Vintage R&T Review: 1972 Volvo 1800ES – A Successful Butt Lift

The Volvo P1800 was already stylistically outdated when it finally went into production in 1961, having been designed back in 1957. Yet it soldiered on all through the sixties, with nary a change. And marched into the seventies, looking downright antique, what with its fins and all. Amazingly, Volvo found a fairly quick and easy solution, other than to spend a fortune to create and tool up for a totally new car: turn it into a shooting brake. That body style, a sporty, mostly two-passenger wagon/hatchback, was experiencing something of a fashion peak at the time, and sure enough, the resulting 1800ES was accepted as something quite…acceptable.  Perhaps the dated aspects of the rest of the body somehow added to its unique charms?





But underneath the stylish now roof and glass rear hatch, it was essentially still an outdated car. And not a very sporty one, at that. Like the P1800, its suspension was not tuned for genuine sporty driving; it felt more just like a regular Volvo with a somewhat cramped body. The 2.0 L ohv four ran well enough thanks to its electronic fuel injection, but performance was also on the middling side, with a 11.3 second run from 0-60.