Sveinbjörn Halldórsson

Via Tim, how can you not love the manly tale of a fellow whose name does not mean “hold the door, pig boy”

Sveinbjörn Halldórsson, a 44-year-old real-estate agent from Reykjavík, drives a Chevy S10 pickup with a souped-up engine, 44-inch tires with spikes, and four kinds of radios and phones on the dashboard. Filling up the truck’s 240-liter tank (about 63 gallons) for the weekend costs him nearly $500, with gas costing $7.84 a gallon. He rolls with one of many so-called gangs on Iceland’s highly competitive 4×4 off-road vehicle scene.
…Samúel “Wolf” Thór Gudjónsson, a lanky 21-year-old electrician with long blond rocker’s hair, joined with dozens of other jeep fans earlier this month to protest climbing fuel prices, blocking oil companies’ depots. Others drove their jeeps through the city’s streets at 5 miles an hour to demand cuts in fuel taxes.
Demonstrations are rare in stoical Iceland, a country of only 300,000 people. But the threat to jeep habits is just too much. Alfred “Spotti” Bergisson, a 26-year-old plumber who drives a beefed-up Toyota Land Cruiser, is willing to fight for his right to party. “I just want to go where I want to go,” he says. “I get energy in the mountains. I think there.”
Reykjavík’s 6,000-strong 4×4 Club has clout. It previously talked the government into letting its once-outlaw trucks pass inspections, despite supersized wheels with studs that rip up roads. Many of the trucks wouldn’t be street-legal elsewhere in Europe.

That’s 2% of the population; the equivalent of a group in the US with 6 million members. That’s some clout, folks.

And who says local craftsmanship is dead?

Many 4×4 enthusiasts wield their own blowtorches, rebuilding big American and Japanese 4-wheel-drive off-roaders to suit their taste. Local innovations include exhaust-fed balloons that can lift cars out of snowdrifts, and the “bumper dumper” — a flip-down toilet seat on trucks’ rear end for use in the wild.

A toast to you, my lads!

2 Responses to “Sveinbjörn Halldórsson”

  1. Skyler says:

    I used to live there from ’75 to ’76. I love that country. I went back for a brief visit in ’91, but it’s very, very expensive there.
    I don’t know where the people get all their money, there’s only so much fishing and sheep shearing one can do. But, that’s why I’m not an economist, clearly they have money.
    It’s a great place. 100% literacy. No one is overweight. They love swimming, chess, and reading. Not friendly to strangers, but when you get to meet them they are just as nice as any other people.
    As a teenager I loved that the women would sub bathe on the roofs at lunch time, topless.
    But my point to make today is that although the roads are much improved (most were unpaved when I lived there, especially the main road going around the island, it’s still a beautiful and rugged place. I saw lots of 4×4’s get stuck in the mud but not once did I see a VW bettle get stuck. Those were the vehicle of choice, skinny tires and all.

  2. Dave E. says:

    “Exhaust-fed balloons”? That sounds pretty ingenious. I was hoping that clip would show that. Oh well.
    I’m skeptical of the “bumper dumper” claim though. I think that one has been around in some form or another for a while now.

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