Car: Sommer Joker, 1970

The car world went beach buggy crazy in the late 1960s, inspired by California’s surf culture. A “different” contribution from cold, remote Denmark might have been expected, and the Joker didn’t disappoint.

1970 Sommer Joker
Denmark’s response to the buggy craze seemed to be made from a shed, rather than built in one, but was practical and robust.

It came from the fertile mind of Danish car distributor Olé Sommer, who intended to offer a none-too-serious car that could be practical in the wild. His Joker rode on a stout box-section separate chassis on which an external framework of hot-dip galvanized steel pipes acted as the body frame. Between their gaps, on the inside, were attached totally flat fiberglass panels, giving the van-like Joker the appearance of a mobile farm building. “Doors” were canvas sidescreens, and the exhaust pipe transversed the car under the running board before exiting on the opposite side.

1970 model of the car Sommer Joker
1970 car Sommer Joker

The mechanical parts were all Volvo, and being lightweight the Joker was said to have excellent acceleration. Seven examples were sold. Olé Sommer had been apprenticed at Jaguar before unexpectedly inheriting his late father’s garage at just 21. He turned it into a large business, selling imported cars from Volvo and a variety of British marques.

“Denmark is too small to support car manufacturing. Sweden has been just big enough to do it themselves, but Denmark? Only if the idea is sufficiently extreme.”

Olé Sommer

Specification: Model of the car Sommer Joker

PLACE OF ORIGIN: Copenhagen, Denmark
HISTORICAL STATUS: production car
ENGINE: four-cylinder, 121ci (1,986cc)
LAYOUT: front-mounted engine driving the rear wheels
BODYWORK: door-less, four-seater station wagon
TOP SPEED: unknown