Volvo 1800 ES prototype by Frua 1968
2018 Techno Classica - Essen (D)
In the late 1960s the design of Volvo's sport coupe P1800 began to look a bit old-fashioned. Volvo management decided to look for ways to rejuvenate the model within a limited budget. The general idea that came up was to turn the classic coupe into some sort of "shooting brake" by lengthening to roof line, a style that had just came into fashion among stylists (for instance, a similar design had come from Ogle Design for the 1968 Reliant Scimitar GTE).
Two Italian design firms were contacted to create a proposal and in 1968 they each presented a prototype, based on a P1800 body taken from the production line. Frua, the firm that had built the first P1800 coupe prototypes at the end of the 1950s, presented a design soon dubbed the Rocket because of its rounded, truncated rear. It was the car you see here but painted white and later gold by Frua. Coggiola, a fairly new company (established in 1966), unveiled a design which was named the Beach Car. It was that car that showed the most promise and lead to the P1800 ES production model in 1971, by then attributed to Volvo designer Jan Wilsgaard.