We all know of the Land Rover 101 and the invincible Mercedes Unimog, but the Volvo C202 is possibly the more exclusive choice

While Mercedes and Land Rover were busying themselves with the Unimog and 101 respectively, Volvo was creating its own set of vehicles designed for the Swedish military. In the early 1950s, Volvo was asked to design and build these vehicles and by 1959 they had come up with the L2304; a pre-production run of 90 vehicles destined for the military. The full-fat production vehicles that followed from 1961 were sold in the thousands, and eventually were affectionately named Laplanders. Cute.

Although a rare sight in North America, for obvious reasons, over 10,000 were produced over the two decade production life. The C202, like the one you see here, was eventually sold privately at the tail end of its production, using the B20 Volvo engine.

In true Volvo style it’s widely acknowledged that these beasts drive surprisingly well, with most folk going as far as to say that despite their appearance, the driving controls are of the same quality as you would expect in a typical car. Quite biblical praise, then, for a vehicle that suggests rev-matching and crunching gears like your morning cereal would be the order of the day.

1979 Volvo C202 Laplander GAA

The B20 engine fitted was a 2.0-liter four-cylinder unit that sought refuge in several Volvo production cars of the era, including the P1800 and even the 240. Just to clarify, that is literally the same engine that powered Roger Moore’s P1800 in The Saint. What a weird and wonderful world we live in, eh?

Being the B20A derivative, power is down thanks to a single carburettor at 82-horsepower, although the high/low range gearbox will surely make light work of it. The vendor assures that 70mph is attainable in this example, with Volvo itself claiming a top speed of 72mph.

The example we have here is the civilian version and what a beast it looks. With a very attractive contrasting paint job, this would make the perfect camper conversion or off-road vehicle. With the vendor claiming a whole host of new parts being fitted, this is surely one of the best in North America? With a penchant for recreational vehicles ourselves, such as our bus, perhaps we’ll see you at GAA.

Gallery: 1979 Volvo C202 Laplander