In today’s age of eminently Instagrammable restomods, Cyan Racing’s Volvo P1800 project does without all the enormous fender flares, chrome rims, and 1,000-horsepower Hellcat Hemis. Instead, this classic 1960’s coupe sports bright blue carbon-fiber body panels draped around a reworked chassis housing a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four.
If the recipe seems a bit underwhelming on paper, keep in mind that Cyan is the new name for Polestar, formerly Volvo’s factory World Touring Car team before the brand spun off into a dedicated EV manufacturer. The more recent leap into high-end custom projects—clearly inspired by Singer’s ungodly Porsche builds—therefore arrives with a deft Swedish touch and more than a handful of hardcore race-proven goodies.
The P1800 Cyan starts with a 1960’s car, then swaps in custom subframe and suspension component before dropping in the peppy powertrain. A curb weight under 1,000 kilograms (2,182 pounds, to be precise) means Cyan could have gotten away with skipping power steering, but wider modern rubber from Pirelli tires measuring 245 millimeters wide up front and 265 millimeters at the rear would have made low-speed turns something of a chore.
Instead of full-hydraulic assist, however, the P1800 Cyan now uses a light electric unit mounted on the steering column, because this car is all about tactile driving dynamics. A dual-clutch gearbox with paddle shifters—à la the S60 TC1—might have provided quicker shifts, but a dogleg five-speed manual from Australian transmission builder Holinger more directly links the driver to that screaming turbo engine. On power approaching redline, the mill cranks out 420 horsepower of turbo-whooshing gut punch right up to fuel cutoff at 7,700 RPM.
A roll cage, bucket seats, and racing harnesses come optional but contribute to that racecar-for-the-street sensation (and are probably a good idea given the P1800’s lack of nannies like power-assisted brakes, ABS, or traction control). But the engaging experience continues within the interior with classically styled electronic gauges, strictly metal switchgear, and textural materials on nearly every surface.
Cyan built the first prototype to serve as a proof of concept, right at the limit of hardcore capabilities for what the build can do. But customers can also spec softer suspension damping and even bushing durometer for a more comfortable ride to complement the theoretically bulletproof drivetrain, or more classic red-over-tan and white-over-green color schemes that create a more subdued tone than the arresting Polestar Blue paint.
Personalization makes up a good part of the appeal here, given the $700,000+ price tag for the planned run of 100 units. For context, that ask is higher than Singer started offering Porsche 964 restomods back in the day. And yet, ask anyone lucky enough to have taken a joy ride in the P1800 Cyan what their standout car of the past few years might be, and this build inevitably enters the conversation.
In today’s age of instantaneously available electric torque, commuter EVs with advanced driver-assistance systems that border on autonomous driving often put down enough power to embarrass most internal-combustion cars. But creative endeavors like the P1800 Cyan prove that nimble driving dynamics still matter: Biting brakes slam the nose into corners while heel-toeing downshift, telepathic steering guides the agile chassis through apex at unbelievable speed, and sensory inputs give way to the banshee turbo’s full raspy wail into the straights.