- The Washington Times - Friday, October 26, 2001

Volvo's recent success at styling attractive cars is not just a 21st century phenomenon. Almost half a century ago Volvo created the P1800 sporty car which remains appealing to this day.

A pearl white P1800S was built in May 1965 using body structures and panels produced by Press Steel Ltd. of Linwood, Scotland. The parts were assembled by Volvo in Lundby, Sweden.

With dual S.U. carburetors feeding fuel to the 108-horsepower overhead valve engine the sleek Volvo was shipped off to the United States with three optional extras an outside mirror, reclining seats and a dealer-installed FrigiKing underdash air conditioner. The base price was $3,920.

The original owner lived in Palos Verde Estates, Calif. and he kept the Volvo 25 years until William Jeanes acquired the car with 77,869 miles recorded on the odometer.

Mr. Jeanes, publisher of Road & Track magazine, had every intention of moving the 14-foot, 5-inch-long car to Michigan but reality never matched fantasy.

The 2,670-pound Volvo spent the next five years under cover in Torrance in California where it was well maintained while awaiting the trip to Michigan that never materialized.

Loyal readers of Road & Track magazine may remember the December 1994 issue in which the admittedly disorganized publisher wrote about his organizational shortcomings. He also publically acknowledged that as good as his intentions were, it appeared unlikely that he was ever going to get the Volvo moved from California to Michigan.

He then solicited interested readers to send him bids for the car, first setting a $4,000 floor. The proceeds were to go to his alma mater.

Like a lot of readers, Scott Miller, a Procter & Gamble executive in Cincinnati, took Mr. Jeanes' solicitation seriously and on a whim mailed his bid for the car.

"It was a blind date," Mr. Miller says. He had no expectation that his would be the winning bid.

A week and a half later a letter arrived from Mr. Jeanes congratulating him on submitting the successful bid on the Volvo.

Mr. Jeanes trucked the car to Detroit where it received fresh fluids as well as a new battery. It also underwent a safety check.

Mr. Miller flew to Detroit in March 1995 to take possession of his prize at the Road & Track office. He still had not seen his car. The odometer now set at 78,077 miles.

The 6-foot, 4-inch-tall new owner found the sleek Volvo cockpit surprisingly spacious. Once he was settled behind the two-spoke steering wheel he fired up the four-cylinder engine and began the 250-mile trip to Cincinnati with power transferred to the highway via the 4-speed manual transmission enhanced with an electric overdrive.

"It ran smoothly and quietly all day," Mr. Miller reports. "At 65 mph the engine turns 3,200 rpm."

A set of Pirelli P3 165R15 tires on wheels with eight cooling slots support the car on its 96 1/2-inch wheelbase.

Mr. Miller moved to Bethesda in August 1995. The Volvo was placed on the moving van and was shipped as household goods.

An oversight by the original owner was corrected by Mr. Miller in 1997 when he installed an aftermarket stereo system. He left in place on the dashboard the original radio plate.

"The car has a very flowing design," Mr. Miller observes, "It's clearly Italian."

Chrome spears start at the headlights and stretch back to just aft of the door before sharply turning up to flow along the tops of the abbreviated fins on the rear fenders.

Each reaf fender features a windsplit to accommodate the horizontal taillight.

Mr. Miller reports fuel consumption of 25 mph which gives the car a cruising range of almost 300 miles with its 12-gallon tank.

The odometer on the little white Volvo now stands at 83,344 miles. The black vinyl interior and gray carpeting remain a pleasing contrast to the exterior color.

"It's a wonderful touring car," Mr. Miller says of his blind date that turned out to be a keeper.

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