A driver’s-eye view of the new Volvo P1800 Cyan

by James Mills
6 November 2020 3 min read
A driver’s-eye view of the new Volvo P1800 Cyan
Photos: Cyan / Dejan Sokolovski

If you are as excited as us about a gorgeous ’60s Volvo with the 7700rpm heart of a modern-day race car, then take a deep breath as the adrenalin level increases with the first driver’s eye view of the Volvo P1800 Cyan.

Cyan Racing’s road-legal restomod, first revealed in September, may cost nearly £380,000, but that won’t stop us from dreaming about this remixed P1800. And looking at the driver’s environment and interior, there is a lot to fill your dreams.

Inside the Volvo P1800 Cyan restomod

The Volvo P1800 Cyan is deliberately simple. The leather-lined dashboard shape is retained, and at a glance the surroundings seem familiar. But closer inspection reveals some wonderful details. Such as the bespoke instrument panel; it looks similar to an original P1800’s, with an analogue vibe, but the dials and instruments are partly digital with graphics meant that mimic the aesthetic of the period Swedish coupe.

Another nod to its heritage is using Swedish to label the oil and water temperature readings – Olja and Vatten respectively – as well as the lights and oil pressure. We’re also liking the simple toggle switches and, praise the heavens, the complete absence of a touchscreen or navigation system. The focus is on the controls of the car and the road ahead.

Momo seats and steering wheel in the Volvo P1800 Cyan restomod

The classic Momo steering wheel does without an airbag (all part of the drive to save weight). A foot brace sits next to the clutch pedal (for the Holinger five-speed manual gearbox) and Momo sports seats with five-point competition harnesses keep driver and passenger snug and secure.

Other details stand out for their simplicity. The door pulls are classic leather handles and the release is operated by a leather pull-strap. Wrapping around the seats is a titanium roll-cage, clothed in padding and leather. Cyan sums it up as “a delicate interpretation of the original.” We’re pleased Cyan set out to create an authentic environment that isn’t overrun with gadgets and gizmos.

Momo seats and harnesses in Volvo P1800 Cyan

It all adds to the promise that the car holds. We’ll be driving it before the end of the month – if you haven’t, sign up to our newsletter to be first to be notified when the review’s live – and are excited by the car’s specification and the people behind it. To recap, the P1800 Cyan will weight just 990kg. That’s a promising start, and things get better still when you factor in a 420-hp, 2-litre turbo four-cylinder motorsport engine, plucked from the Cyan’s 2017 Volvo S60 TC1 entry.

The body has been rebuild using high-strength steel and carbon fibre, in addition to the titanium roll-cage. Cyan has ditched the live rear axle in favour of a bespoke independent suspension setup, and there are aluminium uprights, double wishbones and two-way adjustable dampers with Cyan hydraulics. Then the AP Racing braking system is entirely unfiltered, with no servo or anti-lock system.

Volvo P1800 Cyan suspension and brakes

Cyan says the engineering of an entirely new chassis has been done to keep “the analogue direct unfiltered connection with the road, but with much more control and predictiveness,” according to Mattias Evensson, project manager and head of engineering for Cyan Racing.

“As with most cars from the past,” he continues, “they tend to be less rewarding to drive than we might want to remember them. When you start driving, it delivers at a completely different level,” Evensson says. “The suspension is fully adjustable and can be set up to whichever way the customer wants, be it a more track-focused car, or a one that will be predominantly used for enjoying your favourite canyon roads, or for just visiting your local barista.”

We suspect one thing’s for sure with the P1800 Cyan: after a drive in this thing, you won’t need a shot of coffee to raise your pulse.

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