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Why a Classic Vintage Old Car? My Choice of Volvo P1800…regret?

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Bought my first classic car on 10th September 2021, the Malaysia day. The car was made in 1965, making it 67 years old as of today.

Why a classic car? Have I ever regretted buying?

To be honest, I enjoy the car every single day. Either driving or wiping or cleaning it. When the paint got stain, my heart aches. That happened when I sent it for repairing work for too long. Immediately I took it back and sent for detailing at car wash shop.

Is classic car suitable only for collector? Can it be a daily driver?

Any classic car makes a good daily driver – after all, that’s what they were originally designed for! What makes them good for daily use is the care, maintenance and money that you’re prepared to put into one.

A classic car is a perfectly practical car that can be easily maintained and sympathetically upgraded in certain areas to make an excellent daily user.

By all accounts, modern cars have bigger problems in daily use as some of the models seem to spend more time in the dealerships for warranty work than is reasonable.

originally written by Simon Latimer, modified by Dr Koh

I drove my Volvo P1800 daily. I tried skipping 1-2 days for my Peugeot RCZ, but every time when reaching out for keys, I will still opt for the Volvo.

Is it a reliable car?

To be honest, NO. At least NOT YET. I have a few incidents below:

  1. Under power alternator. My car battery ran flat a few times. This really scared me out. Have to keep monitoring the voltmeter, and every time wanted to start the car also have to pray hard. Called my friend once to help jump start the car. Problem solved by changing to a higher AMP alternator.
  2. Brake booster vacuum leak. The valve was faulty, and previous owner actually just use a silicon glue to seal it, which doesn’t last for sure. Vacuum leak is dangerous, causing no brake. Luckily I managed to get a replacement valve from a local shop. Not exactly the same model, but it does the job.
  3. Finished fuel, even after I changed my fuel gauge. The gauge was showing FULL, it was actually a reverse, which means EMPTY. Reason being my gauge is from USA, whereby the sender unit I used is from Japan. So they are the reverse. OK, lesson learned, shall not fall into this trick again.
  4. Water pump pulley failure. The pulley got tore up entirely. Luckily I was just driving nearby to the workshop, so when I heard the weird sound, immediately I drove to the workshop and after opened up the bonnet, we saw the broken water pump pulley. I have to order an used pulley from USA, and it took 3 weeks for me to get and install it back to my car.
  5. Gauges in the car are not working properly. Main gauges being speedometer and tachometer, which still haven’t solved. I have already replaced fuel gauge and oil pressure gauge, which are working fine now. Speedometer cable serviced, still no go. Suspect either the speedometer is faulty or the angle drive / speedometer elbow that is faulty. Bought a wrong speedometer cable, too short. Need to buy again a longer cable. Tachometer wise, I have bought the Spyida digital converter for it. Asked my technician to help me modify the tachometer to suit, hopefully OK.

The car still have some rattling sound when driving at high speed or poor condition road. I am not sure which part that causes that, or something might fall off again. Not so confident when hearing those sound. Still, I am glad to be able to iron out the problems one by one, and once solved, I am more confident of driving the car further.

Comfort Level?

In term of comfort, the car really fall behind of modern car as of today. Poor insulation, engine smell coming into the car, noisy (worse when you ON the air conditioner), poor seating position…etc, but that’s the feel that one wants to experience when driving this car.

A Powerful Car?

When coming to power, the car is only 100 horse power (impressive during the 60s), and that’s before fitting the air conditioner. It does not take off fast, and it doesn’t accelerate fast. However, the engine does sound loud and strong, and the driver sure feel fast when inside the car (due to the noise and rattling). I really wanted my speedometer to be corrected, so that I can have more idea of the speed I am going, and the RPM I am hitting before changing each gears. Gear 1 and 2 can only go low speed, have to turn to Gear 3 for higher speed cruising. 4 Speeds is OK, and there is a Over drive (that acts like a electronic 5th gear). My over drive seems to be working intermediately.

A Journey that Counts

I have learned so much knowledge since the beginning of this journey. Naming most of the components in the engine bay correctly, calling all the gauges rightfully, understanding how old car works, problem solving, and confident building.

It is not an easy road, but I am enjoying it!