As the owner of an old and extremely lightweight road car, I can confirm that the restomod proposition is a highly tempting one. The problem with classics like a Volvo P1800 from the sixties ’60s necessary the reliability. While carburetors do have a temper, a properly rebuilt and perfectly tuned naturally aspirated engine can sing its song without consuming oil, or leaving you stranded on the road. The issue is the chassis and the overall build quality of the body. Leaf springs, lazy shocks, small brakes, rattles in the cabin, mysterious electric issues—you name it.
On the other hand, if you demand the best of both worlds and commission a restomod built by a Swedish racing team like Cyan, your old Volvo may end up costing close to half a million dollars. For that kind of money, one can also buy the best classic Alfa Romeo by Alfaholics; a completely upgraded, GM-powered Jensen Interceptor by Jensen International Automotive; or perhaps even a used Singer 911. However, at 2,182 pounds with 420 horsepower from a cleverly turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder racing engine, the Volvo P1800 Cyan may just be the cream of the crop.
As Autocar‘s Matt Prior explains, once Cyan Racing was forced to campaign more basic TCR cars in the touring car scene, its engineers found enough spare capacity to inject the classic P1800’s shape designed by Pelle Petterson with the technology of their championship-winning Volvo S60 Polestar TC1. This led to a restomod that’s officially still titled as a Volvo P1800, yet only retains the original car’s pillars, handbrake lever, hood release mechanism and windshield wipers.
Cyan added a new floor and carbon fiber chassis elements, a machined suspension, unassisted brakes with no ABS or traction control, power rack-and-pinion steering, a dogleg-first five-speed manual made in Australia, a mechanical limited-slip differential, a classic yet all-new interior built to the highest standards, and of course the Volvo engine that’s sequentially turbocharged to provide the most linear and natural power delivery.
Being a two-seater just like its modern sibling, Cyan’s coupé weighs 2,988 pounds less than a 2020 Polestar 1. Now, Cyan Racing says that if there’s demand, they can transfer up to 10 Volvo P1800s to this spec each year. Priced just under £400,000 in the UK and the European Union, there’s no doubt that the P1800 Cyan is as close to being the perfect sports car as a Volvo could get.
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