Here is a picture of a wonderful Volvo P1800E coupe that I took at the Old Beach car show on the 12th of February 2012 on the outskirts of Hobart in Tasmania.
Taken with my beloved Rolleicord V twin lens reflex camera which uses edium format 120 film in a 6×6 square format.
I cropped this photograph as I believe the rectangle format suited this picture better.
Taken on Fuji Superia 100 colour negative film, some old stock but cold stored stuff that I was recently given by someone who had stopped shooting film.
Metering was done with some rough calculations from readings obtained using the Light Meter application on an iPhone which I used to meter the highlight and shadow areas, grass and sky. From those I did a bit of thinking and came up with an exposure setting although I can’t remember exactly what it was as I was doing that all day and there were too many to remember!
The P1800 was the second sports car manufactured by the Swedish firm of Volvo, long associated with solidly engineered safe cars with a dull and boring image although there have been several models where this image could not be further from the truth!
The P1900 was not a sales success,with less than a hundred examples being built, but Volvo hit the nail right on the head with the P1800 which they released in 1961.
The early vehicles were assembled by Jensen in the UK using mechanical components sent from Sweden and bodies built by Pressed Steel in England however build quality concerns led Volvo to take over the tooling and move production to Sweden when the car was designated P1800S.
Later electronic fuel injection was added to replace the twin carbeurettors and the car was called the P1800E (E for Einspritz, meaning injection) and in 1972 the final variant was released, the P1800ES hatchback which bowed out in 1973.
This particular example is a 1971 P1800E and is one of the last of the original body style, the final examples being built in 1972 before the hatchback variant took over.
It has been modified with the removal of the bumpers among other things, and the wheels are from an early Volvo 760 but have been painted in a black/polish scheme and the flush fitting wheel trims of the 760 removed.
This vehicle was sold with the B20E 2 litre 4 cylinder fuel injected engine which was quite a performer in its day.
The P1800 rose to fame as the vehicle driven by Simon Templar (played by Roger Moore) in the television series The Saint.
The producers originally asked Jaguar to supply an E-Type for the show but were declined. Volvo took the opportunity to supply vehicles for the show and the car was made famous overnight.
Even now the association is so strong that most P1800s have a decal or badge on them somewhere with the stick figure Saint from the opening sequence of the show…
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