Treaty braked Norway’s car production / Columns / The Foreigner

Treaty braked Norway’s car production. TROLL: An Old Norse term for grotesque creatures often found lurking in caves or in many Norwegian gift shops. It is also a car. 1950s Norway saw something that some might consider as a bit of a legend. ‘Troll’ was made by the Troll Plastik and Bilindustri Company based in Lunde, a former municipality in southern Norway’s Telemark County. The first one was revealed to the Press in October 1956. But that model of the fibreglass-bodied sports car, which was produced up to 1958, was neither finished nor drivable. It would later become a prototype for testing. The very first customer received their car on May 1, 1957.

cars, trolls, gifts, transport, roads, production, funding, manufacture, wwii, v2, trade, paywall



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Treaty braked Norway’s car production

Published on Monday, 5th December, 2016 at 13:47 under the columns category, by Sarah Bostock and Michael Sandelson   .

TROLL: An Old Norse term for grotesque creatures often found lurking in caves or in many Norwegian gift shops. It is also a car.

The Troll car (1956 model)
The Troll car (1956 model)
Photo: Buch-t/Public Domain


1950s Norway saw something that some might consider as a bit of a legend. ‘Troll’ was made by the Troll Plastik and Bilindustri Company based in Lunde, a former municipality in southern Norway’s Telemark County. The first one was revealed to the Press in October 1956.

But that model of the fibreglass-bodied sports car, which was produced up to 1958, was neither finished nor drivable. It would later become a prototype for testing. The very first customer received their car on May 1, 1957.

The small vehicle was built as a 2+2 sports car with a glass-reinforced plastic (fiberglass) body. Fiberglass emerged in the late 1950’s, and producers identified the benefits of using the material.

Some of them are that it would not rust and was 130kg lighter than the equivalent metal car. Moreover, it was a great advantage for any business, as it was significantly cheaper to produce.

With the plan of starting mass-producing the cars outside of the US, the ‘Troll’ would have been amongst the first cars in Europe to be built in plastic – with the exception of the East German Trabant, also a 2-cylinder, 2-stroke car.

The man behind the car was Norwegian Per Kohl-Larsen (born 1914), who was trained as an agricultural scientist (agronomist). He returned to post-Second World War Norway in 1950 after having lived abroad for 14 years, meeting with Erling Fjugstad and Bruno Falch – a German engineer who helped construct bombers and the V-2 rocket during the Second World War.

While rationing and purchase restrictions were in place on many goods such as cars, Per Kohl-Larsen hoped to produce cars in Norway that could be sold on the Norwegian market without the need to buy permission for this.

But he struggled to get a permit from the government to sell the ‘Troll’. This was due to a treaty that Norway had with the then Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Norway would buy cars from them in return for exporting and selling fish produce – do not feed the troll, so to speak.

Amongst fears of disrupting trading, the Norwegian government only allowed Kohl-Larsen to sell 15 cars in Norway. He then started on plans to export cars to Germany and Denmark. There were also requests from countries such as Finland and Belgium. His intention was to build 2,000 cars per year.

The company was never able to obtain the investment needed to start large-scale manufacture, however. There was little support from the government, and it seemed as though all potential investors pulled out of negotiations.

Production declined to just one car per day. Bankruptcy ensued in 1958 and Norway’s own manufacture of cars came to a halt. Just five of 15 complete cars were sent were out into the world.

(Sources: trollbilen.no, ebooklibrary.org, Wikipedia)



Published on Monday, 5th December, 2016 at 13:47 under the columns category, by Sarah Bostock and Michael Sandelson   .

This post has the following tags: cars, trolls, gifts, transport, roads, production, funding, manufacture, wwii, v2, trade, paywall.





  
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