Saunaliner – the first truck in the world with a built-in sauna


Saunaliner – the first truck in the world with a built-in sauna!

Wherever Erik Lundman's Mercedes-Benz Actros rolling tipper truck goes, it is sure to attract a lot of attention. The truck has been decorated throughout with motifs from the Swedish TV series and the film "Pistvakt" ("Piste watch"), it (sometimes) has a fully functioning sauna on the load area, and it has a cab that is decorated like a Scandinavian sauna, right down to the very last detail.

"I'd wanted to build something very special for a long time, and compete in contests at different truck exhibitions. In 2013 I met Mika Auvinen, who became my best friend in the truck world. He won the Nordic Trophy with his 'Highway Hero' truck. We meet in truck circles and at trade fairs, and we always talk shop about saunas. When I was at the Trailer Trucking Festival in Mantorp recently, I had an idea for a building project: the Sauna Liner – Pistvakt Edition," says Erik Lundman, who owns the freight company Lundmans Djurtransporter AB in Piteå.

The paintwork was done by Pertu Papunen at PP Art Design in Helsinki. There is no overlooking the fact that "Pistvakt" is the theme. On the one side there's a picture of Stor-Erik (Sten Ljunggren), and on the other you can see the three brothers Sven-E (Lennart Jähkel), Jan-E (Jacob Nordenson) and Olle (Tomas Norström).

The snowmobile from the film is also there: an Ockelbo 300 built in 1975, of which Erik Lundman now owns the original. Of course the legendary animal Bjärven, a cross between a bear and a fox, is there too.

"I'm a great fan of 'Pistvakt'. I've seen the movie countless times, and I still have to laugh at it. 'Pistvakt' is just so northern Sweden, that's why I feel so close to the movie. Wherever I go, I carry Piteå and northern Sweden in my heart. And I always get a huge hello when I drive my truck."

The truck has a rust-free finish and special lighting that comes from Hio-Mex in Helsinki. The fully functioning sauna, which can be lifted onto the load area, was created by the Bastustugan i Boden AB company. It's fitted with three benches, just like the Bodega hut in the film "Pistvakt". The special frame of the loading area under the sauna was manufactured by CEKÅ Lastfordon in Storkågeträsk.

"The only thing we haven't got in Piteå is a Mercedes-Benz workshop. So it takes us a lot of time to drive to Luleå for servicing. That said, I don't have to do that very often. And nothing ever breaks."

In addition, Hio-Mex has kitted the cab out perfectly in sauna style. All the leather details were made by the saddler Lasse Väntinen in Helsinki. In the driver's cab there is a luxury armchair made of old, dark-brown leather, a sauna bench of Finnish wood, and behind the driver's seat there is a fake sauna stove.

"Under the bench there's a woodpile. But the logs are only decorative, and are glued in place, and behind them there's a microwave hidden. The walls are made of artificial leather with a tree-trunk look, and the interior ceiling is completely black so it looks as if it's covered in soot. The curtains are printed with forest motifs and the mirror is decorated with a photo of the jetty near my holiday cottage."

After a building time of one year, the truck was driven directly from Helsinki to Stockholm, to the Stockholm Truck Meet. There, the actor Tomas Norström inaugurated the gem of a truck at the Mercedes-Benz stand.

"When I saw the truck, my eyes just filled up. The presentation took almost half an hour. Then my youngest son came up to me and said: "Now we've got a surprise for you, Dad!" In the doorway of the sauna, there stood my eldest son Fredrik with Mika Auvinen, both in swimwear and soaking wet. Actually, Mika had said he didn't have time to come to the inauguration. We must have hugged each other for a good five minutes. Recently, I had a few health issues. It meant a lot to me that Mika turned up. I hadn't felt so happy for a long time."

Erik Lundman dreams of winning the Nordic Trophy with his Saunaliner before he retires in two years' time. Before the autumn, he wants to exhibit the truck at a number of shows – including putting it on the Mercedes-Benz stand at Elmia for three days. It will take a while for it to be used in the business.

"There are lots of fantastic exhibition vehicles. But you have to have a goal to look ahead to. I also have an excellent relationship with Mercedes-Benz. Working with them runs so smoothly. In the almost 40 years that I've been in the business, I've never had such fantastic vehicles as I have now. I have only good things to say about the brand, and my drivers are delighted about the trucks that are such a pleasure to drive."

This year, he bought four new Mercedes trucks – two Actros 510 with Big Space cabs, an Arocs 510 with a smaller cab, and an Actros 420, equally with the smaller cab. What he thinks is good is the fact that the maintenance intervals for the trucks are so long: up to 150,000 km.

"The only thing we haven't got in Piteå is a Mercedes-Benz workshop. So it takes us a lot of time to drive to Luleå for servicing. That said, I don't have to do that very often. And nothing ever breaks."