Volvo P1800 reborn as production special model

Cyan Racing upgrades 1960s coupé with a race-bred turbo motor, lightweight chassis and hardcore suspension.

Geely’s motorsport arm Cyan Racing has unveiled the Volvo P1800 Cyan as a modernised, uprated take on its sister 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 including stability control, ABS or brake booster.

It has, however, been comprehensively re-engineered to offer significantly enhanced performance, dynamics and drivability. The original car’s naturally aspirated four-cylinder motor, for example, has been swapped out for the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine used in Cyan Racing’s 2017 Volvo S60 TC1 racer, which revs to 7700rpm and gives the P1800 a substantially increased 308kW and 456Nm.

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.

The brand considered a range of engines for use in the P1800 Cyan, including Volvo’s revered ‘Red Block’ and five-cylinder turbo motors, but chose the newer ‘VEA’ motor as it is familiar from the team’s previous motorsport efforts.

The motor 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 which, 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.

The car’s underpinnings have also been overhauled with a focus on engagement and lightness. The hydraulic suspension at each end comprises aluminium uprights, double wishbones and two-way adjustable dampers, while carbonfibre chassis reinforcements add stiffness with minimal weight penalty.

Overall, the continuation car tips the scales at just 990kg, around 150kg less than its original counterpart.

The P1800 Cyan sits atop a set of 18-inch forged rims wrapped in Pirelli P Zero performance tyres, which cover a set of sizeable steel brake discs and four-piston callipers.

Cyan Racing benchmarked its new creation against the Volvo C30 Polestar Performance Protoype, its first road-going car. Head of engineering Mattias Evensson said the brand wanted to “reconnect” with its first road car, as well as “carry over some of the driving feeling and performance availability”.

Christian Dahl, CEO of Cyan Racing, said: “Our company was founded in 1996 to race Volvo cars in Sweden and the Volvo P1800 Cyan is closing the circle for us. “We claimed our first world title with Volvo in 2017 and have since then won two further world titles with two other manufacturers. The first world title was a milestone for us, and we felt it was a good time to reconnect with the past and to those before us racing Volvos. The first Volvo P1800 Cyan carries our blue and yellow racing colours to mark our heritage.”

The P1800 Cyan will be marketed independently by Cyan Racing, with production set to be extremely limited. Prices start at $500,000 ($682,000).

Cyan Racing, which previously operated as Volvo’s Polestar performance brand, has won the World Touring Car Championship for the last three years in a row, most recently in 2019 with the Lynk&Co 03.

Felix Page

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