Martin Johansson and Håkan Eriksson, dressed for the occasion.
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In pictures: A story behind every truck

One by one, the diesel powered pieces of history that took part in this year’s Heavy Rally crossed the finish line at the Volvo Museum on 5 May. Behind the wheel of every truck and bus sat a passionate driver, with a story to tell.

Christer Johansson bought his Volvo bus made in 1953 some 15 years ago. By then, it had been parked indoors for a quarter of a century.

“We pulled it out and put in a fresh battery. It started instantly,” says Christer Johansson, with a smile.

He has just driven the 80+ kilometers from Varberg to Gothenburg along the west coast of Sweden, stopping along the way to answer the questions in the Heavy Rally quiz.

Christer Johansson and his travel companions are among the first to arrive at Volvo Museum, but a fast finishing time is really not what the Heavy Rally (or Tunga Rallyt Väst in Swedish) is all about. Something else makes these enthusiasts spend countless hours and days taking care of their beautiful machines, keeping them running year after year.  In Jannike Palm’s case, it is a matter of tradition.

“My grandfather bought this truck in 1988. It was made in 1947 but the original owner died shortly after purchasing it, so it was kept in a barn for a long time,” says Jannike Palm, representing Palms åkeri AB, a road transport company based in Trelleborg in the south of Sweden.

A few minutes later, a Volvo truck painted military green makes its entrance. It is equipped with a strange gizmo in front, which draws some interest from the large crowd. Håkan Eriksson pops his head out the window to help Martin Johansson park the truck, both wearing uniforms and caps from another era. 

“Volvo built 160 of these for the Swedish Air Force, in 1956. They have a direct current generator mounted in front and were used for towing and starting-up the first Swedish jet fighter, “Tunnan” [model J29]. This particular truck is actually number 7 in the series produced, which is what is says right here,” says Martin Johansson and points at a metal plate.

Another truck. With another story.

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