Rare Rides: A Serious All-terrain Truck From Volvo - the 1979 C202 Laplander

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a serious all terrain truck from volvo the 1979 c202 laplander

Today’s Rare Ride fits squarely in the I Didn’t Know About This file. It’s a military-grade Volvo from the 1950s, which the company transformed into a civilian vehicle nearly three decades later.

Presenting the C202 Laplander.

The Laplander range of vehicles began development in the early part of the 1950s. The Swedish Army, in need of new transportation, turned to Volvo trucks with their government contract money. By decade’s end, the first of the Laplander vehicles were ready. The initial test run of product was the L2304 model, and 90 were produced.

Those initial examples were made between 1959 and 1961, at which point the army had a few suggestions for Volvo.

Improvements took a while, but the new L3314 model was ready in 1963. Production was in full swing at that point, with several body styles rolling off the line (as per military request). The army could order the stylish Laplander in either tin or soft-top varieties, and there was even one with a place to mount anti-tank weapons.

By the 1970s, the old ’50s box was growing a bit stale. Volvo again upgraded the Laplander, changing its name from L3304 to C303. Around the same time, Volvo decided civilians might be interested in their own personal Laplander to drive about town. The civilian-spec C202 became available starting in 1977 at Volvo dealers around Europe.

Regular consumers were limited to one body style — the hardtop wagon. Fitted as standard was the larger engine option in the Laplander range, the B20 inline-four. Said power mill was introduced for military use in 1969. With two liters of displacement, the B20A had a single carb and produced 82 horsepower. Paired with the relative lack of power, the axles were weaker on civilian Laplanders, and there was no brake for the differential.

Volvo produced the Laplander here and there for civilian use, and eventually cancelled the model. But that didn’t mean consumer demand vanished, and Volvo restarted production (which moved to Hungary from Sweden) in a joint venture with Csepel Auto, at their factory. A trickle of new C202s continued until 1981, with around 3,000 total civilian examples produced.

Today’s C202 is located in San Diego and would be the perfect urban California vehicle. The condition is a bit rough, however, and the ask with 38,000 kilometers on the dial is $18,000. Potential purchasers should remember that all Laplanders run on 93 octane leaded fuel. Have fun with that.

[Images: Seller]

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  • Bking12762 Bking12762 on Nov 29, 2018

    As a person of Norwegian Lapland heritage, I am now offended by the Laplander moniker,.....not. I truly did not know that Laplander was a derogatory term. My deceased Norwegian mother would be thoroughly amused. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A1pmi

  • Jim Jim on Sep 17, 2022


    Hope someone can help me. I’m located in Canada and my C202 Laplander(1981), has 6.17 gears (differentials). I’d like to change them to the original pumpkins.

    Does anyone know the company who made the original 1981 differentials for the C202 Laplander.

    Thanks for any information.


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