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From Our Readers: A Car Worthy of 'The Saint'

Comments under today's piece on a very well-travelled Volvo, reveal an abundance of affection for the make. "I'll be here all week" recalls with fondness all the "quirky features" of his white 1968 P1800S, including "rear view mirror ... mounted on the center of the dashboard, vertical temp gauges between the speedo and tach, the funky aircraft style levers for the vents and fan."

This reader also points out that Roger Moore's character Simon Templar, a British detective and agent on the 1960's serial The Saint drove an identical white Volvo. An old article in Motor Trend tells the history of the three 1800's used over the course of the show:

"The first was a 1962 P1800, built at the Jensen factory in England before Volvo took production in-house. It was registered 71 DXC and, according to Rolling, the Volvo Club of America's magazine (www.vcoa.org), used in the first 26 episodes. It was replaced by a 1964 model (now dubbed 1800S), registered 77 GYL. This car received some running updates--most likely in 1965--to keep up with changes Volvo made to production units. It appeared in 59 more shows.

"Two new 1800s joined 'The Saint' scene in 1967; one, registered NUV 647E, was Moore's personal driver. The other, NUV 648E, was the TV star and the car you see here. It was used for the rest of the life of the series, sexed up with a pair of auxiliary lamps in front, Minilite alloy wheels, and a two-spoke wood-rimmed steering wheel. A small fan was installed in back to help keep things cooler inside when the car was filled with stage lights. Otherwise, the right-hand-drive 648E was factory stock, including a manual transmission with overdrive. That famous 'ST I' license plate? It was a made-for-TV prop — the initials standing for Simon Templar."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Marissa Alioto