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From the EPA-tractor to the A-tractor

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They seem a bit strange to us at first, as they often look like the comic version of a Volvo converted to a pickup truck. We are talking about the so-called A-tractors. If you have never heard of A- or EPA-tractors, this could be because these vehicles are a purely Swedish phenomenon. In Sweden, these vehicles are very popular, especially among young people.

But what are A tractors? Originally they were called EPA tractors. The 'EPA' is not, as you might think, an interesting abbreviation for some technical gadget, but 'EPA' was the name of a cheap market chain in Sweden in the 50s and 60s of the 20th century. Since there was a great demand for agricultural tractors at that time, but very few farmers could really afford such machines, the Swedish government created the legal possibility to build tractors themselves based on series-produced vehicles. The most important requirements that had to be observed during construction were

  • No rear axle suspension
  • Reducing the seats to one row
  • A loading area
  • A trailer coupling
  • throttling the motor power

Otherwise it was left to the farmers to build their tractors from. Since mostly material was used, which was still lying around somewhere, the tractors soon got their name in reference to the cheap market. So EPA-Traktor means about the same as 'cheap tractor'.

In the 1970s, the Swedish government banned the registration of new EPA tractors. However, since the tractors were already very popular at that time, not least because they could be driven by people as young as 16 (or 14 if you lived on a farm), there was naturally resistance from the population to the ban plans. So the Swedish government finally gave in and created the 'A-tractor', which is still unchanged today.

However, with the best will in the world, today's A tractors no longer look like working machines. The main reason for this is certainly the fact that the regulation passed in the 1970s still allows young people to build tractors to their own specifications, as long as they stick to the manageable catalogue of requirements:

  • A so-called LGF sign (a kind of warning triangle) at the rear
  • maximum permitted speed of approx. 30km/h (2-speed gearbox)
  • Otherwise, the requirements of EPA tractors have been largely taken over

So even today, Swedish youngsters are still building their first tuning projects with full dedication, mostly based on classic Volvo vehicles.
It is therefore perfectly normal that during their next stay in Sweden they encounter one or the other 'Hot-Rod-PickUp-Volvo' driving leisurely through the countryside. But you can get a first impression of just how creative Swedish youngsters really are when it comes to building their A-tractors by looking at our pictures and links.

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