Volvo P1800: A Giant Leap for Volvo
The very first sports car that Volvo had produced was the Volvo P1900. It was considered to be an automobile tragedy for it did not do well. In fact, it was only able to sell a skimpy sixty eight units. Despite the downfall of Volvo’s first attempt at producing and manufacturing a sports car, the company still has taken a great leap so as to design and craft another sports vehicle. And this was the very reason for the Volvo P1800. This vehicle started as a project in the year 1957.
The person who was behind the project on the Volvo P1800 was Helmer Petterson. Petterson was an engineering consultant in the company and he was also responsible for the Volvo PV 444. The actual design aspect of the Volvo P1800 was crafted by Petterson’s son, Pelle Petterson. The company that Pelle Petterson worked for was also the company who built the very first prototypes of the Volvo P1800. Of course, the prototypes were named differently. The first three prototypes held the designations P958 X1, P958 X2, and P958 X3.
It was during the last month of 1957 when Helmer Petterson first drove the first hand-built P1800 prototype which was the P958 X1. He then had some engineers look at the prototype and it was agreed that the manufacturing and crafting of this vehicle could start soon and the company would be able to send them off rolling to the streets come the following year. However, Volkswagen the company came into the picture and restricted the engineers and firms who would be crafting the Volvo P1800. It was for the very reason that the company was afraid that it would seriously hurt the sales of their very own line of automobiles. However, as luck would have it, the company was able to locate a good firm that would have the capacity to build Volvo’s second sports car.
The Volvo P1800 made its very first public debut in January of 1960 at Brussels Salon. It showed up as a very attractive sports car that held small fins on the rear fenders. This vehicle held many components shared with other Volvo vehicles like the Volvo 120 series sedan. It held shared parts like its running gear, the 1780 cc overhead valve engine with four cylinders, and most components of its suspension. The suspension of the Volvo P1800 was A-arms with coil springs found at its front and a very solid axle with coils installed at the rear.
Volvo has, in the case of the Volvo P1800, made another giant leap and delved into the unfamiliar territory of sports cars. However, it certainly was worth their effort.