FROM the film set of a 1960s mystery spy thriller to the riverside town of Bewdley – this iconic Volvo P1800 has turned a new corner after being fully restored by a car enthusiast.
The white Volvo coupé, which featured in the first episode of the classic TV series The Saint , starring James Bond actor Roger Moore, has been spruced up by engineer Kevin Price, of Bewdley.
The 57 year old found it decaying under thick brambles on a farm in North Wales more than 20 years ago and since then has spent seven years and thousands of pounds restoring it to its former glory.
Mr Price’s hard work has been rewarded – he was shortlisted as one of 10 finalists for the na - tional title of Restorer of the Year.
The winner, voted for by visitors, will be announced at the Practical Classics Restoration Show, at Birmingham’s NEC on Sunday, April 13, in front of thousands of classic car fans.
Mr Price, who founded the Volvo Enthusiasts’ Club, had been contacted by many people over the years claiming to have the original Roger Moore Saint car 71 DXC – known to TV fans as ST 1 – so in 1991 when he took a call from someone claiming to have the original Volvo he was sceptical.
“I had been looking for it because I’m heavily into that model of car,” he explained. “This call came out of the blue. I went to look at it and sure enough it was the one.
“Everyone with a white 1800 coupé thinks it’s ‘the one.’ I’d had so many calls and followed so many leads that I was tired – exhausted in fact – but there was just something about this one.”
It took Mr Price six years to persuade the farmer to sell the car, which he claimed was rotten and rusting.
“He didn’t want to sell it but in the end he did,” he said. “It was on the front of my dad’s house until 2007, when I decided it was time to restore it.
“It was a total wreck. It had no right to be saved – it wasn’t even good enough for scrap. When I started taking it to pieces I realised how bad it was.”
The car had its first outing last September to get MOT-ed and shortly after was driven on its longest journey of 12 miles for a photo shoot with classic motoring magazine Practical Classics.
It will be on display throughout the show at the NEC.