Friday, January 06, 2006

A real Adventure Team Vehicle

Since I'm a little behind on picture posting, I'm going to break with format a little and give you something different to look at. I fell in love with this unique vehicle the first time I saw it driving along a street a few blocks from where I live on the Oregon coast.

By the time I got my jaw back up off the floor of my car, it was gone. I had no idea what it was, and figured (this being a tourist town, where many usual vehicles come to visit, but usually just for a day or so). But to my amazement, I saw it on the street again a few days later, and this time I noticed the "Volvo" on the grill, my one clue to the identity of my mystery vehicle.

I googled on "Volvo Four-Wheel Drive," and with a bit of poking around, discovered that this was a Volvo Laplander, a military vehicle used primarily in Europe back in the 70s, primarily by the Swiss. You can find more information on the Laplander here.

The Laplander is an all-terrain utility vehicle used in a number of different body styles and configurations. Like the more famous Humvee, it's four-wheel-drive and has offset axles for maximum suspension travel and ground clearance (a full 16"). Though they weren't used by the US military, a number have been imported for private use, including this one.

Shortly thereafter, I noticed that the Laplander was often parked at a medical clinic a few blocks from my house, and I mentioned it to my wife. Then she was good enough to slip on some ice in her employer's parking lot. It was just a bump, but they sent her to the clinic to get checked out, and she asked the doctor examining her, "do you know who owns the Laplander out there?" Simply by knowing what the Laplander was, she became his instant best friend, and provided much of the information I'm sharing with you here today.

As it turns out, I'm not the only one who saw his Laplander and liked it. Another local liked it so much, that the doctor helped hook him up and he bought his own. So our little town now has two of these unusual vehicles running around! Even more interesting, the new one is a former airport crash truck, and six-wheel-drive vehicle! I think I've spotted a regular parking place for this one (probably the owners place of employment) so I'll try and get some pictures to post here when I get the chance.

Meanwhile, wouldn't this little baby look great in 1/6th scale and Adventure Team markings? (It would look even better in 1/1 scale and Adventure Team markings. Drool. ) Given the relatively flat sides, the body wouldn't be that hard to scratch build. All I'd need is a suitably large 4x4 radio control chassis to mount it on...

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