The place where James Bond had an Aston Martin In the movie, Simon Templar chose the quirky Volvo as his wheel. However, if the two fictional characters collided, what kind of car would they choose? This is the fantastic Volvo P1800 that’s heading to Oldtimer Gallery Toffee on December 29th.
Ah, Volvo is a name that’s recognized for its safety innovations, its minimalist yet chic design, and vehicles that are so practical that they typically offer larger storage spaces than the average home with three bedrooms. Of course, Volvo isn’t generally renowned for its sportiness or grand design, but in January of 1960, the world was introduced to the other side of the Swedish brand thanks to the launch of the P1800.
The P1800 was a victim of an upbringing that was not easy, and many famous automotive names were involved in one form or another. The car’s design was by Pelle Petterson, who was then employed by Pietro Frua in Italy, which gave the car the presence and elegance that many have never seen before on a Volvo. Although there were factories in Sweden, Volvo ordered the first batch of P1800s to be built by Jensen Motors in West Bromwich, UK. However, once the attractive body was fitted, the Jensen team began dropping the tiny 1.8-liter engine into the engine, which Aston Martin’s Sir David Brown wasn’t particularly enthralled by.
In a bizarre instance of ‘anything you accomplish, I can do better and better,’ Brown began with an idea to provide the P1800 the athletic prowess it rightfully deserves. The idea was to create a 2.5 four-cylinder engine of a liter that could be offered in considerable quantities to various businesses worldwide. The idea, dubbed DP208, required some expertise to move it off the ground, and that was something Aston Martin had an abundance of in the early days due to the race manager responsible for winning at the 1959 Le Mans 24hr, John Wyre. Wyre and his team began cutting off two cylinders from the engine block of a DB4 and then constructing the surrounding parts, like the crankcase and camshaft, entirely from scratch. Ultimately, due to their efforts, the team created three engines and thoroughly tested Volvo’s feisty sports automobile.
This is where the story comes to a somewhat abrupt conclusion: Volvo is forced to part with Jensen Motors after a series of quality problems. The P1800’s production was transferred back to Sweden, and project DP208 was eventually abandoned. It was thought that all test cars and the three engines were destroyed; however, in 2003, engine #3 was discovered and purchased through Swiss Aston Martin specialist Beat Roos. The next step was a lengthy find, buy, and restore process, which resulted in the fantastic British Racing Green example you can see in front of you, producing more than 150 horsepower from the booming 2.5-liter engine.
Whatever your eyes take you to, the P1800 is adorned with subtle references to Aston Martin. Aston Martin brand showcased the love that both brands shared during the creation of this project. The interior features a luxurious combination of chrome and leather and provides a great driving experience. This unique, one-of-a-kind car is a rare and largely unnoticed collaboration between two companies that couldn’t be more different. It is a must-have for anyone who is an Aston Martin or Volvo collector. It is auctioned at the forthcoming Oldtimer Galerie Toffen Classic Car Auction in Gstaad on December 29th.