Monday, June 28, 2010
San Francisco Street Sighting - 1965 Volvo P1800S
I figured it's time to clear out some of my really old blog-bound pictures, and this car was one of the very first vehicles I photographed. I took these with my old camera well over a year ago, before I even started California Streets. In fact, I started this blog because my submissions to Jalopnik.com's "Down On the Street: Bonus Edition" were never getting posted. So here we are, and here is the second Volvo to be featured on California Streets.
The Volvo P1800's claim to fame was, as many will tell you, its role as Roger Moore's car in the TV series, "The Saint". It was white with the license plate "ST 1", and according to IMDb.com, was Moore's personal vehicle at the time. Its appearance on the show was no small factor in the subsequent boost in P1800 sales.
Not much changed on the P1800 coupe during its 12 year production run, so model years are difficult to determine. Luckily, there are a few details which give clues. First, this is a P1800S, meaning it was built in Sweden rather than the UK (early models were built by Jensen in Scotland and England). That dates it between 1963 and 1970, while the lack of side marker lights dates it before 1968. The California black license plates are probably original, and were issued around 1965. So my best guess is that this Volvo is a 1965, and leave it at that until someone corrects me.
Now, I've seen a lot of P1800s, and a lot of them were nicer than this. This poor car is beat to hell and back, rusty, sun-baked, crashed, what have you. It's very sad, because it would be a desirable car in good condition. It has the "cow horn" bumpers which are apparently rare (I haven't seen many that had these), wears the original dog dish chrome hubcaps and is painted a very dark green which appears black in certain light. Like so many San Francisco vintage cars, it begs for a restoration, but probably won't receive one unless it changes hands. As much damage as this one has, it really needs a Saint to come and save it.