The Vintage Truck Association

The Vintage Truck Association of Finland (VTAF) is a national association established for preservation of historic commercial vehicles and all related information. The Association is one of the 27 independent member associations which together form Suomen Automobiili-Historiallinen Klubi r.y. (SA-HK) -The Veteran Car Club of Finland.

 

In co-operation with the authorities SA-HK has been able to achieve many of the benefits which help the whole hobby today. Among these are obtaining a special status for the historic vehicle with special registration plates, less strin-gent requirements in connection with the vehicle inspection practise and abolishing the annual vehicle tax. The total membership of SA-HK is more than 6100. The activities of the VTAF truck enthusiasts began in 1986 and the Association was formally established on June 14.1987. The membership as at September 2012 was more than 740.


The activities of the Association include meetings and organizing rallies in various parts of Finland. The experts of the Association advise members in restauration questions. The Association also publishes printed information and video films. Among its members VTAF has four certified inspectors (the official inspection is required to obtain the status of a historic vehicle) specializing in commercial vehicles.

 

Rallies

The rallies organized by the Association have included trips like Rovaniemi - Lappeenranta (800 km) in 1989, "The Arctic Rally" from Rovaniemi to Petsamo (500 km) in 1990. To celebrate the first centennial of the truck in 1996 VTAF arranged a rally along the old roads from Helsinki to Turku with the venerable Cadillac (converted truck) of 1917 vintage being the oldest participant of the 70 historic trucks.

 

Membership

The membership is open to all who share the interest in old trucks and the development of road transport. You do not need to own a historic vehicle to become a member. The membership fee for individuals for 2013 is 40,00€ and for supporting members 85€. There is a discount in the historic vehicle inspection fee for members.
All SAHK members get a subscription of the magazine "AUTOMOBIILI" which is published six times a year.

 

Historic vehicles

According to current regulations a vehicle becomes eligible for the status of a historic vehicle after it is 30 years old. The vehicle needs to be well restaured or kept in original condition in order to get a certificate from the inspectors. For such vehicles it is possible to get a special insurance at lower rates and they are not liable for diesel vehicle tax or the annual road tax. The vehicle in this category can be used only for 30 days within a year.

 

"Magnet Hill"

On the initiative of the Association a part of the famous Petsamo road in Lapland was given an official status of a road museum site. In September 1993 VTAF erected a statue there in the respect of those veterans who operated the trafic on this hazardous road to the Arctic Ocean in 1940 - 41. The project was completed in co-operation with the corresponding Swedish organisation (Svenska Åkeriförbundets veteranbilssektion) and the Finnish Trucking Association.

 

A (very) brief history of Finnish trucking

During the course of the first hundred years of automobile Finland has experienced many different phases which have largely affected the cars and trucks used in the country. Being a small country Finland has imported most of its vehicles and the selection of makes of cars and trucks on our roads has been wider than in most other countries.

 

Up to the Second World War the majority of the trucks in Finland were of American origin. Transport equipment is naturally very vulnerable in the time of war and most trucks which managed to survive were used to the end and scrapped during the post-war years. Import restrictions and the regulation of foreign currencies favoured vehicles from the Soviet Union and other East-bloc countries until 1957 when the trucks could be imported without import license.

 

The Finnish truck industry started in 1932 when the first Sisu trucks were manufactured. The company still exists and is concentrating - as always - in heavy trucks. A separate branch produces military vehicles. Recently the Finnish State sold its ownership and Sisu is now controlled by a joint-venture with the French Renault.

 

Another Finnish truck manufacturer was Vanaja. The production started in 1948 and the name was dropped in 1969 when the company merged with Sisu.