CC Capsule: 1956 Red Bull Volvo TP21 Sugga – A Sow In Bull’s Clothing

1956 Red Bull Volvo Sugga

The Volvo TP21 is a rather odd looking vehicle. Known as the Sugga, which means sow in Swedish, likely due to its dowdy and snub nosed appearance, it would seem to be an unlikely target for corporate customization. Yet here is one of several classic Suggas that Red Bull customized for its promotions fleet.

Introduced in 1953, the TP21 was a replacement for the aged TPV in use by the Swedish armed forces. Rather than developing a bespoke body, Volvo repurposed the body section from their PV800 series taxi cab. The front bonnet and fenders were unique however. The rather vintage looking vertical grille gives the front end its characteristically snout-like appearance.


The TP21 featured a very beefy box section frame with three U-profile cross members. Suspended by leaf springs front and rear, both axles had a ratio of either 7:36:1 or 6:35:1. The engine was the solid, if not overly powerful, gasoline ED 3.63L side valve inline six which developed 90hp @ 3600rpm and 159lb-ft of torque. Routing this power was an unsynchronized four-speed manual gearbox and two-speed transfer case.


The Sugga, while effective off-road, proved to be a bit slow and crude on-road. It officially had a top speed of 90km/h in top gear, but the Swedish military advised its drivers to stick to 80km/h and under. The high cost meant the TP21 was not really suitable for foreign markets and was ultimately produced in small numbers.

Chevrolet K5 Blazer

When Red Bull modified this Sugga for its Promotion fleet, it might be disappointing–but not entirely surprising–that also they jettisoned the TP21 mechanical bits in favor of something a bit easier to drive and maintain. This particular one has Chevrolet K5 Blazer bones under its skin.

1956 Red Bull Volvo Sugga rear

Here is the rear of the Sugga. From other examples I’ve seen online, those rear mounted jerry cans actually contain speakers and the Sugga operates as a mobile music station. I caught this as it was driving away, so I unfortunately do not have any interior shots. A blue Canadian Pontiac caught in this shot is hopefully partial compensation.

Image courtesy of mikeygottawa/

Swedish military cast-offs were not the only targets of Red Bull’s marketing. The Red Bull MINI is probably the most well known and numerous.

Less well known are the various Suzuki variants including this X-90.

1957 Volvo Sugga

Oddly enough, some time later I came across this supersized Sugga. While the stretching has somewhat sullied its looks, I do know more about this example. It was built by 360 Fabrication in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. A 1957 Volvo TP21 was cut into four then stretched and widened. A 2010 Ford F-350 crew cab with short box gave its chassis, which was shortened to fit. The Ford 6.4L diesel engine and automatic gearbox were retained.

1957 Volvo Sugga interior

The Ford donor also provided the dashboard and interior components.

1957 Volvo Sugga rear

The rear shows further customization including modern door and trunk releases. The truck is fully equipped with DJ equipment, and three flat screen TVs that lift up from the roof. The same source informed me that the K5 powered Sugga in the leading photo was converted to the same late model Ford power/wide body format as this truck above.