Some contributors to this site have a bit of thing about Volvos, some of which passes me by to say the least, but I can most definitely share in an admiration for the 1800ES sports hatch variant of the P1800 Coupe. And I have a bit of thing about the first series (1980-97) Renault Master and Messenger light commercial.
The pairing of the 1800ES with the Renault Master recovery truck outside a French garage was always going to bring me to a stop for photos and a look around. Being France and lunchtime (that is, it was some point between 12 pm and about 3pm), there was no-one about to help, or deter.
CC has looked at the 1800ES before, not least in Tom Klockau’s excellent piece, but it is perhaps the only rear drive Volvo I’d consider. Actually, it is the only rear drive Volvo I’d consider. But that’s just my preference and therefore not in any way scientific.
This car was obviously based on the P1800 coupe. It was perhaps too closely based on the P1800, given the limited rear accommodation, relatively high centre of gravity and, perhaps crucially, some stylistic limitations largely through the carryover of the Coupe’s rear wings and the 1961 vintage front styling. This example though, to me, looks great in the bronze metallic with the chrome highlighting.
The Renault Master and the Messanger derivative are staple features of France, being undoubtedly the most ubiquitous vehicle in their class on the country’s roads. This example is pretty typical of many conversions and adaptations of the factory chassis-cab Messenger, which was a Master cab mounted on a separate chassis with rear drive and twin rear wheels. The likely engine in this case is a 2.4 litre four cylinder diesel, driving the rear wheels.
In fact, if you broke down in France and it wasn’t a Renault Master or Messenger that came as the recovery truck, I suspect a rule would have been broken.
An intriguing combination, just waiting for a few people to finish lunch….
I have always liked these cars, definitely in this color. I find them to be stylistically interesting no matter the angle you see them from. Eh, a tow truck is a tow truck.
What if it was, for example, a 1933 Studebaker recovery truck. In France. Driven by a horse?
Ok you got me there. Depends on the horse of course………
No but probably by a Hotchkiss or a Berliet truck or maybe a Unic or Willeme
Latil, you name it !
Roger, does “clarty” mean “dirty” in Yorkshire? Cos it does where I’m from.
The garage is in the French town of La Clarte, so the name is literally Garage of LA Clarte
Yeah, I know it’s in France, but it’s called The Garage of The Dirty as far as I’m concerned, which amuses me. Sorry about that.
PS, you didn’t tell me if people in Yorkshire say “clarty”. Urban Dictionary says some folk in the north of England use it, maybe you have to go as far north as Geordieland to encounter it.
Not sure I can remember any use of “clarty” to be honest
Maybe Geordie or now out of use. Language changes etc
‘Clarty’ is from north east England – Durham and Northumberland. Roger was expelled to the south many years ago so doesn’t know such things any more.
Always liked those. Wasn’t there a guy who took one past a million miles or something? IIRC, he only had to rebuild the engine twice which is actually pretty impressive.
I believe it’s over 3 million actually. Irv Gordon. Yes, over 3 million as of two years ago.
The wheels look too modern to my eye, but that is a terrific color on that car. The only ones I ever seem to see are orange with burnt orange/chestnut colored interiors and skinny steel wheels. Pretty design. I see where Volvo tried to created a visual link to that style with the little C30 hatchback, but that car just never took off in the US market. I suspect price had something to do with it.
Frankly, I am perplexed with Volvo’s pricing…saw a stripped down S60 on the showroom, 4 cylinder, cloth seats, no sunroof, basic alloy wheels, basically the equivalent of an Accord LX. The Accord is about $22k, the Volvo is $34K. The value quotient is just not there.
Isn’t that the case with all luxury cars/superior cars? I mean the accord is nice and all, but god forbid you get hit in one of those things.
Um, the 2015 Accord is an IIHS Top Safety Pick with Good ratings all around.
In its price bracket which doesnt include things like Volvos.
Actually, no, price bracket has nothing to do with it. It is rated comparatively against everything in its size class. It is entirely possible that a Toyota can outperfom a Mercedes etc.
So? The IIHS statistics are not extensive- as proven by the fact that whenever they add a new test, practically everything that isn’t a Volvo or Mercedes fails.
Sorry, but I’d just as soon be in an Accord as a Volvo in a crash. Well, actually neither, preferably.
I differ! BBS honeycombs look great on that car, IMO. Of course, I run them on mine so I’m biased 😉
They attempted the same trick before with the not-for-US 480ES back in the late ’80’s
Actually, the 480 HAD been built to meet all US standards, but at the last minute they decided not to sell it here after all, due to exchange rates making the car too expensive.
A “junk sculptor” could put together four of those trucks to make a giant STOP sign.
Nice Ovlov I dont really recognize the tow truck though there is a camper around here that might share its cab.
Note a Us spec model on modern France plates. Unusual.
That’s what I’m wondering, is this a US spec car? Did they have those side marker lights on cars for the European market?
Probably recently repatriated. Far easier to find a good rust free car i N California than Europe.
Add me to the list of this car’s admirers, 15-20 or so years ago when I was looking at interesting cars this was on the short list with an Alfa 105 GTV, Lancia Fulcia coupe and BMW 2002, but I don’t think I ever saw one for sale, came close with the other cars but in the end common sense won out.
These Volvos have the loveliest lines, there is not a bad sightline on them anywhere. I really like the huge glass hatch. Note the contrast between the trucks square/very angular lines and the Volvos lovely curves.
I’m with Roger on this the only Volvo for me too though I like the coupe a bit more as I was a fan of The Saint as a kid growing up in 60s Britain.
Like most of the previous posts, I too, love the lines of this wagon. And as others have said, it’s the only Volvo I would consider owning. But didn’t they have a tube running raw fuel up into the car as a level indicator? That is just scary.
Umm, no. Where did you get that idea? That would be absurdly unsafe, and it’s not anything I’ve seen on a car less than 100 or so years old. For a company that was a pioneer in safety, that would be rather insane.
Sorry, Paul. I was curious if the posts were monitored. Been following for a while and have learned quite a bit about cars I have admired. Keep up the great work. By the way, I briefly owned a 1971. Lots of problems with the fuel injection. Still loved the car. Someone ignoring a stop sign ended the relationship rather suddenly.
I read all the comments.
I had a relative who drove one of these here in the USA after being stationed in Germany during the Vietnam war. I Vaguely remember mentioning this once already here on CC. I always thought he was a little nutty for being so attached to that oddball car. CC has caused me to re-evaluate my opinion of him and that car. There are now three Volvos I respect. The one on this tow truck, the Duett, and the 544. Even before coming to CC I had learned to respect large Volvo engines when a relative of mine owned a boat with a Volvo straight six motor.