Europe is home to a great number of annual classic-auto events, and Techno-Classica Essen, in Germany, is up there with France’s Rétromobile and England’s Classic Motor Show, as a must-attend on the international vintage automobile calendar. Automakers with strong heritage departments have long made Techno-Classica a priority on their show calendars, and Volvo Cars is one of these.
This year, Volvo Cars Heritage has a special display centered on the iconic P1800 and its most noteworthy variants.
The (literal) celebrity of the Volvo stand is the world-famous Pearl White 1967 1800 S that was purchased new by British actor Roger Moore, and used extensively in his hit television show, The Saint, from February 1967 through the series finale in 1969.
This special 1800S was a recent purchase by Volvo Cars of North America (it was displayed during the media days of the 2017 New York International Auto Show), and retains details from its television career, including a thermometer on the dashboard and a separate interior fan, used to cool the actors during studio filming. As Volvo Cars Heritage manager Per-Åke Fröberg explained, this Volvo was later owned by actor Martin Benson, who’d played “Mr. Solo” in the James Bond film, Goldfinger. It would be restored by its American owner, Bill Krzastekin, the early-2000s, later making the show rounds at events like 2006’s Import show in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and even returning to the small screen, courtesy of Jay Leno.
Sharing the Techno-Classica stand will be another 1967 1800S, an accurately restored Light Green example personally belonging to Volvo Cars president and CEO, Håkan Samuelsson. Samuelsson (below, with his car) credits The Saint with inspiring his love of this model.
Other rare 1800 variants now being shown in Essen include a 1966 1800S convertible that was one of a small number created by Long Island, New York, Volvo dealer Volvoville;
A never registered, never road-driven, original 1973 1800ES “sportswagon;”
And a barn-find, Jensen-built P1800 dating from the first year of production (1961), along with the one-off 1968 1800ES “Rocket” prototype built under the watch of Pietro Frua, of Italy’s Carrozzeria Frua, and typically displayed at the Volvo Museum in Sweden.
Techno-Classica Essen runs through Sunday, March 25; opening hours are 9 am through 6 pm (7 pm on Friday, March 23), and you can find maps and travel information through the show’s website.