Your Projects: How to Turn a Volvo P1800 Into a Ferrari 275 GTB

By Colin Wood
May 6, 2020 | Your Projects

Some projects can simple, like refurbishing plastic chrome trim. Other projects, however, can be more complex like user 275nart's ambitions of turning a Volvo P1800 into a replica of a Ferrari 275 GTB.

The inspiration came to 275nart after reading how a pair of P1800s were used to create two 250GT Lusso replicas for the film "Tower Heist." 275nart realized that the P1800 could be used to make a replica of a 275 GTB that, unlike the film replicas, would run. Lining up the silhouettes showed that the 275 GTB (in pink) and the P1800 (in gray) have, at least, a few similarities shape-wise.

The donor body would need to be in good enough condition for the project, but not too nice since it was going to be cut up and welded back together. Some internet searching brought up a rolling shell that had been sitting in a metal recycler's yard for about six months, and the price was right for $1500.

Power would come from a V12, but with a Ferrari engine out of budget, 275nart decided on a Jaguar V12 for ease of access to available engines. A rough-running V12 from a Jaguar XJS was secured for $500.

The three-speed automatic mounted to the Jaguar V12 was then discarded in favor of a T5 five-speed manual from a late '90s Mustang.

To really turn the P1800 into a Ferrari, a lot of work was needed—both inside in out. Exterior panels were carefully cut off, the floor was cut and reinforced to shorten the wheelbase, the firewall and transmission tunnel were modified to make room for the engine and transmission, and a new subframe was built to support both the new body as well as the engine and transmission.

The body is the next big hurdle in the build, and 275nart plans on hand-bending the sheet metal over a wire buck. Forum user WillHoonForFood is helping to create that wire buck with a high-tech scanner and a simple scale model of a 275. 3D printing has also proved to be invaluable, allowing the creation of a nose and a tail that can be used as a buck.

As ambitious as this project is, 275nart has already made lots of progress since starting the thread back in 2017—with the build thread already spanning 10 pages. How many pages can we hit before this project finishes?


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View comments on the GRM forums
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/6/20 11:30 a.m.

I changed the rear wiper arm on my mom's CRV and thought THAT was a lot of work.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/6/20 12:21 p.m.
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) said:

I changed the rear wiper arm on my mom's CRV and thought THAT was a lot of work.


Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
5/6/20 12:57 p.m.

I always dream of taking on a massive project like this, but then I remember the number of times I've taken a car to a "professional" because of something outside of my wheelhouse.

I'll stick to living vicariously through projects like this one.

5/6/20 1:08 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

Stop dreaming and just jump into the deep end. That is what I did and lived to tell the tale. Experience and skills are the byproduct of swimming with sharks.

What is the absolute worst that could happen? You lose a few grand and know more than you do now. Go for it.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
5/6/20 2:00 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

Good point. I've definitely thought about just buying a car that doesn't run well/doesn't run and tinkering on it.

Then I remember my lack of driveway, student debt and a wife that wouldn't understand why I would buy a broken car (I'm working on the last one, though).

Someday, for sure.

5/6/20 2:34 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

You have to buy one that works, then you can fix it till it's broke!


But yeah...the driveway thing. THAT is a problem.

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