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Hagerty Employee

The most beautiful Volvo ever: 1973 1800ES

For decades, Volvo built its reputation on safety and durability. Not beauty. But many Volvos were attractive in their own way, from the fat-fendered PV544, to the Amazon/120 sedans and wagons, to the extreme rectangle that is the 760GLE.


I like Volvos, and have a serious soft spot for 240s and 740s thanks to spending my formative years in the back seat of several. While those sedans and wagons look nice enough (they’re boxy but they’re good, as Dudley Moore once said), I admit it may be a stretch to call them beautiful. I mean, beautiful is a 1936 Cord 810. Beautiful is an Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce. Could beautiful be a Volvo? Well ... yes!


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A friend of mine had one in dark green with the saddle interior. I'd always thought they were nice looking cars, and then he gave me a ride in his. You sat a bit "deep" in it, but, oh...that dashboard! Full gauges, right where they were easy to see, and a manual trans with over-drive!


I still love these cars, but could never find a nice one when I was in the market for one.


Great story, and thanks for the memories!


- Jim


This and the E-type Jaguar are my two bucket list cars...


Well done Thomas, and thank you for article. I, too, have always like this version

of the original Frua design, but equally I like the Bertone as well. Some of their square wagons were attractive. If I had the room I'd get serious about one of these. 



 April 29, 2012, near Anacortes, Washington.


I like all the Volvos through the brick styling. The PV544s, the Amazons, and the 1800s are all among the better looking automobiles IMO. They are all honest, in that their styling says what they are--tough, hard-working, practical cars that won't let you down. Since the first sale of Volvo out of Swedish hands, they've lost that good, honest appearance.


There is no arguing about tastes, but I do see several elements of beauty in the body work.  For me, the whole is not greater, etc.  We had a 1984 240 that took on a kind of beauty for me, but it also broke down a lot.  I have an irregular heartbeat, and I swear that it resulted from "Volvo breakdown anxiety."