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The Petrolhead Corner – The Ultra-Cool Restomod Volvo P1800 Cyan


The trend of restomodding a classic car has resulted in some fairly amazing cars. It is a delicate process not to butcher the original car too much but improve on every little bit you can. Bigger and better engine, retouched bodywork, performance suspension, high-performance suspension and brakes, that kind of stuff. The latest in a long line of sub-zero-cool restomods is the Volvo P1800 Cyan in a striking blue livery! Low weight, high power, beautiful package; sounds like the ideal recipe for another Petrolhead Corner episode!

The Swedish brand is known for reliability and safety, as Volvo has focussed on reducing fatalities for decades now. Their core goal is to eliminate the risk of dying in a car crash entirely by developing the safest cars they possible can. For a long period of time, this meant Volvo had an unjust reputation of being a bit bland, a bit boxy and well, boring. The last 10 or 20 years or so the design of the cars has shifted to create some of the most understated yet cleanest looking cars on the road. And, not content with the range of people-carrying estates and SUV’s even sparked (pun intended) the launch of Polestar.

The return to sleek and elegant looking cars is a welcome one, but throughout the years there have been other very interesting cars too. For instance the Volvo PV444 and PV544, the Volvo Amazon and of course the P1800. The latter was made famous by staring in the TV-series The Saint during the sixties, where it was the car of choice for Simon Templar, portrayed by Roger Moore. This show pre-dates his James Bond era, but there are similarities in style, to say the least. That very car featured in an episode on Jay Leno’s Garage:

The Volvo P1800 is a handsome looking sports car and is perhaps the most iconic Scandinavian car in terms of design and familiarity. It was launched in 1960 and is a mix of Italian styling and reliable Volvo technology underneath. The front-engined, rear-wheel-drive car was launched simultaneously with the Jaguar E-Type, a car that was also in contention to star in The Saint. But with Jaguar passing on the opportunity, Volvo accepted it which helped sales for their new car. Between 1962 and 1970 about 40,000 coupes were built, followed by about 8,000 shooting brakes between 1970 and 1973 when production ended. Today it is a much loved classic car which is still relatively affordable.

Cyan Racing was responsible for Volvo’s racing division since the mid-nineties. Mostly operating in Swedish Touring Car Championship and the European Touring Car Championship it achieved multiple wins and titles and sprouted some truly awesome cars. One of these cars is perhaps the coolest estate car ever created: the Volvo 850 Estate touring car. This car ran in the British Touring Car Championship and was a real oddity, but a competitive one! It was piloted by Swede Rickard Rydell and Dutchman Jan Lammers who’s a former Formula 1 driver and Le Mans 24 Hours winner. Check out this cool tribute video by PistonHeads:

In 2010 Cyan Racing presented their first concept car intended for the road. The heavily modified Volvo C30 Polestar was real pocket-rocket, as the small hatchback had a 405bhp 2.5-litre turbocharged 5-cylinder engine in the front. This was followed by the even more powerful Volvo S60 Polestar. Power came from a straight-6 engine and topped out at 508bhp. Linked to a four-wheel-drive system, the car could outperform even the most laureled German competitors. Neither of these cars made it into production but it would be the springboard for the rejuvenated Volvo performance branch.

Where the story of Cyan Racing and the Volvo P1800 meet is with the recently presented Volvo P1800 Cyan. This resto-modded classic is Cyan Racing’s take on a proven concept; strip a classic car down to the last nut and bolt, restore what needs restoring, and build it back up again but improve just about everything you can really. We see this concept work brilliantly with Singer Porsches and the Alfaholics GTA-R 290, and to an extent even with the Lunaz Design Rolls Royce Phantom V. When done right, the result can be pretty damn incredible!

The Volvo P1800 Cyan is a purpose-built custom car, with a limited production run being planned. It is fitted with a 2-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine from Volvo (obviously) but other Volvo engines are possible too. The engine is tuned to 413bhp in this first built P1800, but again different power outputs can be provided based upon the clients’ preferences. To accommodate the new tech underneath, the body has been strengthened and altered where needed with high-strength steel and carbon fibre. The track of the car is quite a bit wider than the original P1800 so the bodywork has been widened too. Another change to the outside is the removal of the chrome trim along the side of the body. Being a racing team means the suspension is of course fully adjustable.

In terms of performance, Cyan Racing leaves us in the dark a little. There’s no word on acceleration or top speeds. Considering the fact the car weighs less than 1,000 kilo’s and has little over 400 horsepower, I’m sure it is a properly fast car. The focus is on being as good as can get drivers car, however, so every unnecessary bit is removed. No ABS, no power steering, no stability control, no traction control. Just you and the machine, and every bit of talent you can muster. No word on pricing too, but as always with these builds, consider the bill as pretty steep! If you are up for it, Cyan Racing invites you to get in touch and work out how your Volvo P1800 Cyan might look.

More information on Car & Driver and DriveTribe and of course Cyan Racing’s own press release.

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