The late 1950s and early 1960s are often referred to as the peak of automotive sports car design and to this day several of the most collectible and expensive sports cars ever sold are from this era. For example, the top of this excess is currently a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, which sold for over $48M in 2018. Ferrari, Aston Martin, Maserati, BMW, Mercedes Benz and even Chevrolet (with the Corvette) all made exquisitely designed sport coupes during this decade.
Less appreciated is that one of the most conservative automotive companies in the world, Volvo, also commissioned the design of a new sports tourer during this same time period, the 1957 Prototype P958-X1 concept coupe. This beautiful coupe was designed by Pelle Petersen at the automotive design firm of Pietro Frua a subsidiary of the prestigious Italian design firm Carrozzeria Ghia (https://www.volvocars.com/intl/about/our-company/heritage).
The P958-X1 was green lighted for production as the P1800 and was subsequently built and sold by Volvo for over a decade from 1961-1973. It shared many design elements of early 1960s Ferrari, Aston Martin, BMW, Mercedes Benz and Maserati cars, and was even marked by Volvo as a car similar to a Ferrari you could purchase for less than half the price. Sadly however, the P1800 did not have nearly the performance credibility of its European peers, and only minor mechanical updates were introduced over the many years of production.
The Evolv Project started with my desire to ask the question, “What would the P1800 have evolved into had Volvo continued to refine the design and performance of the P1800?” I imagined what it might look like if Volvo had commissioned period car customizers such as Ugo Zagato to subtly modify the design. I then updated the car to the most modern electric drive train available, in a manner similar to how Volvo itself is doing with the newly spun out Polestar division’s Polestar One, and even Jaguar now offers with electric versions of classic E-types. In fact, this project started in 2013 when Volvo first introduced their Concept Coupe hybrid, which four years later became the Polestar One.