Iconic Volvo P1800 reborn as 414bhp continuation special

3 September 2020 - autocar

Iconic Volvo P1800 reborn as 414bhp continuation special

Cyan Racing gives 1960s coupé race-bred turbo engine, lightweight chassis and hardcore suspension

Geely's motorsport arm, Cyan Racing, has unveiled the Volvo P1800 Cyan as a modernised, uprated take on its sibling brand's iconic 1960s sports coupé.

The continuation car was designed as a road-legal version of an imagined Cyan Racing track car from the 1960s, and as such goes without modern driving aids such as stability control, anti-lock brakes or brake boosting.

It has, however, been comprehensively re-engineered to offer significantly enhanced performance, dynamics and drivability. The original car's naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, for example, has been swapped out for the turbocharged 2.0-litre unit used in Cyan Racing's 2017 Volvo S60 TC1 racer, which revs to 7700rpm and gives the P1800 a substantially increased 414bhp and 336lb ft.

To preserve some of the original car's driving experience, the engine has been tuned to offer linear power and torque delivery, which Cyan claims are "the characteristics of a normally aspirated engine", while still giving increased performance and precision.

A range of engines were considered for use in the P1800 Cyan, including Volvo's revered Red Block and five-cylinder turbo motors, but Cyan chose the newer VEA motor because it's familiar from the team's motorsport efforts.

The engine is mated to a bespoke five-speed gearbox from race engineering firm Holinger, which is said to give the same "mechanical feeling" as the original unit while offering more precise changes and durability. Power is still sent to the rear wheels, but the P1800's live axle has made way for a bespoke independent rear suspension set-up that, like the front end, is fully adjustable.

A limited-slip differential with torque-biasing functionality has also been fitted, with a gearing set-up that combines capable circuit performance with "civilised" on-road behaviour.

To accommodate the enhancements, the P1800's greenhouse has been repositioned, its track widened and its body reinforced with high-strength steel.

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