Hot Wheels has spent the past few months touring the United States in search of the next custom car it will add to its catalog of 1/64-scale diecast models. It’s not stopping there: It also headed to the United Kingdom to add a bit of international flair to the competition, and it selected a Volvo P1800 that has been heavily modified into a gasser as the winner that will move on to the semifinal round.
Owner Lee Johnstone explained he built his P1800 — which he nicknamed “Ain’t no Saint” — starting with a bare shell that had been stripped and that was too far gone to properly restore. Volvo’s 1960s four-cylinder engines are famously tunable, but Johnstone looked across the pond for an engine suitable to make his dream car a reality. He chose a 454-cubic-inch V8 sourced from the Chevrolet parts bin and supercharged to develop about 600 horsepower.
Ain’t no Saint reportedly runs a 10.01-second quarter mile at 133 mph.
Johnstone regularly races the P1800 with his three daughters. He consequently named his team Johnstone & Daughters (JD) Racing.
“This is a beautiful example of a gasser — a drag racer with street car form. Often with dragsters, the chassis is so important that the body gets overlooked, but this example is fabulous with great attention to detail,” explained former Jaguar design director Ian Callum, who was one of the judges that selected the P1800 as the United Kingdom’s finalist. “It completely hits the Hot Wheels brief.”
Hot Wheels has already released several gassers, including one based on a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. Time will tell if Johnstone’s P1800 will become the next addition to the series. Its next stop is the global semifinal round scheduled for November 4, 2021, where it will compete against some of the previous winners. There are two semifinal rounds taking place before the grand finale planned for November 13.