Why selling?The announceDocumentationLicence plates conundrumInsuranceLet's do itUnexpected issuesMore administrative issuesSummer 20212023 updateThis is the final episode of this adventure: The vehicle has been sold and is now living happily in France.
Let's rewind and explain all that!
Why selling?Working on new projects is exciting, fixing stuff and progressively see things improving is awesome.
We really liked the vehicle, driving it around, people loved it.
The problem was that it kept falling appart!
Because it was so tall, we could not find a garage to keep it inside, and the direct consequence is that being exposed to the elements it was literraly rusting away.
In addition to that, a number of repairs we did (in professional shops) ended up done incorrectly, so some of the work done had to be redone.
That stuff is not funny and it gets old quite fast.
So we took the decision to sell it1.
The announceIn august 2019, we published an announced on finn.no2
I posted the link to the announce on Facebook, just so my friends and familly would be informed of the decision, but what I was not expecting was to receive a direct message from P3, a former colleague from Lyon4 asking me if I thought the vehicle could possibly be road legal in France!
I had already received a couple of message from interested people in Norway: We could have validated the sale in basically the equivalent of a couple clicks on some digital applications and documents, the Norwegian registration system and banking system would have handled all that for us.
We gave a shot instead at this "let's sell it to a friend in France" idea... and that was the start of a very long and exhausting journey for both P and us.
DocumentationThere were many issues to solve, but the biggest one was related to the origins of the vehicle and how that impacted its classification:
- This was originally a military vehicle, with military licence plates, used in the context of NATO5 armed forces, but it was legally sold on auctions to become a civilian vehicle.
- It's technically a VOLVO vehicle, but it was assembled in Norway, in a weapon factory6, from a mix of VOLVO and NATO parts.
- It's street legal as a proper car in Norway, without any restrictions7.
- The car is old enough that it does not require seat belts on the back, and is allowed to drive with non standard rear lights and blinkers.
- This has been validated on the "EU Kontrol" every couple of years.
On our side, all we should have had to do was to get an official document at the customs to allow the vehicle to leave the Norwegian territory.
So that's all nice and dandy, but that's only for Norway... which is not part of the European Union, which means this sale is actually an "export", and the way the paperwork is done makes all the difference in term of cost and usability.
The possible issues are:
- Import/Export taxes
- VAT on import
- Vehicle classification (car vs van/truck)
- Allowed usage (free use or limited to week ends and special occasions)
- Use of a normal licence plate or special one
In addition, since Norwegian is not the most spoken language in the universe, every single bit of documentation, paper work, or official web page had to be translated before it could be used in France.
We sold the vehicle for 40000 kr (about 4000 euros), but from the French point of view this was a TTC sale (taxes included), so for all the export computations P had to remove the 25% Norwegian VAT value, then check with the French administration the various taxes to apply from this raw value.
Licence plates conundrumA problem on our side was the licence plates: In Norway when a vehicle is sold or decommissioned, the licence plates must be sent back to the road authorities to be done with all the mandatory obligations a car owner has (like the car insurance).
So here is what the Norwegian administration (which we contacted) suggested:
"The buy can "pre-register" it in france, get temporary plates from france and registration that they bring to norway, then we go to biltilsynet and de-register the car from us, fill out a paper saying that the car has been sold (some specific forum to fill), handing in norwegian plates and cancel norwegian insurance, and then they put the french plates on and take it with them to register it properly when they arrive in france."
Except we are talking France, where nothing is ever simple. In order to be able to get the temporary plates...
- the sale must have happened and a certificate provided by the seller (easy)
- a tax clearance must have been provided
- as well as a Certificate of Conformity, EUR1 or equivalent
The problem was the two other documents where we quickly ended up with the conclusion that in order to get the temporary plates the vehicle would had to be in France already...
Ultimately, we decided to take the chance to let P drive to France with our Norwegian plates, and then have him send them back to Oslo by tracked parcel.
It's not something we really liked, because it meant that we were technically responsible of what would happen to the vehicle, and there was a chance we would never get the plates back, but considering how deep in the hole we were, that looked like the only sane option.
InsuranceDriving to France with our licence plates was one thing, using our insurance was another: P needed to be insured in his name.
In order for P to be able to get a temporary insurance for the trip for Oslo to France he had to provide a massive amount of additional information, which meant I had to dig under the car to take photos of the VIN8 and engine serial number, provide detailed specs of the vehicle, how it was classified in Norway, provide recent and dated 3/4 front and back photos, the exact model number, bla bla bla...
Ultimately, in order to find some of this information I had to ask to the Norwegian Volvo Valp owner group.
Let's do itWe finally found someone in Norway specialized in the export and import of vehicle, and we came up with a plan:
- P would take a plane to Oslo
- we drive together to the specialist (who is located just a dozen kilometers from the Swedish border)
- from there we fill-in some documentation at the customs office
- P drives me to the local train or bus station and he continue his journey to France alone using a temporary travel insurance for the trip
- when the car is in France he finalizes the documentation and gets his temporary licence plates and send us back ours
Seems simple enough!
So we asked the specialist...
Sendt: søndag 8. september 2019 11.05
Emne: Searching for a transit agent/custom declarant
- individual Exporting old car to France
- Need : (EUR1, EUA and T1)
Dear Madam, dear Sir,
I'm an individual (French citizen). I'm actually purchasing a car (laplander/valp
- Year 10/01/65 - Camper Van) to a former collegue living in Norway for a couple
The final location for the car is France.
The owner, his grilfriend, is a Norvegian citizen, based nearby Oslo.
The car papers are ok (VognKort, Kontrollseddle valid till 31/05/2021)
We've gone throuht collecting the proper informations and papers to export the car,
according to global rules. (EUR1, EUA and T1)
We actually, have a custom declarant french side.
We're searching for the proper contact, for a transit agent/custom declarant to
establish the papers norvegian side (EUR1, EUA and T1).
Could you let me know if you're able to work on such paper process and indicate
the necessary documents to complete the administrative part (including your fare) ?
Thanks a lot in advance for your informations,
This is something i can assist on.
Have done many car shipments from Norway to France.
Are you thinking about driving it, or taking it on a haulier?
For me to do this, I need all document that belongs to the vehicle, also I need
new buyer contract with new buyer and custom clearance agent in France and last
what boarder that will be crossed.
Looking forward to hear from you.
Med vennlig hilsen / Best regards
Except that took quite some time: The first email was on the8th of September, and as you can see, P's plane ticket to Oslo is on the 24th!
In the mean time, I started to prepare the trip back to France by updating the GPS with the latest maps
Yuck, 2102 kilometers, on all-terrain tires, with a maximum speed of 96 km/h, that's going to be exhausting!
Someone mentionned that having a visible "N" sign on the vehicle would probably be a good idea since the car has a non standard licence plate, so I did an emergency trip to the shop before P's plane landed.
Unexpected issuesIn order to make sure P was comfortable with the car, we decided he would be the one driving from Oslo to the specialist office, this way he could ask question, and I could offer suggestions.
We reached Sarpsborg (where J was located) without any problem, but unfortunately he had not been able to solve one of the papers, and he told us it could probably be fixed at the customs at the Swedish border.
Armed with whatever documentation we had managed to get, we continued to the border, and waited about 45 minutes at the customs to finally be told one document was missing and that we could not get the EUR1 document without it.
They suggested we drove to the Norwegian Road Administration office a few kilometers from there.
So we did that, waited another 45 minutes, to finally be told that they had never to process a Volvo Feltvogn before, and had no idea which document would apply.
We waited 15 more minutes while the employee of the road administration called some colleagues in Oslo, but ultimately they could not do anything.
We drove back to Sarpsborg to explain the situation to J, who said he was confused and could not do anything, but that ultimately that was only for the VAT exemption and would not impact the actual export of the vehicle and could probably be handled later to get a refund.
So P drove me to the bus station (because as it happened the train line was cancelled due to electric problems on the signaling equipment) where I took a bus to Oslo while P drove back to the Swedish border and then proceeded toward France.
After a very long trip, the car finally arrived in France without too much issues, other than a tendency to have the engine die in roundabouts, possibly due to some idle timings changes caused by the vibrations.
Other than that, the car managed to drive 2000 km on its own power, and without requiring any assistance \o/
More administrative issuesBecause we could not get the EUR1 document, P had to pay 1300 euros at the customs, where he was told the money could be gotten back if he managed to prove the origin of the vehicle.
At this point we had to put Indiana Jones's hat and start doing some archeological digging.
First, I provided an history of what the Volvo L3314N was9.
Production of the Volvo L3314N field car, a forgotten car production in Norway.
Origin: At the end of the 1950s, things were going badly for Volvo, which had to
invent something new. N M Hartelius, an engineer in the military department of
Volvo, developed a model of an all-terrain vehicle made of plywood.
The model was shown to the Swedish armed forces. At this point they were looking
for such a jeep.
Construction of a test series called L-2304 (series 0) has been started. This wagon
was fitted with a Volvo B16 engine, an M41 gearbox, some Salisbury shafts, a Willys
Jeep distribution box manufactured by ZF and intermediate shafts from Hardy Spicer.
The L-2304 was tested by the Swedish Armed Forces as well as other manufacturers and
models on the market, but there was no other real competitor.
The wagon we know best in Norway, the L-3314, was developed later. The engine for this
edition was the Volvo B18, M41 gearbox at the rear and reinforced Salisbury England
shafts with differential brake, Jeep jig distribution gearbox, but upgraded and
improved by Volvo.
Production in Norway:
For a decade from 1962, the Norwegian armed forces had to replace their military
vehicles, which then consisted of Willys and Ford Jeeps. At this time, Volvo in
Gothenburg was producing a selection of military vehicles tailored to the needs of
the armed forces, and several vehicles were under development. During this period,
the general objective of the Norwegian authorities was that Norwegian industry should
produce as many military vehicles and parts thereof as possible, but within the
limits of the economic and technical possibilities available to it. The Kongsberg
arms factory (KV) and the Raufoss munitions factory (RA) had good bases to promote
the sale of Volvo field wagons to the armed forces, due to the fact that they were
As a result of the need for new field wagons for the armed forces and the general
goal of the authorities, in 1962 the Kongsberg Arms Works (KV) concluded a cooperation
agreement with Volvo. The agreement gave KV the right to decide to what extent KV and
other industries should participate in assembly, parts manufacturing and spare parts
production. At that time, RA had administrative experience in moped production and was
therefore chosen by the KV administration to assemble the wagon. This also suited
Volvo well since RA used the same setups, tools and production times used by Volvo
at that time.
The "Norwegian" Volvo construction trailer is named L-3314N and consists of around
4,000 individual parts that had to be surface processed and mounted together on
the RA. Around 1000 parts were purchased from various Norwegian suppliers. It was
among other things. tarpaulin, decor, batteries and tires. The Norwegian edition was
different from the Swedish civilian edition; Armored 24 volt electrical system, other
instruments, folding windshield and other type of tarpaulin.
After various prototype tests of the Volvo sport utility vehicle, the Army Supply
Command (HFC) signed a contract for the purchase of this sport utility vehicle
from KV (2,000 pieces). Among other things, HFK had to carry out vehicle tests in
extreme conditions on the outskirts of Finmark for a while. When signing the contract,
HFK asked KV to make certain modifications to the model previously delivered by Volvo.
Among other things, the electrical system, incorrect impact on the front wheel, rapid
wear of the camshaft, weak bearings in the gearbox and various other minor defects.
Generally speaking, Volvo assumed the cost of replacing department trucks and making
changes to production. Once these "childhood illnesses" were overcome, it was found
that the quality was very good and users from different departments were very
satisfied with the transport characteristics.
RA produced the Volvo L-3314N SUV from 1962 to 1968. From the factory, 2273 trucks
were mounted on the RA. Initially, 175 wagons were ordered by Volvo in Gothenburg
due to delivery times to the armed forces. Of this number, 2440 were delivered to
HFC and 8 to other customers...
In addition to this historical snippet, we had to provide a complete list of all the parts that had been replaced and ideally with the bills for these, the number of kilometers driven since we bought the vehicle, and any information regarding the previous owners of the vehicle10.
In the mean time, P started to look seriously at the vehicle before presenting it for the technical control visit:
- Wheels (including breaks and springs)
- Gear box
- Frame and body (for rust)
In the process he found a number of issues, which made us quite angry because we had paid quite a premium to get some of that stuff fixed.
In particular he found that some of the gaskets on the gearbox were incorrect (we had the entire clutch and gearbox rebuilt not even a year earlier), some screws were missing on the "steering damper" (which had also been installed by a professional), a broken wheel bearing on the front (we had the four wheels refitted with brand new BF/Goodrich tires the previous year).
Of course all that was happening in the middle of the COVID pandemic, so P had to deal with quite a lot of problems in France, which made working on the vehicle difficult, delaying the end of the whole process.
But finally in February 2020, P managed to get a temporay licence plate for the car!
A few days later he got his new the licence plates and was able to send our back to Norway.
Having the car now able to drive legaly on the roads made it much easier to work on it, go to specialists, etc... but that took quite a while to get it fixed, a lot of sweat and tears as well.
Summer 2021Here are a few photos of the Volvo with its French plates taken in August 2021, the colors are different because he basically had to strip the original paint to bare metal in order to address the rust issue.
P also changed the layout inside, definitely for the better from a space and weight distribution point of view.
Our original layout had the fridge and the batteries on the left side, but he decided instead to install the fridge on top of the engine, with the batteries spread on each side on the top of the wheel passages, giving a perfect 50/50 weight balance.
He unfortunately also had to rip out the flexible solar panels so he could treat the roof properly to make sure there were no possible leaks, and instead he installed some more traditional flat solar panels.
And to finish, here are a few more photos of the beast "in the wild"!
2023 updateSince it had been two years since the last time I contacted P, I poked him to validate that this article did not contain any blatant mistake, and in the process I got a few updates!
The vehicle is still doing fine, and it has been doing quite a few kilometers: P used it to visit a few places in France (Cévennes, Ardeche) as well as a trip in Corsica last summer.
Since the last update, he had redone the entire gear box and transfer box, and found out that the air filter we had installed (it was a recommendation!) was actually causing the engine to not breathe properly, so he reinstalled back the original metal "oil bath" filter which apparently made the engine feel like new!
He also added some roof storage and an access ladder on the back.
The Volvo was already quite tall, so better be carefull now!
He still has a few improvements to do, the biggest one being the replacement of the rear brake drums... but he is also thinking in repainting the entire car in "Raptor"11 style.
His last comment matches our own experience:
It's an incredible socialization tool, you can't drive one meter without someone
asking you about it or doing waving around when you pass.
It's cool (overall!!)
And there you have it, the Corsicans really liked it and the Ardèche people are
on the moon about it!
Ultimately, knowing that the Volvo has been well taken care of feels good, these vehicle are quite rare, they are fragile, but when they work they are quite awesome and funy to use.
Good bye old friend!
1. We took quite a big loss financially (the last big repair bill was actually bigger than what we sold it for)↩
2. The Norwegian equivalent of "Craig's List" or "Le Bon Coin"↩
3. "The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent."↩
4. The second largest city in France where I worked from 1995 to 2005 before moving to Norway↩
7. In Norway it's not uncommon to see vehicle with green plates, these are for utility vehicles and cannot have rear seats for passengers, but they cost less annually↩
8. Vehicle Identification Number, generally stamped on the frame. We had to explain that yes the 4 digits identification number was valid, that back in 1965 the 17 digits VIN was not yet a thing.↩
9. Originally from a webpage in Norwegian that does not seem to exist anymore which I had translated in French, and then retranslated to English for this article, so accept my excuses for the wonkyness!↩
10. It was bought for kr 35000 in October 2009 by the owner of a company specialized in hunting equipment.↩
11. A type of military/jungle green with black accents↩