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 “Bottom-Of-P1800-A-Pillar-metal-part.com” 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 ūüėČ 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.

Adam Featherston’s most excellent 1961 Volvo P1800


Collecting, restoring and enjoying vintage Volvo cars is a world wide hobby.  Another virtual visitor drove by Vintage Swedish Cars with his newly restored 1961 Volvo P1800.  As I am knee deep in to a full restoration of the same car, I am always looking for inspiration and motivation.

Adam Featherston resides in Marple Bridge, a town near Manchester in the UK.  Adam imported this car from San Diego and it turns out that the So Cal weather had been very gentle on the sheet metal.


The car was described as “scruffy and a little sad” and in need of cosmetic and mechanical rebuild. That’s what ¬†you would you expect after 56 years or so.



Adam commissioned Keith and Simon at the to bring the Volvo back to it’s former glory.



After blasting: Check out how solid this car is.



Photo: P1800 Specialists

Adam had some thoughts about the color. These cars looks absolutely stunning in a gun metal grey metallic and if you step up for red leather you will have a Swedish car that rivals a similar era Aston Martin.

However, after seeing the Saint’s car in the original off white color the decision was made to keep the car all stock. After all, if Roger Moore was happy with it, we should be too!



The paint came out excellent and the body is perfectly straight.



“Installing the chrome”

This is probably the most satisfying period of any car restoration: Installing new chrome on a freshly painted car. ¬†Doesn’t get any better than this.



Engine compartment.

Like the car was built yesterday.



Ivory car with red interior is about as about a sexy as it gets. Yeah,¬†I’m running out of adjectives here…Note how the early P1800 doors are very different compared to the later ones.



Since I have run out of adjectives I will just say: Nice, huh!?







Thank you Adam for sharing your car with us…and the world. This twin of your truly’s project car is excellent inspiration and motivation. The car is on it’s way to great fame as well. It was used for an arts project: The Spy Who Loved Himself

If you want to see more of this car make sure to visit Adam’s blog Saintly Wheels. Adam did warn his reader that the blog will now shift focus: Less restoration and more driving. We sure hope so.

Photos:  Adam Featherston




1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 18



I managed to get the very last rebuilt early caliper from VP-Auto Parts, a left unit. However, knowing what I know now I would have just rebuilt my calipers. What precious information is it? Read on.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 brake caliper apart


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 brake caliper apart hammer good

The pistons were stuck in the bores but after a couple of days soaking in the vinegar I gave the piston a good smack. This may seem counter intuitive but it helped loosening the piston in the bore.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 brake caliper apart large plier

Using industrial size wise grips I was able to turn and eventually lift up the pistons.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 brake caliper apart gasket

This is the cool part. It is ONLY the seal that wears in the bores. On later model calipers the bore is fitted perfectly to the piston and it can not have any flaws or rust. In this case, all I have to do is clean up the groove for the seals and we are off to the races.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 brake caliper inside

I think I will take to money I save on rebuilding these my self and buy a blast cabinet and clean these babies to perfection. There is NO limit on how many tools a man can have.


1961 Volvo P1800 project, part 17


If this is part 17 of this Vintage Volvo Tale..I wonder how many parts it will take before this car is back on the road?? 300??…500?? ¬†957?? Damn if I know…Oh well, we will keep keeping on!

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rust free

Dippety-Doodaa !!!

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 inner fender well

Wow…It is like is was 1960 again and the car was just made at Pressed Steel!

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 clean metal


The rear of the car is very clean and solid.

I did say rust free earlier and that is technically true but we certainly have some perforation caused by rust. I also found some lousy repairs on both the doors and the quarter panels. I plan to replace all of them, no need to be cutting any corners at this point. I have to order panels now, more on this later.


In the mean time, I keep fiddling with the small stuff:

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 early idler arm

Only the early cars had this idler arm. It actually used needle bearings as opposed to the later models that use a bushing. To me this will help steering effort to a small degree.  As you can see on the old shaft, the most wear and stress happens on the top. The kit includes the shaft so all good.This was the last rebuild kit available so me happy!


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 new parts

This is what $1200.00 worth of new Volvo parts looks like. This is the third of many “installments”. I think I need a separate shelf for all this to keep order and more important…my sanity!


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 exhaust manifold studs

Hot Action shot! The heat is on.

The exhaust manifold studs were in rough condition so they had to be replaced. After 50 years of marriage to the manifold flange they were not about to divorce easily.

However, after introducing the flange to an Oxyacetylene Torch at about 1980 C and thus making the molecules really excited (and red) the studs reluctantly departed.

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 rear brake drum cleanup

Before and…you guessed it, skipper…after shot of the break drums after a couple of days soaking in the rust removal solution. They will be powder coated with high temp coating.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 new caliper

I was able to secure one left side early caliper from VP-Autoparts and that was it. I checked with a local rebuilder and I was quoted over $300.00 per ea caliper!

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 caliper pistons

My friend Gary Ramstad, president of the local Volvo club was generous and gave me these caliper rebuild parts. All that is missing is the large piston and I can get those from VP for 20 bucks.  As long as I can get the pistons out I should be able to rebuild them. The calipers are soaking right now, more later.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 springs

It is a pleasure to see that many new parts are actually made in Sweden. The new springs are made by Lesjöfors in Sweden.


1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 trans cross member

This is the transmission cross member. See that bend on the left side? I was certain that the previous owner took this fine car for a spin in some rough terrain. I checked under my 1964 parts car and it has the same recess, however it is factory pressed. What is going on here??

Turns out it is a recess to clear the speedometer cable. Jensen factory workers just took the stock Volvo cross-member, grabbed a sledge-hammer and beat it in submission. Chalk that up to another “early car quirk”

1961 Volvo Jensen P1800 modified cross member

There is even a mark when they missed a little or got a bit generous with the sledge-hammer. Totally cool !



Volvo P1800 logga

A closer look at Tom Lamb’s 1962 Volvo P1800

Since I am restoring a 1961 Volvo P1800 it is always great to connect with other owners of the same model. Chances ¬†are that they have some words of wisdom for us or maybe even a spare of that strange-looking bolt that is missing on mine. You get the idea…


Tom Lamb in California owns this beauty.

This is a 1962 model with chassis number 4937 and as you can see  Volvo still used the full wheel covers. In 1963 Volvo changed things up by equipping the P1800 with the corporate rolling stock consisting of a solid body colored steel wheel with the large chrome hub cap.



How can you not want to pilot a vintage car with gauges as cool as these? They look even better at night as they emit a warm turquoise glow.

6500 RPM redline tells the driver when it is time to shift! Even though the five main bearing engine is very strong that is all the push rod assembly need to be exposed to.


1962Volvo-P1800-4937- Jensen-Lamb1

The cool part with these early wheel covers is that they scream EARLY CAR! …as in “I am special”


1962 Volvo - P1800 Jensen - No. 4937- Interior

Take this in: You are ready to enter a Swedish Grand Tourer right here by sitting down in this flawless red interior.

You will spend many hours here enjoying the short distinct shifter operating the smooth synchromesh transmission and comfortable highway cruising courtesy of the Laycock de Normanville  overdrive.

All this while enjoying the glorious music presented by the twin SU carburetors when approaching the aforementioned 6500 RPM redline.


The car was used for Volvo’s 60th anniversary celebration.

Tom restored the car about twelve years ago but it looks like it was done yesterday. It was restored to stock specifications with some small exceptions. For example, the distributor is now hosting a no maintenance electronic ignition system replacing the old points. Besides the obvious benefit Tom may even have picked up another horsepower or two.

Thanks Tom,  for sharing your car with us.  You set the bar high and that is now my challenge to reach the same level.

Photo: Tom Lamb

1962 Volvo P1800

I am on the mailing list of the San Diego Volvo Sports Club. From time to time I get an email from an event with pictures. This time it was from Christmas party with beautiful vintage Volvos nestled in with blue skies and palm trees.

1962 Volvo P1800 Jensen

1962 Volvo P1800 Jensen

One of the pictures contained Tom Lamb’s stunning Volvo 1962 Volvo P1800. If you are paying attention at all, and you should, ¬†you would know that we are in the beginning stages of a restoration of a similar car.

1962 Volvo P1800 Jensen

I have sent Tom a note to learn more about the car, in the mean time these pictures just had to be shared.

Photos: Jim Macindoe


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 ¬ĺ 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, G√∂teborg¬†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 1

Sometimes you have to go through life to figure out…a few things. That was a pretty profound thought, eh?

I have been playing with Volvo Amazons and 544’s for over 40 years and I have been pretty happy with that…until now.

While walking around at the Exotics at Redmond Town Center one Saturday morning I was throughly enjoying the lines of the 60’s Euro cars and especially the design of the Italian cars.

How can I own a car with those lines and still make it affordable and dependable?


The answer was right in front of me the whole time. A Volvo 1800!!

The hunt (if you can call it that) started by emailing some Volvo friends and asking if they knew of any good projects for sale.

About a day passed and I got an email from a friend. He knew of a 1962 Volvo P1800 that was for sale. 1961¬†was the first model year for this car and many 1800 enthusiast agrees that the 1961 through 1964 ¬†is the most beautiful models. The “Jensen bull bumpers, beautiful “hockey stick” moldings on the doors and some other attributes that makes is special.

If I am going to spend time and effort on one of these it might as well be an early car. I went to look at it and…

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen in garage

…two weeks later the car resting in my garage.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen 403

Turns out that this is actually a 1961 model year car. The chassis number is 423 and that actually makes it an early 1961.

P stands for Personvagn (passenger car)
1 = body type
8 = model (P1800 duh!)
3 = B18 engine
9 = Assembled outside Sweden as in England.
4 = Four speed transmission

69 = white
301 = red interior

The early cars were not equipped with overdrive. This also means that this car have a 4:11 rear axle ratio unlike the overdrive cars that had a 4:56 ratio. ¬†Nerd info: When the car’s top speed were tested, it turned out that the 4 speed cars were faster compared to the overdrive equipped ¬†cars. The taller rear axle ratio put the engine right at the optimum RPM for torque. Having said all that, I plan to add an original style overdrive to this car but I will keep the ratio stock. Best of both worlds, eh?


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen bumpers

The first order of business it to take an inventory and catalog what I have. These are the “Jensen” bumpers.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen grille

Early style “egg crate” grille made from heavy aluminum.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen tail lights

All red tail light lenses.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen dash

The car has a FrigiKing underdash A/C unit.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen engine

Looks like it has a later model sealed cooling system and a five blade fan. I think this may have been upgraded when the A/C was added.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen wheels

I am sure these are the original 4 1/2 wide rims.

1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen wheel marking

The rims appear to be in a gun-metal gray color.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen jack

Original jack and lug wrench.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen interior lights

License light assembly without back up light. it is my understanding that only the early cars had these milky interior lenses as they later were clear.


1961 Volvo P1800 Jensen manual

Original manual with notes from the original owner about spark plug gap etc. Cool stuff.

This will be a HUGE project and I hope to be able to pull it off.