Happy Street, Höljes RX: Couches, Campers & Crusty Old Cars

Motorsport fans in Europe are a different breed to those in the United States.

A couple of weeks before the Swedish round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, I had a lot of fun infiltrating the endless stretch of campsites at the Nürburgring 24 Hour. After this experience I had to come to terms with the fact that America has nothing like these venues, fans, or atmosphere. NASCAR might come closest, but I digress.

It’s just a different environment across the Atlantic, and people seem to care a great deal more about racing. I didn’t think I would see another spectacle like that until next year’s N24, but weeks later I found myself in Europe again and our friends at BILSTEIN told Ben and me that we needed to check out Happy Street at World RX Höljes.

Covering a much smaller area than the camps at the wide-stretching Nürburgring, the rallycross fans here in Sweden made up for it by cramming in significantly more chaos per square meter, which is really saying something.

Once again, my mind was blown.


The drive into the venue featured a surprising number of muscle cars out on the road, driving the opposite direction. There had to be some sort of Ford or Mustang-themed show going on, but I was impressed to see so many American classics cars driving around on a random Friday afternoon on the other side of the planet.

Upon arriving at the Höljes circuit and making our way to Happy Street, I learned that Scandinavians have a deep love for Americana.


Hundreds of old muscle cars were strewn across Happy Street. I know the gut reaction might be to cry out that most of these cars have been destroyed, but I’d wager they were in fact saved from fields and junkyards by the mostly young camp-goers who attended the race.


Wading through a dense sea of fans and survivors from the golden age of the American automobile, I found that the Nordic people might be more American than Americans.

Regardless of the condition of the cars, their owners definitely have an appreciation for them. It was really cool to see, especially because classic American car enthusiasts were the last thing I expected to find at a World RX event in Sweden.

As we entered the actual campsites it just got more intense.


It was actually hilarious to see a lifted Dodge out in the forest, but it got even better when a man suddenly peeked over from the bed wearing a soldier’s helmet.

The more time I spent taking it in, the more clear it became that these cars represent something more to the Swedes (and others) who drove in with the old beaters.


Like the original hot rods and hot rodders in the States — who were associated with greasy hands and hairdos, controversial music (also known as rock ‘n’ roll), and driving loud and fast — this generation of Scandinavians is embracing the rebellious lifestyle that comes with these cars.

Outside the campsites things were quite nice, neat, and orderly, so it makes sense than these American icons might be a symbol for going against the grain. Maybe I’m reaching, or maybe there’s a lot more to unpack here, but either way it’s just cool to see a bunch of banged-up and patina-covered American land yachts getting love in a remote forest in Sweden.

The European Contingency

Of course, this wouldn’t be Sweden without a giant mass of Volvos. But as with the American cars, I just didn’t expect their owners to be so crazy.


I mean really, really crazy…

It’s as if these cars in Sweden are the equivalent of a rusted-out Ford pickup in the States.


There was a load of cool stuff that I saw that we never got in the US, or at least there just aren’t many left. These campsites are a really weird microcosm of Swedish car culture, and I would’ve loved to have time to explore outside Höljes a bit.


But as far as bang for buck goes, I don’t think anywhere within 500 miles could have had such a dense population of interesting cars and interesting things going on — and that’s ignoring the actual race itself.

Speaking of bang for buck, this lad (the one in disbelief over Speedhunters’ 1.7M followers on Instagram) purchased his trailer for the weekend for 10 euros.


We walked a good two or three miles into the maze of campsites and saw a good bit of everything: custom camper paintwork, semi trucks (excuse me, lorries), dogs constructed of trash, and a quintuple-decker hamburger.

I told you the Swedes do America better than Americans.


But all good things must come to an end, and eventually we left the danger zone and ventured back to the track.

The Road Home

A day later we found ourselves on the three-hour drive from Höljes to the Oslo airport (which is actually 50 kilometers from Oslo, Norway). Of course, we got stuck behind a caravanner.


Only, we weren’t actually stuck behind him. In fact, Henrik Skjerve actually passed us in his 2.4L turbo diesel-swapped Volvo at one point. We were able to eventually flag him down thanks to the fact that (somehow) Sara follows him on Instagram and we sent him a DM on the road, to which he replied: “Just take rolling picktures? :)”


In the end he pulled over with us for a chat and another pair of travelers he was road-tripping with stopped as well. Henrik told us he picked up the wagon as a winter beater, but once he started having some drivetrain troubles he did the only sensible thing and transplanted a six-cylinder D24TIC into it. Little did I know, this is actually a pretty popular thing to do.

The Volvo is now just too useful to leave sitting around, and Höljes RX was the perfect occasion to take the wagon out for a drive and use its newfound towing capability.


The rest of our journey back to Norway was beautiful, but uneventful, and I finally had a chance to sit back and reflect on the insane racing I witnessed alongside the insane fans that showed up.


But I’ll never forget our chance encounter with Henrik rolling coal on a highway from Sweden into Norway, towing a camper he picked up for who knows how cheap.

Europe, what a place to be a fan of motorsports.

Trevor Yale Ryan
Instagram: tyrphoto



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Great! Swedish bogans!


Swedish VN Commodores. Such a beautiful thing.


You're mixing up the word "Contingency" with contingent.


Trust me, there is a high chance that most of the crusty American iron you found there, were pristine cars at some point just destroyed to suit the "raggare" culture. It's up to you if you want to look into it, but I don't think you'd find any real regard for the actual cars in there (I could be surprised). Maybe most of the cars you saw are "survivors" from the 70s to 90s raggare era, and nobody wouldn't be stupid enough to do that to a vintage car anymore (I hope). Anyway, that's a culture I have zero respect for and we have that here in Finland too, although on a smaller scale.


"that's a culture I have zero respect for" - Thanks, no one asked anyways...

Mikko Kukkonen

Stated my opinion anyways. Too bad it bothers you.


Meh, I don't know of anyone paying top dollar for a car just to destroy it to suit their culture. I'm not saying this never happens, but why spend $10,000 on a decent example when a banged-up car exists for a quarter of that and you plan on letting it rot away?

They do stand on the hoods and jump on the roofs, I'll give you that haha, but I doubt they would if the cars were in any sort of decent shape... they're just putting the beat in beater nd that's okay with me. They love the cars in their own way.

Mikko Kukkonen

"but I doubt they would if the cars were in any sort of decent shape..."

Believe what you will, but that's how it has been in a certain scene over here. Kicking in panels of straight bodied vintage cars, making a "lauluauto/lintta" (in Finland), or "pilsner bil" (in Sweden) out of them because drunken madness. I would think there's some redneck equivalent for this kind of stuff in America too?

The thing is, there's no such thing as a $2,500 50s-60s Impala, and hasn't been in a long time. Even $10,000 wouldn't get you much in that category. Maybe in America, but not here. I see a few of them in this article, and to me they look like straight cars that need to be taken care of, not to have somebody dance on the hood.

Your articles about motor sport fans are a good read, but I'm just pointing out my distaste for the side of "car culture" that centers around blatant destruction of cars. Misuse of them in my book, but maybe that's just me.


While I'm not actually in the "pilsnerbil" scene myself I do know that a good number of those cars in great shape other than visually. Keep in mind the cars have to pass inspection every two years (if they are older than 30 years. Recently a law made cars older than 50 years free of inspection once they passed one after its 50 year anniversary). Among the things they check are rust in key parts and also suspension, brakes and stuff like that has to be in working condition.

Some of the cars pictured in the article are famous for having been on the cruise since the 70s, and they look accordingly. You can't cruise a car for 40+ years without maintenance and repairs.

The cars are fairly expensive too. Easily over the equivalent of $10k.. If I were to spend that kind of cash on a car I'd make sure it runs and is actually legal to drive....


Trevor, good article. Glad to see you cover a different aspect of motorsports that is usually ignored. The article you did about the 24 Hours of Nurburing was great.

"After this experience I had to come to terms with the fact that America has nothing like these venues, fans, or atmosphere. NASCAR might come closest, but I digress."

You really need to check out the 12 Hours of Sebring and see what goes on in the Green Park. It will most certainly be a similar experience to the N24 and maybe even better in terms of race fan partying and hospitality. I would also recommend the 24 Hours of Daytona, but not as fun as Sebring though.


what kind of car is this?
a saab i assume... from the mudflaps


Saab 95, V4 estate


You should definitely go to Sebring 12 hrs!


Yes! The 12 Hours of Sebring is much more than a race.


Looks like the Swedes have a love of just old cars in general. A lot of the time in Australia we receive criticisms for restoring and spending money on American sedans and four doors, with people highlighting how a two door coupe or special edition is better than its sedan counterpart. The thing is like, we know a hardtop impala coupe' is better than a four door Bel Air. Like we do get that. But despite this we still have an appreciation for anything old! It doesn't matter if its a top of the line Impala rag top SS or wether its a bottom of the range Biscayne sedan. What we see is beauty of the era. Hell it could be a van or wagon or whatever. We totally understand that a ragtop Impala is the best model, but we also understand that the entry level cars are also gorgeous and worth enjoying. what a shame to send those cars to the scrap heap. Maybe one day Americans will appreciate the importance of its everyday type vehicles too. After all they do share pretty much 90 percent of the parts and the styling cues of the era are still just as wonderful and beautiful.

Michael Rinaldi

Not one, but two John Deere tats. Baller.


Seriously, he might be the most American guy I know haha

Speed Huntress

Why do some Norwegian vans and light trucks have green licence plates? I assume this is because their commercial vehicles?


How many Nascar, nhra, sports car, dirt track, power tour, dragweeks or indycar races have you covered?

Brian E. Spilner

The amount of trash strewn on the ground in these photos is depressing. I'm guessing most of it didn't get cleared up when the attendees left either.


Why do I have the feeling this place was left covered in trash after......?