The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

Customer Spotlight: 1967 1800S - David Smith

2018-12-31 - David Smith - IPD Customer Spotlight

My story begins about thirteen years ago when I started daydreaming about getting a classic car. Although I’ve always appreciated collectible and vintage cars, I never got around to owning one. At that time I was approaching my 50th birthday and my idle thoughts began to turn to ownership.

Other than merely admiring these pieces of “kinetic art” I had no idea what would be a good candidate for ownership. I had the good sense (and necessitated by a modest budget) to conclude that I needed to get something durable, supportable, and affordable. I toyed with the idea of British, German, French, and Italian marques, but none of them met all of those criteria (and some failed completely to meet any at all). Then I had an epiphany – why not the iconic mid-60s Volvo 1800S made famous in the TV series “The Saint.” Since some of us never seem to outgrow our unspoken desire to be secret agents, this seemed to be the perfect solution. If it was finally time to get a cool old car – what could be cooler than a Spy Car? Stylish enough for a pre-007 Roger Moore to drive it would suit my daydreams perfectly.

I did some research and found that this car met all my criteria. And the ipd website was among the resources that gave me confidence that this was a good decision. I was assured that parts for vintage Volvos were readily available and affordable. Also, it doesn’t hurt having a wife and a number of friends with Swedish bloodlines – making the choice of a Volvo that much more appealing and personal.

It took me another six years of searching (and a lot of disappointments and near misses) before I finally found my car. At the suggestion of the local Volvo club president, I made the pilgrimage to the Pacific Northwest Volvo Mecca –the annual ipd garage sale. Hoping to find something suitable for sale, I was disappointed to find that there wasn’t a viable 1800 for sale that year. More than a bit discouraged, I arrived back in Kirkland to search Craigslist yet again. To my astonishment, a white 1967 1800S had been posted a couple of hours earlier that day. I contacted the seller, found out I was the first to respond to the ad and made arrangements to go down to Vancouver the next day.

Unbelievably, it ticked all the boxes. It was the right year, the right color, the right condition, and the right price – in the right location! The engine compartment had been tastefully refreshed, it had a new clutch and gas tank, ipd front and rear sway bars had been installed, the trunk contained an ipd polyurethane bushing set for the rear suspension, upper and lower dash caps, and the “fat folder” of documentation had quite a number of ipd receipts (among other part sources). After a test drive and bit of negotiation, we settled on a price which also included an assortment of items (original wheels, seats, brake booster, etc.) from a recently acquired parts car.

I was over the moon.

My “new” car continues to run beautifully throughout the past six years of rolling restoration. It has its flaws, but I’ve learned so much from methodically (and frugally) working at getting the minor mechanical issues sorted out and putting the interior and body into presentable shape. I was even able to get the clock and brake booster to work. And I’ve built my own wiper delay switch and warning flashers, installed a third LED brake light, made a headlight warning buzzer, made the turn signal operated high beam flasher operable, and built an MP3 player that broadcasts through the original Bendix radio. As an added bonus I recently discovered that it is a number matching the car.

It’s been a wonderful project, and I’ve gotten the unwavering support from family and friends. And the car has been christened with an excellent Swedish name and "pedigree" – I named it after the father of a long time friend who has helped educate and support me with his automotive restoration expertise. So, even though his dad is no longer with us, my car happily wears “1800 STIG” on its front bumper.

The local Volvo club president told me this car would change my life…and it has. It’s been an absolute delight (dealing with a dead starter motor in the first 48 hours of ownership notwithstanding) and it continues to win hearts (if not trophies). I’ve been able to prove to myself and others that classic car ownership can be done at a reasonable cost with the kindness and encouragement of a community of friends and family who give of their time and talents to help me achieve my goal. My story proves that owning, restoring, and preserving a collectible car can be within anyone’s grasp.