Motors

High-tech racer rebuild for saintly Volvo P1800

Volvo P1800 Cyan

YOU may remember the Volvo P1800 as the car that Roger Moore, in his pre-Bond days, drove when he played Simon Templar in the 1960s' adventure series The Saint.

The P1800, so different from the boxy estates with which Volvo become synonymous in the Seventies and Eighties, is a great looking car, with real elegance and style.

Its presence in Volvo's back catalogue got the company's house motorsport team, Cyan Racing, thinking. What might have happened if the P1800 had been honed in-period, like a sort of Swedish Porsche 911?

Or, as Cyan Racing boss Christian Dahl puts it: "What could have been if we as a race team had been there during the Sixties, racing the P1800, and got to design a road version of our race car?"

The car on this page is the result of this fanciful thinking. It started life as a 1964 P1800 but has had an extraordinary amount of engineering expertise and imagination poured into it to transform it into the Volvo P1800 Cyan.

We're talking body panels and structural elements made from carbon fibre, a chassis made from high-strength steel and reinforced with carbon fibre, a wider track and a body redesigned to include repositioned windows.

The settings of the Volvo P1800 Cyan are not aimed at fast lap times but rather to deliver an enjoyable and exciting driving experience 

A very modern engine, a 414bhp 2.0-litre turbo unit with 336lb ft of torque and a 7,700rpm red line, has been fitted.

It's based on the unit used in the world title-winning Volvo S60 race car. "It is designed for high revs a lot, with the torque intuitively linear to the pedal," explains engineering boss Mattias Evensson.

"We have learnt from racing where the drivers want perfect control of the torque, increasing precision and driving pleasure at the same time."

A bespoke five-speed manual gearbox is used, to help emulate the mechanical feel of the original car, and the P1800 Cyan is rear-wheel-drive.

The suspension is fully adjustable and features trick dampers. The beefy brake system doesn't have a booster or anti-lock system.

That's because the P1800 Cyan prioritises analogue driver involvement above a laser-focus on lap times.

It's meant to be fun. "The car goes where you point it," says test driver Thed Björk, the 2017 touring car world champion.

"You can be brutal going into a corner and still find your apex and exit within millimetres.

"The settings of the car are not aimed at fast lap times but rather to deliver an enjoyable and exciting driving experience.

"I feel my smile widening each time that I control the drift angle of the car through a long turn."

The good news is that if you feel you want a P1800 Cyan in your life, the race team will build you one. The bad news is you'll need to give Cyan Racing at least £380,000 to get your hands on the keys...

Volvo P1800 Cyan

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Motors