Sweden is a country with a tradition of inventors and high technological skills since the 19th century.
Maybe this is why the hobby of customizing and improving cars has grown so deep. Sweden is definitely the country with most Customs, Hot rods, and American cars overall, in the world counted per citizens.
Here at Kustomrama, we will focus to cover the time-span of built cars (and their owners) until around 1985.
Before that, you had to collect your parts at junkyards, and construct almost everything yourself. What we call Traditional.
Today, you can buy a turn-key car with a new fabricated chassies, driveline and body.
Our ambition is to, as correctly as possible, document the cars and tell the stories from the past, including both cars, their builders/owners and everything around the culture.
- 1 Brief History
- 2 The Sollentuna Gang, First generation Hot rodders in Sweden?
- 3 The Second Generation of Swedish Hot Rodders and Customizers
- 4 Searching for objects
- 5 Getting parts
- 6 Car Shows and Meetings
- 7 Dragracing
- 8 Fighting the Law
- 9 Media and artwork
- 10 Awards and Hall of Fame
- 11 Early Hot Rods of Sweden
- 12 Custom Cars of Sweden
- 13 Lowriders of Sweden
- 14 Custom Body and Paint Shops of Sweden
- 15 Custom and Hot Rod Clubs of Sweden
- 16 Traditional Hot Rod and Custom Car Shows of Sweden
- 17 People of Sweden
- 18 References
The Swedish traditional hot rod and custom scene has roots back to the early 1950s. There were different activities in several parts of Sweden, but from the Stockholm county area
we have the most information.
Except from racing activities with old cars both before and after WW2, the idea of customizing and hotrodding cars in Sweden grew in the late 1950s. Inspiration came naturally from U.S.A. with
imported magazines like Hot Rod Magazine, Hop Up Magazine, Rod & Custom etc. and several movies.
Around 1960 there was approximately 30 cars in Sweden that could be defined as Hot Rods or Customs.
As we define "Hot Rods" mostly with pre-WW2 cars, it is natural these were to be modified first. They were getting old and affordable by the younger generation.
"Custom car" means mostly a post-WW2 and 1950s car. These were quite new and naturally more expensive.
As the interest grew among the generation born in the 1940s, many more cars was built during the 1960s. Public shows and exhibitions further fed the interrest along.
Maybe there were around 400-500 cars in the late 1960s. Nobody knows exactly.
Hot Rod Magazine had an article about Swedish hot rods in their 1967 January issue.
The first Swedish magazine for dragracing, rods and customs was Start & Speed starting 1965. As Start & Speed slowly moved focus for dragracing, Bo Sandberg started his own magazine Colorod in 1970. More (color) photos and less text was the intention to feature the design of custom cars, hot rods and choppers.
By the increased media, the interest literally exploded and even though tougher regulations was introduced, Swedes (by tradition very ingenious people) were building cars and bikes in garages all around the country.
The movie "American Graffiti" (1973) was a great contributing factor!
Local clubs established in most larger cities, uniting people with the same interest.
An English translated version can be found here.
In 2022 another article was added describing the years 1965 to 1970. Swedish Hot Rod history (between 1965-1970)
The Sollentuna Gang, First generation Hot rodders in Sweden?
A group of teenagers from the Sollentuna Municipality in Stockholm were amongst the first hot rodders in Sweden. The time is mid-1950s and inspiration came from magazines like Hot Rod Magazine and American movies.
Members of the gang included Lennart Djurberg, Janne Eriksson and brother Ronny Eriksson, Björn Hagelfors, Göran Almen, Peter Billing (from Lidingö), Peder Lundgren, Bosse Åberg and Leffe Karlsson.
Janne Bellander and Björn Bellander, who were from Värmdö, did also join the guys.
From Värmland county came Roland Larsson moving in bringing a 1932 Roadster with a hot tuned 1936 engine.
The guys used to hang out at the garage of Lennart Djurberg's dad. Lennart's dad had a garage connected to his house, where he used to repair Ford's for a living.
Lennart had his 1932 Ford roadster in the garage, a car that fascinated many of the guys in the area. Lennart on his side, also did all he could to recruit his friends to build hot rods.
The Second Generation of Swedish Hot Rodders and Customizers
Geographically the most action now moved to the southern parts of Stockholm. The new wave of Swedish hot rod and custom enthusiasts included Bosse "Gamen" Sandberg and his brother Sven, who had moved from their parents on Kungsholmen to Älvsjö.
In 1963 Lars Ljungkvist's 1932 Ford Roadster was featured on the cover of Teknik för alla December 1963. The caption on the cover stated that the hot rod sport had now reached Sweden. According to the story, there were about 30 hot rods in Sweden at the time.
A couple of guys got together and found a large "barn" in Huddinge where they could build their cars and help each other. Several Hot rods were fabricated there.
Every gang should have a name so they called themselves "Road Knights".
The "Hot Rod Barn" is still there and maintained by Tommy Andersson.
Tommys older brother Lelle "Skägget" Andersson ran for many years (1958-2008) a junk-yard nearby where many parts could be found.
Meanwhile (in the mid 1960s), people in other parts of Sweden started building Hot Rods and Customize cars. Some examples are Leif Heden in west Dalarna,
several young guys in Enköping, Sundsvall and Örebro. Many of these took the car to display at Hot Rod Show in Stockholm.
The junkyards in Denmark and Norway were filled with old Fords, and everyone went across the border to get project cars. Junken and his buddy Richard supposedly smuggled more than 40 Model A and B Ford's across the border from Denmark. People used to buy a small car in Stockholm that they drove down to Denmark and traded in for an old Ford. The license-plates from the little car were mounted on the Ford so they could drive it back home.
Skillingfors was the best place to cross the border from Norway. At Skillingfors there were a sign with Sweden on one side, and Norway on the other one. That was it. There was also a narrow dirt-road that went trough Ed that was popular to smuggle cars out of. Cars carrying Norwegian license plates were often driven across the border. Back home the licenseplates were so mailed back to the owner in Norway.
In the early days of Swedish hot rodding, BoMac Racing in Älvsjö, Stockholm was the only place you could order hot rod parts from the US. BoMac Racing was a company run by Bosse Kasby and his brother Ove. After moving to the US, Bosse went on to work for Dean Moon at Moon Equipment for many years in the 1960s. Bosse moved to the US in the 1960s, where he went on to work for Dean Moon at Moon Equipment when he was only 17 years old. Ove started out selling racing-parts, that Bosse shipped from the US, out of his garage in Älvsjö. When Bosse returned to Sweden, he became a Moon dealer.
Other companies started in the 1960s were:
In the 1960s, Stockholm became known as the hot rod capitol of Sweden. In the spring of 1964 Roffe Skoghag started working on an indoor car show in Stockholm, and according to a story by Micke Östberg that was published in Gasoline 6/2015, Roffe got the idea after seeing Sillarna's, Junken and Palle's hot rods parked at Kungsgatan in Stockholm one night. Roffe was 24 years old at the time and a Swedish go-kart champion. He stroke a deal with Scania, who let the young kid borrow their facilities at Tanto in Södermalm to host a Hot Rod Show. He also convinced his go-kart sponsor Gulf about to run the advertisements for the show. Roffe's show became a success, attracting loads of spectators.
Roffe's show caught the attention of Bo "Gamen" Sandberg, and in 1965 he decided to host his own Hot Rod Show at Ostermans Marmorhallar in Stockholm. Back then, Picko Troberg had the exclusive rights to host auto-shows at Marmorhallarna, and because of that Roffe was not able to rent the location for his show. Gamen was able to convince the superintendent of Marmorhallarna that hot rods were more art than automobiles, so they let him have his Hot Rod Show at Marmorhallarna. Gamen hosted the show together with Acke Nordström and Jonas Qvarnström. It took place about a week prior to Roffe's second show and it became a major success, while Roffe's became a disaster.
The show was normally during week 8 or 9 when schools were closed for winter vacation.
Gamen understood soon that there were a big interest to display the cars in other cities.
So, during the winter period, there were numerous shows in e.g. Gothenburg, Linköping, Örebro.
The tour was called Hot Rod Festival and occured between 1966 to 1969.
The Hotrodders around Stockholm eventually arranged local runs and meetings. Popular places was Skokloster or Östa in Uppland.
There were also a traditional Hot Rod Parade during Dragracing events at Mantorp Park.
Here is a collection of Swedish show vehicles over the years: Only for Show
New years eve 1965 Richard Bergström, Junken and some other friends emigrated to California. They returned full of impressions the next Summer, and decided to form a Dragracing club. Stockholm Dragracingklubb was formed in September of 1966. The weekend after, October 1-2, 1966 the first organized drag race event of Sweden was held outside of Stockholm. The race found place at the new freeway between Stockholm and Enköping. It was still under construction, and not open for the public at the time. Amongst the cars attending were Bosse Gamen's dragster, Sven Sandberg's 1932 Ford 5-Window coupe, the Glowing Coupe, Lars Erik Ljungkvist's 1932 Ford Roadster, and Göran Silfors' 1932 Ford Roadster, the Early Bird. Bosse's dragster did the quarter mile in 11 seconds reaching a speed of 230 km pr hour. It rained on the second day of the event, and due to the wet track, Göran's roadster did the quarter mile in 18,4 seconds, while the Glowing Coupe did it in 16,6 seconds.
As Swedish dragracing evolved rapidely during the 1970s, street-driven Hot Rods became less competitive.
Instead they were showed at very appreciated Hot Rod Parades during racing intermissions.
However, some Dragracing cars have become "retired" as Hot Rods. One example is Tony Jönsson's 1933 Plymouth coupe.
The possibility to legally modify/customize and improve car and MC performance has strongly affected the culture in Sweden.
Until 1965, no governmental control was done, it was up to the local police to assess the security of both cars and drivers.
1965, Svensk Bilprovning AB started, with mandatory yearly inspections of cars older than 5 years.
As there were no formal specifications of which modifications were allowed, it was mostly up the local examiner to check and assess.
Modified cars could thus still be passed with correct data in the registration data sheet.
1968, Trafiksäkerhetsverket established, setting up detailed regulations
on deviations from fabric manufactured vehicles, in practice meaning no modifications could be accepted.
For example, your own built car must pass a crash test to get approved which of course was impossible for a citizen.
These new regulations were introduced in 1970. Luckily many succeeded to get their cars approved before 1970. Many lost interest, some went racing etc.
But as you all know - Hot Rodders don't give up too easily! The activity in the garages didn't decrease.
Some smart people soon found out that Pickups were excluded from the new rules, leading to many new Hot Rods with a lorry bed at back!
Others installed a 100 hp flathead V8 that was original in the 30s. You could also change body on a, for example, Volvo Duett frame, and get it approved!
Since the founding of SSRA, 1975, hotrodders in Sweden got better organized in discussions with the authorities. Thanks to Sture Torngren, Göran Ambell
and many more, the Ministery of Communication were contacted with well-stated suggestions on how to solve the problem.
The idea was to establish a new organ with car experts able to assess calculations on physics, strenghts, suspension and security as a primary instance for approval.
This way, it should be possible to build a car or MC from scratch without being a professional. The same idea was already in place for aeroplanes.
Some years later, 1982, the new rules was set, and Svenska Fordonsbyggares Riksorganisation, SFRO established!!
The new regulations involved two mandatory controls done by SFRO staff. One when the basic construction of frame and suspension is made and one control when the car is finished and driveable.
After these controls are made and the car is approved by SFRO, a regular inspection and registration is finally done by Svensk Bilprovning.
Due to lacking competence with old cars generally at Svensk Bilprovning and decreasing number of vehicles, Sweden has introduced exempion to the yearly
inspections for cars older than 50 years. Meaning no regular governmental control at all!
From 2019 this can also be achieved for "new" amateur build vehicles.
So there is a unique trust from the authorities, important for the car people to protect and not impose on!
Media and artwork
Both the American and the incipient Swedish Rod & Custom scene were sporadically published in Swedish motor magazines from the 1940s and ahead.
Teknik för Alla, Teknikens Värld, Motor have several interesting articles. Here is is scrap from the annual Tekniken Idag from 1968.
Film by Tommy Andersson
Showing in order from 0:32 . Bengt Andersson T-23, Peder Landberg T-23 Ford Pickup, <Duett T-23? TBD>, Sture Torngren T-23 Ford, Weine Andersson T-23 Pickup, Sven Sandberg's Glowing T, Willy Mattsen 1930 Chevrolet delivery, Rogge Carlsson 1931 Ford, Janne Råström 1928 Ford, Thomas Kaakinen 1931 Ford Roadster, Benke Björkman 1932 Ford Cab, Kent Larsson 1932 Ford 3w Coupe, Gunnar Johansson's 1932 Ford 5-Win Coupe, Per Bessing 1935 Ford Coupe, Lars Femtvik 1936 Ford pickup, Anders Åslund 1936 Dodge conv. etc.
Lately, great movies have been produced to show the start of Rod & Custom culture in Sweden;
- "Rod and Customlife", a film by DEon productions. Trailer: Available here
- "Pionjärerna", a film by DEon productions. Trailer: Available here
Awards and Hall of Fame
In later years several initiatives have taked place to award the founders of Swedish Hot rodding. Please see this page.
Built before 1960
Gunnar Jonsson's 1933 Nash Roadster
Lennart Djurberg's 1932 Ford Roadster
Janne Bellander's 1931 Ford Roadster
Björn Bellander's 1932 Ford Roadster
Peter Billing's 1932 Ford Cabriolet
Roland Larsson's 1932 Ford Roadster
Bosse Ericsson's 1932 Ford Roadster
Peder Lundgren's Ford Model A Roadster
Janne Eriksson's 1932 Ford Roadster
Gunnar Johansson's 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe
Göran Almen's 1936 Ford Cabriolet
Built between 1960 and 1965
Rune Jonsson's 1935 Hudson convertible
Lars Erik Ljungkvist's 1932 Ford Roadster
Hasse Broberg's Modified
Bo Sandberg's 1923 Ford Model T Roadster - Purple Passion
Palle Eriksson's 1924 Chevrolet Roadster
Björn Wallman's 1932 Ford
Christer Lundberg's 1931 Chevrolet Roadster
Sven Sandberg's 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe - The Glowing Coupe
Göran Silfors' 1932 Ford Roadster - Early Bird
Lars-Erik Johansson's 1931 Ford Model A Roadster - The Orange Fink
Staffan Runhag 1937 Ford Tudor Slantback
Christer Lundberg 1937 Ford Coupe
Sixten Persson's 1932 Ford Fordor - "Black Power"
Richard Bergström's 1932 Ford Tudor
Lars 'Lare' Wahlström's 1938 Dodge - "Maffia Mobile"
Bennet Landén's 1932 Ford 3-win coupe
Bengt-Göran Karlsson's 1923 Ford (in USA)
Rune Jakobsson's 1939 Buick Coupe
Kenneth Josefsson's 1939 Chevy coupe
Kent Larsson 1932 Ford 3w Coupe
Built between 1965 and 1970
Eldon E. Schmidt's 1929 Ford Model A Roadster (built in USA)
John Svedberg's 1929 Ford Model A Roadster Pickup (built in USA)
Tommy Lindblom 1932 Roadster
Bengt Wennergren's 1931 Ford Model A Roadster
Ronny Haglund's Ford Model T Roadster Pickup - Spader Ess
Jonny Burger's 1931 Ford Roadster
Janne Råström's 1928 Ford
Pelle Widholm T-23 bucket
Vito Marino's 1931 Ford Model A Pick Up (built in USA)
Björn Hagelfors' 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe
Klas and Fredrik Wallin's 1932 Ford Tudor Sedan (built in USA)
Jan 'Benjamin' Wahlström´s 1932 Ford 5-win Coupe
Leffe Karlsson's 1937 Ford Cabriolet
Stig Dahlin T-23 Yankee Car
Ture Lindholm 1934 Ford Tudor
Ivve Hallberg's 1932 Ford Cabriolet
Benke Björkman 1932 Ford Cabriolet
Jan Adolfsson 1936 Ford 3w Coupe
Staffan Runhag's 1947 Ford Pickup
Janne Serrander's 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe
Lars Larre Andersson 1938 Ford Convertible
Thomas Kaakinen 1931 Ford Roadster
Bosse Edberg Hot Rod
Sture Torngren's T-23 Ford
Peder Landberg T-23 Ford Pickup
Tommy Andersson 1939 Chevy Coupe
Stig Sinclair 1939 Ford Convertible
Bill Palmgren's 1940 Ford Coupe
Staffan Runhag 1936 Ford 3-Window Coupe
Kent Larsson 1932 Ford 3w Coupe
Per Iggsten 1937 Ford Convertible
Per Johansson's 1939 Ford 4-door sedan
Hasse Zetterqvist/Greg Ekholm 1937 Ford
Sven Sandberg 1937 Ford Coupe - Mystic Blue
Tony Jönsson 1933 Plymouth Coupe
Jan Adolfsson 1936 Ford 3-win Coupe
Leif Hedén's 1932 Dodge Coupe
Ingemar Becker 1934 Ford Tudor
Freddy Petersen/Anders Lantz 1934 Ford 5-Window Coupe
Lars Skogberg's 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe
Lasse Huber 1932 Ford B400
Lasse Huber 1932 Ford Convertible
Gunnar Axelsson 1930 Ford Tudor
Sverker Ekström 1939 Ford std coupe
Bengt Aronsson's Ford 1946 coupe
Anders Reinli's 1939 Chevrolet - Prinsen
Sven "Hottis" Granberg's T-23 bucket
Åke Johansson's T-23 bucket
"Lusses" A-Ford coupe
Built between 1970 and 1975
Karl-Ola Englund's 1923 Ford
Sven Sandberg's Glowing T
Per Bessing 1935 Ford Coupe
Michael Feffer/Bo Sandberg/Lee Sandberg T-23 Ford (built in USA)
Christer Carlbaum 1932 Ford Victoria
Anders Åslund 1936 Dodge conv.
Lars Torngren 1938 Ford Club Coupe
Bo Bernulf 1939 Oldsmobile Cabriolet DL
Lars Femtvik 1936 Ford Pickup
Built after 1975
Sven Sandberg T-23 Ford - The Zipper
Henrik Forss' Bucket T
Olle Thorslund 1939 Ford Coupe
Hugo Dahlgren 1937 Chevrolet Coupe
Ove Skog/Doc Forest 1934 Ford Coupe
Göran Ambell 1934 Ford Tudor
Göran Ambell 1932 Ford Roadster
Ivve Hallberg 1946 Ford Business Coupe
Uffe Ringblom T-23 Ford
Olle Thorslund 1928 Ford Pheaton
Mikael Blomberg's 1932 Ford Roadster
Ulf Andersson 1934 Ford Coupe
David Bergström T-23 Ford - Silver Dollar
Bengt Albertsson/Martin Andersson 1937 Ford Tudor slantback
Christer Karlsson's 1934 Ford 3-win coupe
Tommy Cougar's T-23 Ford
- plus of course many many more cars... Stay tuned on Kustomrama! ***
Custom Cars of Sweden
Inge Carlberg's 1955 Chevrolet-"Shadow"
Kent Jonsson's 1934 Ford Roadster
Delwyn Triska’s 1936 Ford 5-Window Coupe
Göran Silfors' 1936 Ford Sedan
Hasse Broberg and Kjelle Gustad's 1938 Chevrolet Convertible
Eddie Dominguez' 1939 Mercury Convertible
Bert Gustafsson's 1941 Cadillac Roadster
Janne Lundell's 1941 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe - The Carnelian Zaphir
Darren Chapman's 1949 Buick Sedanette
Johan Löfgren's 1949 Buick Sedanette
Qvintus Brusefält Ån's 1949 Chevrolet
Bengt Wennergren's 1949 Ford
Magnus Karlsson's 1949 Oldsmobile
Andreas Åberg's 1950 Ford Tudor
Bert Gustavsson's 1951 Dodge
Daniel "J:son" Johansson's 1951 Mercury
Ulf Christiansson's 1951 Mercury - Lucille
John Bozio's 1953 Buick Roadmaster
Mikko Kiviniemi's 1953 Chevrolet
Bo Thalinsson's 1953 Ford Sunliner Convertible
Tobias Andersson's 1953 Oldsmobile
Sven Blüme's 1954 Plymouth Convertible
Leif Wendel's 1955 Ford Sunliner - "Blue Heaven"
Arne Lindstrand's 1955 Chevrolet
Leif Helander's 1955 Chevrolet Convertible
Cecilia Gustafsson's 1955 Oldsmobile Super 88 - "Miss Lavendel"
Hence Forsman's 1956 Cadillac Eldorado
Bo Hedenström's 1956 Ford Fairlane - The Avalanche
Sven Sandberg's 1956 Ford Sunliner Convertible
Kjell Larsson's 1957 Chevrolet
Hans Broberg and Kjelle Gustad's 1957 DeSoto
Bert Gustavsson's 1957 Ford 300 Sedan
Matti Johanson's 1957 Ford Ranchero
Daemon Löfman's 1957 Oldsmobile 88
Lasse Mäenpää's 1958 Chevrolet Impala
Sven Sandberg's 1959 Chevrolet Impala
Lasse Theander's 1958 Ford Thunderbird - The Mystery Bird
Pelle Åberg's 1955 Ford Sunliner - "New Heaven"
Pontus Karlsson's 1959 Buick
Bo Sandberg's 1959 Ford Thunderbird - Surfin Bird
Bo Sandberg's 1959 Ford Thunderbird - The Wild Bird
Tobias Närholm's 1960 Chevrolet Impala
Peder Behr's 1960 Chrysler New Yorker
Miles Masa's 1962 Chevrolet Impala - The Stardust/The Goofy Grape
Johan Eriksson's 1964 Ford Galaxie 500
Jon Karlsson's 1964 Ford Galaxie 500
Bo Sandberg's Cool Cat
Bengt-Olof Johansson's 1955 Chevrolet Custom
Hilmer Svensson's Chrysler
Lowriders of Sweden
Lil John's 1966 Chevrolet Caprice
Custom Body and Paint Shops of Sweden
Custom and Hot Rod Clubs of Sweden
The Road Devils, Stockholm
Customs of Sweden
Easy Rodders, Stockholm
Early Times, Nacka
Ekens Gassers, Nacka
Traditional Hot Rod and Custom Car Shows of Sweden
A-Bombers Old Style Weekend
Bastardized and Undertakers Fest
CKOS Lead Parkin'
Hammers Back to the 50's Weekend
Hot Rod Festival
Hot Rod Show
Hot Rod Show Borlänge
Jokers Car Show
Rumble in the Jungle
SSRA Street Rod Nationals
People of Sweden
Daniel "J:son" Johansson
Gunnar "Gurra" Jonsson
Lars Erik Ljungkvist
Lasse Järnesjö"A-Ford Lasse"
Rolf "Fride" Eriksson
Qvintus Brusefält Ån
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