The idea of producing a sports car as a means to improve the selling of regular cars, Volvo’s chief of that time, Assar Gabrielsson, got in the USA in the beginning of the 50:ies. During quite a long stay in the USA he started what would be a 20 years long period of sports car productions by Volvo. Mr Gabrielsson was convinced that Volvo would benefit from this investment in the same way as the Corvette model had done for Chevrolet.
Read more about P1800 at ”Volvo P1800 Club of Sweden”.
Update: My uncle had a P1800 in the 50:ies. Also, a white Volvo P1800 (with licence plate ST1) driven by Simon Templar, played by Roger Moore, was featured in the 1962 TV series The Saint.