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Volvo P1800 Cyan article highlights:

  • Cyan Racing, Volvo’s former and Geely’s current racing division, is now making Volvo P1800 restomods in the spirit of Singer’s Porsche 911 builds
  • With a carbon-fiber body, race car-derived engine, no modern safety features, and a high-quality interior, the P1800 Cyan is a delightful analog experience
  • This reimagined P1800 costs $700,000

‘Singer’ doesn’t just refer to the shop that makes classic Porsche 911 restomods anymore. Like Kleenex or Thermos, it’s become a generic trademark for the kind of insane-quality (and insanely expensive) builds said shop is known for. Alfaholics, for example, is basically the Singer of Alfa Romeos. And based on the stunning Volvo P1800 Cyan, the Swedish brand now has its Singer, too.  

The Volvo P1800 Cyan is what happens when the Singer Porsche 911 inspires race car engineers

A blue Volvo P1800 Cyan parked on a forestside road
Volvo P1800 Cyan | Cyan Racing

For legal reasons, Singer’s restomods can’t bear the Porsche name. But that’s not an issue for the Volvo P1800 Cyan. It’s a passion project created by Cyan Racing, the offshoot of Volvo’s Polestar racing team. And since Geely runs all these brands—Cyan Racing is its official racing department—this is technically a factory restomod. One that’s designed and built by literal race car engineers with the same care and quality as Singer’s cars.

That’s not hyperbole or marketing hype, by the way. Hans Baath, Cyan Racing’s general manager, “proudly admits that Singer Vehicle Designs is a huge inspiration for” the Volvo P1800 Cyan, Autoblog says. The design team also toured Alpina’s facilities to get some interior material insight. And once you get into this coupe’s details, it’s clear that Baath and his team learned their lessons well.

Performance meets racing artistry in the Volvo P1800 Cyan

Volvo P1800 Cyan
Engine2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
Horsepower420 hp
Torque336 lb-ft
TransmissionFive-speed dogleg manual
Curb weight2180 lbs
0-60 mph timeUnder 5.0 seconds

Cyan Racing starts the build by getting a donor Volvo P1800 and throwing most of it away. Then the team replaces most of the original steel chassis components with high-strength-steel replacements. Next, the P1800 gets a reimagined version of its original body made entirely out of carbon fiber. Hence why it weighs less than a Miata. And for extra rigidity, Cyan Racing installs a titanium half cage.

Oh, but we’re not done yet. The later P1800s had 130-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. However, the P1800 Cyan has the same engine as the Volvo S60 TC1 race car, hooked up to a dogleg manual. And while all that power still goes to the rear wheels, there’s no live rear axle here. Instead, Cyan Racing replaced the original suspension with double-wishbone setups on each wheel, complete with fully-adjustable coilovers and custom subframes.

But wait, there’s more. Compared to the donor car, the Volvo P1800 Cyan has a longer wheelbase, in part so its new 18” alloy center-lock Braid wheels can fit. Those wheels are wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires, too. Furthermore, AP Racing cross-drilled disc brakes live behind those new wheels. And in addition to the half cage, inside you’ll find Recaro seats with Momo racing harnesses as well as a Momo Prototipo wheel.

Those harnesses are also the closest thing to safety equipment in this car. Forget adaptive cruise control, the P1800 Cyan doesn’t have stability control, traction control, or ABS. It doesn’t even have a brake booster, though it does have electric power steering. But that’s less for convenience and more for necessity. At low speeds, the wide tires made the car extremely difficult to steer, The Drive explains. And this electronic minimalism goes even further.

Calling this Swedish Singer “a restomod is a disservice,” Autoblog says—it’s practically a work of art

You won’t find a touchscreen inside the Volvo P1800 Cyan, though there are speakers that you can stream music to. But that doesn’t matter much with an interior this exquisite.

The door panels, for example, are finished in woolen fabric with leather accents. The door handles and release straps are leather, too, as are the roll cage covers. And credit to Cyan Racing’s research, they all feel like something Alpina would put in a BMW, Autoblog reports. Plus, the metal gauges, mirrors, and toggle switches are jewel-like in look and operation. And all this before you even turn the engine on.

Although the Volvo P1800 Cyan is built by a racing team, it’s set up more for spirited backcountry driving than the track, The Drive notes. But that’s not damning by faint praise. This car is simply brilliant to drive.

“There’ve been a handful of driving experiences in my life that I would categorize as religious…the P1800 Cyan made that list.”

The Drive

Firstly, the steering is satisfyingly heavy and full of feedback, not to mention super sharp. Secondly, though the brakes take more effort to use, they’re extremely effective and surprisingly precise once you get used to them. Furthermore, while the ride is on the firm side, it’s not uncomfortable or uncompliant. And the benefit is excellent handling with minimal body roll.

Oh, and then there’s the drivetrain. It might be turbocharged, but that 2.0-liter engine doesn’t lose steam as the revs climb. Instead, it pulls even harder, especially after 5000 rpm towards its 7700-rpm redline, The Drive says. Plus, the pedals are perfectly spaced for easy heel-toeing, though shorter drivers might have a hard time fully depressing the clutch, Autoblog muses. There are no complaints with the shifter, though, which clinks with every throw like a vintage gated manual.

Is the Volvo P1800 Cyan really worth $700,000?

Unlike some Singer Porsche builds, the Volvo P1800 Cyan isn’t some kind of ‘greatest hits’ homage. Although Volvo raced the mechanically-related Amazon, the P1800 never saw a racetrack in-period. It wasn’t even technically a sports car at first, but rather more of a stylish GT. However, as Singer does with old 911s, Cyan Racing has turned the P1800 into the best possible version of itself.

Naturally, that transformation doesn’t come cheap. Even before you start talking about custom options, the P1800 Cyan costs $700,000. That’s roughly 10 times the current market price of a pristine early-model P1800.

But that’s still less than many Singer 911s cost. And seeing as Cyan Racing has only sold three P1800s in the U.S. so far, they’re rarer than other high-end Porsche builds. I mean, I’ve personally seen a RWB Porsche, but not a P1800 Cyan. Plus, the build quality goes a long way to justifying this high-six-figure price tag.

Is the Volvo P1800 Cyan a niche expensive experience? Yes. But is it a joyous Singer-level experience? Also yes. To quote The Drive, it’s “a true driver’s restomod.”

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