Our Restomod Plugin Hybrid project – Volvo P1800 ES (Part 1)

APR 19, 2023
Kinetik Automotive`s Volvo P1800 ES Restomod Plugin Hybrid

Esthetic, Simplicity and Symbiosis. Those three words describe our very first Restomod PlugIn Hybrid – Volvo P1800 ES from 1972. 

Before jumping into the story of why we chose to convert this model into a Restomod PlugIn Hybrid, how we got it and all the problems we went through in the beginning, we want to introduce you to the history of the machine.

The story of Volvo P1800

Volvo P1800 is the company`s most internationally renowned model! Starting production in 1961, the Swedish machine met huge interest in the USA and Europe. The car was initially designed to be a coupe, however, in 1971 a new variant was presented – a sporting hatchback with an extended roofline and a rear estate car featuring a large glass tailgate. Our P1800 ES was born. 

An interesting part about P1800 is how the design came out. In the beginning, Volvo wanted to create a sports car with an Italian flavour. The consultant Helmer Petterson sent a request for proposals to Italian designers. At the moment when the four proposals were about to be presented to the board of Volvo in 1957, Helmer included an additional design, which was the fifth one created by his son Pelle Petterson, and surprisingly, that was the one selected by everyone. In due course, the reality behind the victorious proposal’s design was revealed. Engellau, who was easily angered, believed he had been deceived and vowed that Pelle would never be recognized as the car’s creator.

The story behind the classic P1800 design is both astonishing and inspiring. It is one of the reasons that really drove us in converting this beauty into the Restomod PlugIn Hybrid we have today. Of course, the Scandinavian principles engraved into the car also took a big part in our choice. 

The story behind our Volvo P1800 ES Restomod Plugin Hybrid

It all started with the ambition to prove to the world we can build a world-class Restomod PlugIn Hybrid. We had already shown our capabilities by building the first Bulgarian electric track sports automotive – Kinetik 07.

Our team reviewed tens of models of classic cars in the desire to get the perfect one. As a result, an elongated beauty with iridescent lines and an unusual frameless, all-glass tailgate got our attention. We fall in love with the Volvo P1800 ES. The exact vehicle we needed – having enough space to fit our in-house developed battery packs (still prototypes for such a vehicle back in the time), while providing not bad at all power from the original engine – 125 bhp to be exact.  

So far so good. The challenges, on the other hand, started whenever we had to find a specimen in a not-so-bad shape. Despite we were planning to fully renovate the P1800 ES (as we did), we still wanted a working engine and a chassis in acceptable condition. It appeared that only 8,077 examples of the Volvo P1800 ES were built and who knows how few were still on the road. 

Some time passed and an exemplar popped up in the retail sites in the USA. No questions needed – we went all in!

Our Volvo P1800 ES

Those two months of waiting and checking every single day for the Volvo to arrive were the most painful ones. One day we got a notification for the arrival of the container. Early the next morning, our whole crew was gathered in the base without any prior arrangements. We were there, waiting to see the classic chassis for the first time.

The rest is a story for another article in the near future.

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