New Spy Shots Suggest That Volvo is Preparing Something Special for the P1800’s 60th Anniversary

Polestar went through a drastic transformation in recent years. Once a small shop that built mildly hotter versions of existing Volvo models, Polestar is now a full-blown performance division that creates unique designs. Its production car lineup includes the Polestar 1 and 2, both electrified, and it seems that the brand is already working on something. But based on the spy shots we received, it’s not a brand-new model. It seems that Polestar is testing an electric version of the iconic P1800, a car that Volvo built back in the 1960s.

What is Polestar doing with a camouflaged P1800?

Is Volvo's Polestar Division Working On An Electric Version of the Iconic P1800?
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As weird as it may sound, our paparazzi took some shots of a camouflaged P1800 on the go.

This is puzzling no matter how you look at it, but it doesn’t seem that insane when we consider that the P1800 will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2021. Being such an important car for Volvo, the Swedish company is probably preparing a special model to celebrate the moment. But what could it be?

The fact that this car is camouflaged is a bit weird. The P1800 is really old and we already know how it looks like. A quick glance is enough to notice that all of the car’s iconic design cues are there, including the oval front grille, the nose that extends in front of the hood, and the round headlamps. We can also spot the pointy rear end with the taillights integrated into small wings that extend from the rear fenders, as well as the elegant rear finds.

Is Volvo's Polestar Division Working On An Electric Version of the Iconic P1800?
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But if we look close enough we can understand why this car is camouflaged. Polestar made some obvious changes, starting with the front apron, which seems to feature an additional grille at the bottom, likely for improved cooling. There’s also a prototype splitter, while the P1800’s chrome bumper is missing.

The fenders are also wider than usual and house bigger, wider, more modern wheels. The rims feature a five-spoke design that’s usually specific to newer cars. Around back, this P1800 still features an old-style bumper attached to the apron, but it’s notably different than the original element. More importantly, the car doesn’t appear to have exhaust pipes, so it could feature an electric drivetrain. Since Polestar is now focused on electric and hybrid models, an electric P1800 seems likely.

Is Volvo's Polestar Division Working On An Electric Version of the Iconic P1800?
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It’s difficult to tell what this "prototype" is all about, but maybe Polestar is working on an electric restomod for the P1800’s 60th anniversary.

Ownership of this P1800 goes back to Polestar’s former owner

A group of enthusiasts from Reddit did some research based on the license plate and found out that this P1800 is a 1964 model owned by Mattias Evensson, the head of engine development at Cyan Racing.

Evensson purchased the car from Jonas Christian Dahl, the CEO of Cyan Racing, and the man who owned Polestar from 2004 until it was purchased by Volvo in 2015. So this specific P1800 has been owned by people that worked with Volvo and Polestar for quite a few years now.

Volvo P1800 history

Is Volvo's Polestar Division Working On An Electric Version of the Iconic P1800?
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The P1800 was introduced in 1961 as a 2+2 coupe. It was designed by Pelle Petterson under the guidance of Pietro Frua, who worked under Ghia at the time. Although based on the more mundane Amazon, the P1800 featured unique styling that was recognized among the most spectacular of its time. The P1800 became famous on a global level in 1962, when it was featured as Roger Moore’s car in the television series The Saint. The series aired until 1969 and Roger Moore eventually starred in five James Bond movies.

Is Volvo's Polestar Division Working On An Electric Version of the Iconic P1800?
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The P1800 debuted with a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine under the hood. Rated at 100 horsepower, it pushed the coupe to a top speed of 120 mph. The initial batch was produced by Jensen Motors in the U.K., but quality problems forced Volvo to move production in Sweden in 1963. The engine was upgraded to 108 horsepower the same year and to 115 horses in 1966. In 1969, Volvo introduced a larger 2.0-liter four-cylinder unit good for 118 horsepower. More changes following in 1970, including the introduction of fuel injection and an upgraded engine capable of 130 horsepower.

Is Volvo's Polestar Division Working On An Electric Version of the Iconic P1800?
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The final iteration of the P1800, called the ES, was launched in 1972 as a two-door station wagon with an all-glass tailgate. The engine was downgraded to 125 horsepower. The P1800 was discontinued in 1973 and a direct successor was never offered. However, the Volvo 480 built from 1986 to 1995 is considered a spiritual successor.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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