the car and was rather mad once he found out. He wanted “Italian design”. After Mr. Engellau cooled off a bit he gave the go ahead and aren’t we lucky he did!

Volvo P1800 Prototype 2

Volvo did not have the capacity to build the car so they turned to Karmann in Germany  and they were indeed interested. However, VW got wind of this and said they would pull their production from Karmann if they made a Volvo. So…Volvo looked around in Europe for other companies and finally made a deal with Pressed Steel in the UK to build the bodies and then have Jensen in West Bromwich to assemble the car. Jensen was for example building the Austin Healey.  The contract was to build 10,000 cars.

Volvo P1800 interior

Some of the design element were scrapped in order to streamline the production. For example, the drawings had the tail pipes coming out of the rear valance and the rear license plate recessed. Also, the rear quarter windows were fixed as opposed to the original design where they could open.

Volvo P1800 styling

Volvo also wanted a new engine for this sports car so they developed the B-18. It was a quite an engine for it’s time:
It developed 100 hp SAE at 5 500 rpm while sucking Swedish air through a pair of 1 ¾ tums SU HS6 carburators.

Volvo P1800 interior

Borg&Beck supplied the clutch and they opted for Volvo’s bullet proof M40 four speed transmission. You could also order a Laycock-de-Normanville electric overdrive that would give you a total ratio of 0,76:1. With the overdrive the rear axle ratio was 4,56:1 and without the rear had 4,10:1 ratio.

Volvo P1800 design

Volvo was not happy with the quality of work from the Jensen factory and decided to bring the P1800 manufacturing back to Sweden. The good news in all of this was that Volvo’s new car factory on Hisingen, Göteborg in Sweden was finished in 1963 and that meant that the older Lundby factory could be used for the P1800 manufacturing. After 6,000 cars made by Jensen the Volvo 1800 was now made in Sweden. This is why the designation P1800 changed to 1800S and the “S” stood for Sweden, not Sport as I have believed for all my life.

Volvo 1800 E and Volvo 1800 ES

Volvo continue to improve the 1800S through out the years for safety, convenience and power until it’s demise in 1972 for the coupe and 1973 for the ES model (wagon). Volvo produced a total of 47,485 of which 8,078 were the ES model.

Photos: Volvo Herritage Press Kit

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen Project, part 2

I continue to look over the latest addition in the garage, the 1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen car.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 side

The car is quite straight but with some rust in the usual spots. What surprises me the most is how nice the trim and bright work is.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 interior

The interior is actually quite decent or being 55 years old. However, as soon as you start replacing anything it all has to go.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen door panel

The 55 year old door panels held up well.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 body number

I think this s the body number. If that is correct, Jensen (and Volvo) had already gone through over a thousand bodies by the time they got to this car, number 423! Is that possible?

I wanted to make sure about the engine, it would be great if it was the original engine. This is the delivery information that Volvo used to keep track of the cars coming from England. As you can tell, Excel was not yet invented! This is the 400 series chassis number so the circled number is 423.

P1800 delivery information

As we can see, the Chassis number 423 should have engine 149.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen engine number

Ha!…there it is…149! Good to know.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen door trim

All the trim is in an amazing condition.


i am documenting and taking photos of all items for reference. This will be a big job!


Gary Ramstad’s incredible 1967 Volvo 1800S

Gary Ramstad is a local Seattle Volvonist.  For serious vintage Volvo nerds there are three kinds of Volvo cars:

  • Volvo PV 444-544
  • Volvo Amazon
  • Volvo 1800

For most of us we have to make a choice as to what model we like the most or how much garage space one have. Gary is doing what most folks dream of doing: He owns of of each.

In addition to the 1967 Volvo Amazon 122S and the red 1962 PV 544 he added this car to the stable.

1967 1800S Volvo

It was a started project with many missing part and lots of work left.

1967 Volvo 1800S side

First test drive. Must be a great feeling.

1967 Volvo 1800S

Obviously some work left in the interior but it will be as nice as the outside.

1967 Volvo 1800S engine

B-18 porn! Attention to detail will ensure lots of awards at future cars shows. Look forward to see this one soon.

Gary is currently updating his body with a new knee! Probably a Swedish made stainless knee. Heal up good, Gary.