Volvo P1800 Cyan 2021 Review

To recreate or reimagine a car 50-plus years later and make it this good… is certainly a win for Volvo!

Whilst it certainly looks retro, it seems thats the only resemblance this rocket on wheels has to its predecessor. And if this CarSales review says anything then the 10 or so lucky owners of one of these beasts will certainly be as proud as punch!

Here’s what Car Sales had to say.


Of course, you’d leap behind the wheel and take the P1800 for a blast, but before that, it’s important to explain what the Volvo retro mod isn’t. It isn’t an official Volvo or even a Polestar. It’s the product of the former Swedish car maker’s racing division, Cyan Racing. The same outfit who raced the S60 in V8 supercars and the S60 in WTCC.

It’s best to think of the P1800 Cyan as two things. First, a celebration of the six decades since the glorious original P1800 was first introduced. And second, a full reel advertisement for the incredible talent that lives within the race team. So how may you ask, can I get a P1800 Cyan? Well, it starts off by you buying a classic version. Then you ship one all the way over to Gothenburg and they rip it apart.

So the first thing engineers do when they strip the car back, is they strengthen the chassis up, and this involves grafting on high-tensile pieces of steel and even carbon fibre to ensure the structure is as stiff and rigid as possible. Next they dump the engine and gearbox. They throw it completely away.

Originally, Cyan thought it might be able to use the 1.8 litre the P1800 came with, but to get the power, it was so picky and needed engine rebuilds every 5000 kilometres. Plenty of engines were considered including a pure electric powertrain, but ultimately, it always had to be a four-cylinder. The car was a four-cylinder when it was new, and it really sticks with the character of the original car.

Now, what four-cylinder engine would they choose? Well, somebody within Cyan came up with the bright idea of using the exact VEA two litre turbocharged four-cylinder from the S60 T1 race car. It begs belief, but somehow they made a race car engine work in a road car. But work it does. This thing is seriously quick. Now, Cyan haven’t actually performance tested this car. But from the way it feels behind the wheel, this is a car easily capable of a sub five second sprint to the 100 kilometres per hour. This engine is absolutely magnificent. It’s got individual throttle bodies and just… well, it sounds magnificent. But I’m really, really loving the power delivery. It really is quite linear, and it just rewards you for wringing its neck.

To help rein in the new performance, a bespoke four-piston brake calliper was introduced that clamps down on huge 362-mm front disks. The brakes were so big in fact, Cyan had to add large 18-inch forge alloy rims that are shod with Pirelli P Zero tyres.

Other huge changes for this car is where is the gearbox mounted. In the past it used to be just here, beneath this tunnel. But now, it’s in a rear transaxle, and that really helps weight distribution. That means it’s almost got a 50-50 weight distribution now, which means it’s got near perfect handling balance.

Speaking of handling, refreshingly, the P1800 Cyan isn’t about lap times. Despite being developed by a former touring car world champion, the P1800 has been created for pure driving enjoyment, combining precision with… well, some hooligan antics. Maximising performance, the P1800 Cyan features an entire body made of carbon fibre, ensuring it weighs in at just 990 kilograms.

Earlier, I said the P18 Cyan was one of the most exciting cars of 2020, and after a day behind the wheel on both road and track I can confirm that’s absolutely true.

Now, the good news… No, great news is you can have this exact car built for you by Cyan Racing. The bad is it will cost $700,000. Yes, serious amounts of money. But put it into perspective, this thing will monster a Ferrari 250 GTO and that costs $30 million. So this is a bit of a bargain, isn’t it? Well, anyway, I don’t know why I’m talking to you guys because I’ve got another 10 minutes left with the car, so I wanna take it out for some more track work, because this is brilliant fun!


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