What Volvo absolutely did not have a reputation for back then was anything to do with sporty. It was a bit of a surprise, therefore, when Volvo announced in 1954 that it would build a two-seater sports car.
During one such visit in 1953, he couldn’t ignore the popularity of European sports cars as well as the new fiberglass-bodied Corvette from GM. He then courted Glasspar in California, the company that had pioneered fiberglass bodywork for both boats and cars, to do up some drawings.
At a considerable expense, a new chassis was designed specifically for Gabrielsson’s sports car, but the existing powertrain from the PV444 was used underneath.
The dependable but somewhat pedestrian B14 engine was breathed on a bit and fitted with twin SU carburetors to give a respectable 70 horsepower, but the old three-speed gearbox was not conducive to performance driving.
Other than the surprisingly easy collision repairs to the fiberglass bodywork after swerving to avoid a child in Italy, Petterson concluded that the frame was flimsy (legend has it that doors would fly open under hard cornering in a P1900) and that it was not up to Volvo’s characteristically Scandinavian quality standards.
The car was also a disappointment on the styling front. It was too tall, had a bloated appearance overall, and the huge, gaping grille was anything but elegant.