Published on September 3rd, 2020 | by Subhash Nair


Volvo P1800 Cyan Matches Classic Looks with Modern Engineering

We at have always been fans of older cars and car designs. If manufacturers could figure out a way to make older looking cars as safe and efficient as modern cars, that would be ideal. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in, and design is a huge selling point, so manufacturers have to keep pushing boundaries and setting trends.

Which is why this Volvo P1800 Cyan is just so appealing to us. This is a sort of ‘continuation’ model, as we’ve seen with the Jaguar E-Type. But the people putting it together, Cyan Racing, are taking it to a new performance limit.

Cyan Racing, formerly known as Polestar Racing, have been the building race-winning Volvos for years now. Their modern interpretation of the Volvo P1800 has a body that’s made of both high-strength steel and carbon fibre. They’ve also adjusted the position of the glasshouse slightly and given it a bespoke and fully-adjustable chassis.

Most important of all, it’s powered by a modern 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder from the S60 TC1 race car. This engine is capable of 420 horsepower and 455Nm of torque, so it’s a good thing the chassis is made of some tough materials. Power is sent to the rear wheels using a 5-speed manual gearbox by Holinger. Another big change is the inclusion of a torque-biasing LSD.

Changes to suspension and chassis were also necessary. The rear suspension is now fully-independent and designed in-house. Both front and rear suspension is fully adjustable and is made of lightweight materials. 18″ forged wheels with staggered tyre sizes are also a major departure for the P1800 Cyan. And while the brakes have been heavily upgrade to 4-piston callipers with 362x32mm steel discs, there’s no brake booster nor ABS, so brake pedal feel is very natural.

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Cyan Racing is willing to make quite a few of these, so if you really wanted to get your hands on this mixture of retro and modern, you could for the right price.


Cyan Racing, the reigning triple World Touring Car Champions, has revealed the Volvo P1800 Cyan, an interpretation of the iconic Volvo sports car from the sixties. The car is engineered by the team behind the first world title-winning Volvo race car and the Volvo C30 Polestar Concept Prototype.

The original Volvo P1800 was unveiled in 1960, a year before the Jaguar E-Type, two years before the Ferrari 250 GTO and three years before the Porsche 911.

Looking back in the midst of a paradigm shift

In the age of autonomous driving, electrification and connectivity, Cyan Racing decided it was time to capture what has been and to make it timeless.

Tailored to deliver genuine driving pleasure

While creating the Volvo P1800 Cyan, the team behind it decided to treat the design and engineering of the sixties with care, moving it forward in a delicate way.

There are no driver aids to distort the driving experience, meaning no stability control, ABS or brake booster.

Light-weight carbon fibre and high-strength steel body

The Volvo P1800 body has been altered to accommodate a wider track, larger wheels and repositioned greenhouse, among a long list of redesigns.

The Volvo P1800 Cyan started life as a 1964 Volvo P1800 that has been refined and reinforced utilising high-strength steel and carbon fibre.

This process is a key part to enable low weight and high responsiveness, with the car weighing just 990 kilos.

Engine and transmission design

The two-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine is based on the same engine as used in the world title-winning Volvo S60 TC1 race car, producing 420 horsepower and 455Nm of torque, with a redline at 7700 rpm.

Although the engine is turbocharged, it is developed to deliver a linear power and torque curve with the characteristics of a normally aspirated engine. The engine character is designed to deliver a driving experience as in the sixties but with increased performance and precision.

The engine made its debut in the 2011 Volvo C30 world touring race car and was a key part in claiming the 2017 world title.

A five-speed bespoke Holinger gearbox has been selected to carry the mechanical feeling of the original Volvo P1800, but with greater gear change precision and capability of handling the increased torque.

The original Volvo P1800 live rear axle is replaced with a Cyan-designed independent rear suspension.

A key part to the engaging rear-wheel drive experience is the torque-biasing limited slip differential. The differential is mounted in a Holinger housing with unique gears in order to combine capable performance on a circuit with civilised behaviour for road use.

A pure driver focussed chassis

The fully adjustable front and rear suspension features bespoke lightweight components, including aluminium uprights, double wishbones and two-way adjustable dampers with Cyan hydraulics.

The carbon fibre-reinforced chassis is connected to the road with 18″ forged rims with Pirelli P Zero 235/40 tyres at the front and 265/35 at the rear.

The car is controlled by 4-piston calipers with 362x32mm steel discs with genuine feeling as no brake booster or ABS is there to interfere.

World Title engineering team

Cyan Racing’s engineering team originates from more than two decades of developing racing cars and over a decade of developing performance road cars.

The engineering team involved competences from Cyan’s design, aero, engine, chassis and electronics departments.

The Volvo C30 Polestar Performance Prototype, the first road car of Cyan Racing, was used for benchmarking throughout the development process.

Pricing and individual specification is available for prospective clients.

Technical specifications


  • Aspiration: Turbocharged
  • Size: 2000cc
  • Number of cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder alignment: Inline
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Bore x stroke: 82×93.2 mm
  • Compression ratio: 10.2:1
  • Maximum HP/kW: 420 hk/308 kW @ 7000 rpm
  • Maximum torque: 455 Nm @ 6000 rpm
  • Maximum boost: 2.7 bar
  • Maximum RPM: 7700 rpm
  • Fuel system: Direct injection
  • Turbo: Borg Warner EFR, ceramic ball bearings, gamma-ti turbine wheel
  • Exhaust: Dual tube stainless steel, twin catalytic converters


  • Drive wheels: RWD
  • Gearbox type: Manual synchromesh helical cut dog leg
  • Number of gears: 5
  • Clutch: 200 mm, organic disc
  • Flywheel: Single mass steel
  • Prop shaft: Carbon fibre
  • Final drive: LSD with customizable ratio


  • Wheelbase: 2446 mm
  • Length: 4203 mm
  • Width: 1748 mm
  • Height: 1220 mm
  • Track front: 1466 mm
  • Track rear: 1489 mm
  • Fuel tank capacity: 57 litres

Suspension and body

  • Front: Double wishbone, adjustable camber, caster, toe and bumpsteer
  • Rear: Double wishbone, adjustable camber and toe
  • Dampers: Adjustable compression and rebound front and rear
  • Anti-roll bars: Tubular anti-roll bars front and rear, adjustable rear stiffness
  • Steering rack: Rack and pinion with adjustable ratio
  • High-strength steel and carbon fibre body
  • Roll cage made in titanium


  • Front: 4-piston caliper, 362×32 mm disc
  • Rear: 4-piston caliper, 330×25.4 mm disc


  • Front tyre size: Pirelli P Zero 235/40-R18
  • Rear tyre size: Pirelli P Zero 265/35-R18
  • Front rim size: 8.5”x18”
  • Rear rim size: 9.5”x18”
  • Centerlock wheels


  • Curb weight: 990kg
  • Weight distribution: F:R 47:53%

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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