09 August, 2011
Volvo Watch 2011!
When I was 16 my father and I had a serious discussion about finding me a car. I desperately wanted a VW Karman Ghia (most likely inspired by Molly Ringwald's in "Pretty in Pink"), but he insisted I get a Volvo for safety reasons. The compromise was a cherry red 1969 P1800S, which we purchased from a nice man in our neighborhood, and which satisfied both his criteria (safety) and mine (style). After seven years of ownership I was in a bad accident and lost my beloved car, but was able to find another one from the same year (in blue), which I have been driving ever since (almost another seven). The P1800 series was made for just a few years, in limited quantities, and became a favorite for all kinds of people, from racing enthusiasts to travelling salesmen- the famous (in Volvo circles) Irv Gordon has nearly 3 million miles on his. Perhaps the best known P1800 was driven by Roger Moore on the television series "The Saint" in the 1960's- it was the more practical version of James Bond's Aston Martin.
In any case, as much as I love my car (top), I don't see very many of them around, even in classic-Volvo-friendly Berkeley. There are a handful of owners in the area, for sure, and we always honk and wave at each other when we pass on the road, but more often than not, I get people asking what kind of car I'm driving, and expressing surprise at never having seen one before. But lately, I have seen two P1800s pop up on my radar, which is pretty cool! The first (above) was a couple of weeks ago in this series of vintage photos that showed up on a blog I read, An Ambitious Project Collapsing.
The second arrived in the mail today in the form of an advertisement for Kate Spade's new Westward Collection, a collaboration with Emily Current and Merritt Elliott. In this case, the car pictured is the P1800ES, the hatchback version of my car. Pretty cute, huh? I wonder if parts are going to be harder to find all of a sudden...