The Volvo P1800 Cyan restomod first shown in 2020 recently appeared on “Jay Leno’s Garage,” with Cyan Racing Managing Director Hans Bååth explaining the ins and outs of the build.
This car started out as a 1964 Volvo P1800 and was handed over to Cyan Racing, the Swedish racing team previously known as Polestar, before Volvo reassigned that name to the current EV brand. The project actually had its origins in 2017 as a way to celebrate a recent world championship and the sale of the company’s road-car division to Volvo, Bååth said.
Extensive modifications started with the body. Some of the original steel unibody was retained, but with reinforcements to address the stock P1800’s lack of structural rigidity, Bååth said in the video, adding that some of the steel is a modern formula that wasn’t available in the 1960s. The body is all carbon fiber, helping keep the curb weight below 2,200 lb. While the body looks mostly stock, nearly everything was changed from the original P1800, Bååth explained. For example, the track was widened and the wheels moved closer to the corners for better proportions. A fuel cell now lives in the trunk.
Cyan Racing also replaced the stock 1.8-liter turbo-4 with a modern 2.0-liter turbo-4 derived from a World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) race engine, producing 420 hp and 336 lb-ft of torque here. It’s housed in a remarkably clean-looking engine bay, with the turbo tucked underneath the exhaust manifold. That’s symbolic of the driving characteristics Cyan Racing aimed for, Bååth said, as the goal was to make the powertrain feel naturally aspirated.
The relatively compact engine also enables a 47/53 front/rear weight distribution, and drives the rear wheels through a manual gearbox. The 5-speed manual from Australian firm Holinger was specifically chosen for its mechanical feel, Bååth said.
Feel was the priority here, rather than lap times. Engineers could have done some things to make the P1800 faster, but the emphasis was on making it fun, Bååth said. The P1800 lacks traction control, anti-lock brakes, and power assist for the brakes but, in a concession for convenience, it does have electric power steering. That helps with parking lot maneuvering, Bååth noted.
Cyan Racing built this car as a one-off, but it’s now headed to production. Cyan Racing is accepting orders, but customers will have to pony up at least $700,000 for one. So if you like what you see here, start planning a bank robbery.
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