SEMA 2018: Toyo Tires Hosts Custom-Built, Off-Road-Ready Volvo Sugga

On our way through the SEMA Show, we came across our friends at Toyo Tires. The company is known for its strong and varied repertoire of tires, and its booth, the Toyo Treadpass, is a busy yet awesome walkway to check out during the show. One vehicle among the many seen there stood out to us – a vintage Volvo Sugga built by Eddie Pettus of Eddies Rod & Custom.

We reached out to Eddie after the show to get the full scoop on his build and the vision behind it. “We first got the vehicle in 2008, and finished it in 2009,” he said. “The owner is a University of Iowa alum, and he never misses a home game. He uses this Volvo to get to the games and have a radical tailgate vehicle.”

Builder Eddie Pettus first completed the Sugga back in 2009. However, an opportunity to bring the 4x4 to SEMA was too good to pass up, and Eddie and his team did a number of refreshes on the vehicle to get it ready for primetime. "I like the uniqueness of it, considering Volvo only made 720 of them," he said.

The build started out as a 1957 Volvo TP21 radio command vehicle, serving in the Swedish military. “The owner had seen a Sugga and decided he wanted one, badly,” said Eddie. “Before we knew it, he had six Suggas imported into the U.S. We took the worst of the bunch and built it up better than ever, and that’s the one we had at the SEMA Show.”

The Sugga uses a very stout drivetrain with a big block V8 and four-wheel-drive, and still has room for plush interior comfort and restored badging.

It was last year when Eddie and his team had the idea of refreshing the build for SEMA, and he got to work right away. “We always thought it would be a showstopper with the right touches, so that’s what we went for,” said Eddie. “We did a number of adjustments and add-ons to get it to the right level.”

The stereo received a revamp courtesy of Kicker, and included four six-inch speakers, two 6×9-inch speakers, two eight-inch subwoofers, three amplifiers, two flatscreen TVs, a touchscreen navigation system, reverse camera, a Sony PlayStation 4, and last but not least, a DirecTV satellite dish. Another aspect of the refresh was a new paint job, done in-house using Glasurit Safari Yellow.

The cleverly installed stereo system makes use of the fuel cans on the back of the Sugga.

Other highlights of the vehicle are its drivetrain, consisting of a 572ci Chevy Big Block V8 and a T475 transmission. The transfer case is from SCS Gearbox, and routes power to the stock Volvo 1-ton axles. The finishing touches are the custom TrailReady wheels, and 40-inch Toyo Open Country M/Ts. “The M/Ts were definitely the right choice for this build,” commented Eddie. “They’re so good, in fact, that I’m considering picking up a set for my 200 Series Land Cruiser!”

We tips our hats to Toyo Tires for hosting this epic yellow Swede at the SEMA Show and look forward to making our way there again in 2019. Be sure to check out Eddies Rod & Custom online, and don’t forget to visit Toyo Tires on its website and Facebook page.

The Sugga sports custom Trail Ready wheels, as well as 40-inch Toyo Open Country M/Ts. Eddie said, "Toyo's been awesome to deal with, and they made SEMA a blast for us. It's a good beginning to a new future!"

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About the author

David Chick

David Chick comes to us ready for adventure. With passions that span clean and fast Corvettes all the way to down and dirty off-road vehicles (just ask him about his dream Jurassic Park Explorer), David's eclectic tastes lend well to his multiple automotive writing passions.
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