My 1964 Volvo 1800S
My first Volvo was a white 1964 Volvo 1800S with red interior.
It featured a 1.8 liter 4-cylinder engine with dual SU carburetors, a 4-speed transmission with overdrive,
and classic bull-horn chrome bumpers. The car was a California car, and had the original black and yellow 1964
California license plates.
There were a number of unique and interesting things about the car:
- There were actually three horns on the car. There was the loud dual "city" horn activated by the center of the steering wheel,
and then a nicer "passing/country" horn on a stalk to the right side of the steering column.
- The overdrive switch was a Lucas switch on the dashboard. On later 1800's the overdrive was in the same place as the "passing" horn listed above.
- The car had OEM Smith gauges and Lucas switches. Many of the electrical parts could be found at Jensen and Jaguar parts shops.
- The original position of the rear-view mirror was on the dashboard; almost as if the car was designed to be a convertible. I have
heard of stories of at least one person being pulled over by the police for not having a rear-view mirror, much to their embarrassment when it is pointed out.
- There was no glove box under the dash. There was a side-pocket compartment on the kick panel at the feet of both the driver and the passenger. In one
episode of The Saint, Roger Moore asks his passenger to get something out of the glove box -- nevertheless, it was great acting.
- Early models of the 1800, like this one, had an odometer that only went up to 100,000 miles. My 1972 Volvo 1800E had that fixed, as it's odometer went all the way to 1,000,000 miles!
- The car originally came with dual SU carburetors. I replaced them with some special Volvo dual Zenith-Stromberg carburetors from a 1969 Volvo 1800S. These worked well, as they were
from the last year of the carbureted models. The next year, in 1970, Volvo went with Bosch fuel injection with the 1800E models.
- The car had a three-spoke Volvo steering wheel; all others of that style were two-spoke until Volvo went to the wood-grained three-spoke in the later models.
- The chassis number was 9329 of type 18345 VD. The original color code was 80, with 307-265 as the upholstery code.
A separate stamped number on the body itself was marked as 9282.
When I bought the car in February 1988 it needed some love, in fact that is exactly what the advertisement said: "needs love".
None of the gauges worked, the seats were very worn and badly recovered in brown vinyl, and the rest of the interior
was a little rough--the back shelf was completely missing! But the engine was strong, and the body was in pretty good shape, so I knew that it
was worthy of some repairs.
Over the next few years I did a full-scale restoration of the car. I purchased a couple of parts cars, and had a
professional upholstery show redo the red interior to match the original patterns.
My 1964 1800 was put into storage in 1992 when I purchased a 1972 Volvo 1800E. In 1995 I finally
decided that it would be best to sell it so that it wouldn't just sit in storage. I wanted someone to
drive it, and keep it rolling. I posted a number of advertisements in usenet, and I also added a description and
picture on my web site (http://www.saint.org/).
I received a number of e-mail inquiries, but being as the Internet has a global audience, many of
them were from people miles and miles away. I even received an offer from a chap in Norway, but wasn't sure how
to sell a full-sized automobile to someone on the other side of the world.
Well, as it turns out, the gentleman in Norway was serious. He wire-transferred payment directly to my bank, paid
for new tires and some repairs with his Visa card, and made arrangements with a shipping company. I delivered the car
to the shipping company in Oakland, California, on March 29, 1996. They ship cars in a container, sending them first by rail
to New York where they are transferred to a ship bound for Gothenburg, Sweden (where the car was made!).
The car arrived safely, and after a few more repairs required by the officials in Norway, the car was duly registered and is on
the road today.
Here's my gleaming white, freshly painted, 1964 Volvo 1800S sitting in the International Triax Inc. shipping yard in Oakland, California just before
it was put into a shipping container and sent on its way to Gothenburg, Sweden. Photo was taken on March 29, 1996, and was the last time I saw
the car in person. I think you can just make out the tears on the inside dashboard.
Note the "really cool" Ford Mustang wheels and the solid yellow front turn-signals.
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The dashboard of the 1964 Volvo was fairly unique. The three-spoke Volvo wheel is the only one I've seen in that style -- all the others have been two-spoke at 3 and 9. The overdrive switch is just to the
left of the pull-out ashtray. Next to that is the two-position fan switch, then the key ignition, and finally the small purple overdrive light (which can just be made
out through the holes in the steering spoke.
The vertical temperature gauge between the tachometer and the speedometer was a major operation to
replace. It is not electrical. It was two sealed copper wires that go directly from it to the attached senders.
Therefore, to replace it you have to drain the oil and the coolant.
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Photos of my 1964 Volvo 1800S in Norway, April 2004
The gentleman who I sold my 1964 Volvo to in 1996 sent me these photos that he took of the car
in April of 2004. Note the new tires and wheels that he has put on the car. They are very similar
to the ones that Simon Templar had on his white Volvo 1800 in the color episodes of The Saint, starring Roger Moore.
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A very beautiful example of one of the first "S" models made in Sweden. The "next owner" of the car stands proudly at the side.
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It certainly looks like he is taking great care of the car. Note the front turn signals have been updated to the dual-tone lens: one part for the
turn signals and the other part for the driving lights.
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