Volvo didn’t really get into the SUV segment until launching the XC90 in the early 2000s. However, the Swedish brand had what you would think of as a proto-SUV in the 1950s with the TP21 “Sugga”. One of these strange military machines has been sold in Australia Collecting Cars.
The Sugga, which means “sowing” in Swedish, entered production in 1953. They used a 3.67-liter flathead inline-six producing 90 horsepower, a four-speed manual and selectable four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case. There’s even a front and rear differential lock. Volvo makes them both personnel carriers and radio vehicles – like this one. Report from Hemming claims that some of them remained in use by the Swedish military into the 1990s.
The TP21 shares elements with the Volvo PV800 Series models but has a truck-based chassis. That includes elements like a raised suspension, revised fenders, and thick tires for going off-road. The rear accessory rack holds things like extra gas cans. This one has a shovel and an ax attached to the roof.
The driver’s side of the cab includes a large speedometer, two auxiliary gauges and three gear shifters to manipulate. There is also a bold switch on the dashboard. The rear has a table as wide as possible for operating the radio and two chairs.
This rig came to Australia in the mid-1980s and was in the same family until this sale. According to the list, this Sugga may be the first in Australia. It received service in January 2023, including fresh fluid, spark plugs, new fan belts, rebuilt water pump, and cleaned radiator.
According to the listing, Volvo reportedly only made around 720 units of the TP21. It would make an interesting alternative to classic Jeeps or other military rigs that are more common in the collector’s pen.
Volvo builds many vehicles for its country’s military. There are also such rigs L11/12 and even TL22 6X6 with differential locks on each axle. The armed forces have used this machine for decades as a hauler of heavy goods, even over rough terrain.