Gnarly Volvo P1800 gasser blasts into 1:64-scale immortality
When we first caught wind of a crazy Volvo P1800 gasser last month, we could hardly believe such thing actually existed. That unexpectedness is precisely what helped Lee Johnstone’s masterpiece, nicknamed “Ain’t No Saint,” to take home the top honors in the Hot Wheels Legends Tour, beating out other cartoon-worthy entries including a Baja-built Porsche 911, some crazy rat-rod customs, and one delightful delivery van. Now, Ain’t No Saint will become the latest in a long list of eye-popping project cars to become immortalized as a 1:64 scale die-cast model and sold by Hot Wheels around the world.
The car, which hails from Somerset, England, was discovered by 71-year-old Johnstone and his daughters as a rusty shell too far-gone for a full-on restoration. Instead of leaving the wreck to rot, Johnstone and crew resurrected the svelte Swede as a quarter-mile-munching drag car. Ain’t No Saint sports a Chevrolet 454 big-block huffing air and fuel through a 671 GMC supercharger and dual four-barrel carburetors. With the aid of massive Hoosier drag slicks and a squat-inducing suspension to help hook all that fury to the strip, Johnstone’s Volvo Green creation has run the quarter as quick as 10.01 seconds, accomplishing 133 mph through the traps.
Back when the car was selected as a finalist for the Garage Legends tour, famed car designer Ian Callum perfectly encapsulated Ain’t No Saint’s appeal:
“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. It’s a super quality, beautifully built car. And it completely hits the Hot Wheels brief.”
Ted Wu, Mattel’s global vice president of vehicle design, echoes Callum’s sentiments. “The Volvo Gasser is a wonderful expression of authenticity, creativity, and most importantly, garage spirit,” says Wu. “We look forward to welcoming Lee Johnstone and his 1969 Volvo P1800 into the Hot Wheels family and presenting the world with our newest Hot Wheels Legends Tour die-cast toy.”
Our hats are off to Johnstone and his family, as well as to Hot Wheels for yet another awesome round of the Legends Tour. To get an in-depth look at the other finalists and to see Johnstone’s reaction, enjoy the two-hour live-streamed event below, hosted on the Jay Leno’s Garage YouTube channel.