Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: 1957 Volvo TP21 “Sugga” – Ultimate SUV Bragging Rights?

posted at the Cohort by William Oliver

Gnarly vintage 4x4s are of course the hot thing. Gen1 Broncos, vintage Land Rovers, Scouts; they’re all red-hot. But here’s a 4×4 that will put them all in the shade: a 1957 Volvo TP21 “Sugga” (“sow”).  It may look like a back-yard job where an old car body is dropped on a 4×4 truck chassis; but it’s not. Well; it sort of is, actually, but it was made in Volvo’s factories, and it became legendary in its time already. Built from 1953 through 1958, some of these served in the Swedish military well into the 1990s.

Needless to say, any of the 720 TP21s that still exist are highly sought after and worth their weight in gold. Well, almost. Wait a few years.

The TP21 is an update of the WW2 era TPV, which was what it looked like: the body of Volvo’s PV800/810 large RWD sedan, mounted on a truck chassis with four wheel drive and powered by Vovo’s 3.6 L flathead six. Its name, Terrängpersonvagn translates to off-road personnel carrier.


The updated TP21 used the same archaic sedan body, which of course is a big part of its appeal. A gnarly SUV with a trunk. Volvo’s highly-capable four-wheel-drive system featured vacuum-lockable front and rear axles and a twin-stick transfer case, with 1:1 high and 1.44:1 low ratios. The 3.67 L six was now rated at 90 hp. Top speed was listed as 65 mph.

The hood and grille look a bit like an old Dodge Power Wagon, but the squared off fenders are quite different.

I love this view from the rear, with that old-fashioned little trunk above that massive spare wheel and that big push bar.