Possibly the most interesting quintet of P1800 cars ever collected in the UK was displayed by Volvo Cars Heritage and Volvo Owners Club (UK) at the Footman James Classic Motor Show last weekend. Over 80,000 people came to admire hundreds and hundreds of beautiful cars, motorbikes and all sorts of things related to the classic vehicle hobby.
The classic vehicle hobby attracts thousands and thousands of people to the big shows – and the Footman James Classic Motor Show in Birmingham is the biggest one in the UK.
On the Volvo Cars Heritage stand, the first P1800 prototype, the X1, was joined by four other cars: the unique Aston-powered P1800 from Switzerland, a one-owner example from 1961, a white one in "The Saint" guise and a rally version.
The show was held at Birmingham’s NEC from 11th to 13th November and as usual, Volvo Cars Heritage and Volvo Owners Club had joined forces on the 300 square metre stand. Although the five 1800s represented a mere ten years in time, they did however represent so many different aspects of the car, from the very first handbuilt prototype to a late car from 1968 which had been modified for competition use.
Completing the 1800 picture were also the guests of honour, Pelle Petterson, the designer of the car and the owner of the prototype, Swedish Volvo collector Jonas Kjellberg. When this car was built by Frua in Italy, Pelle supervised the work in order to make sure that his shapes were transformed from artwork to a real car and Jonas has made it possible to put in on display.
Volvo Cars Heritage had the honour to have the designer of the P1800, Pelle Petterson on board for the show. The car has celebrated its 50th aniversary this year and it was actually here, close to Birmingham where the production of the car started in 1961.
A couple of cars in smaller scale also caused a lot of smiles from the visitors: a barber's child chair from 1965, complete with a modified 1800 pedal car for the young customer to sit still in, and another pedal car in nice original condition. Only 100 of these were built and very few remain.
Volvo Car Corporations' participation at the Footman James Classic Motor Show was, like previously, arranged by Volvo Cars Heritage, the department that nurtures and presents the company’s history and rich heritage. As before, the Volvo Owners Club was also represented at the stand, talking to visitors about the club and its activities, recruiting new members as well as providing answers to questions about what it is like to own a classic Volvo.
With this exhibition, Volvo Cars Heritage concluded the 50th anniversary year of the Volvo P1800 which has now been thoroughly celebrated nationally and internationally.