It all started with a loophole in Swedish law. A car tuned according to specific criteria could legally be registered as a tractor and driven by children as young as 15. In the 1960s, a group of enthusiastic teenagers in rural Sweden saw the opportunity and established a completely new, and extremely popular, EPA tractor culture. EPA is not an abbreviation for any technical gadgetry, but rather the name of a discount retail chain. Because the cars were generally repurposed using materials that were simply lying around, the tractors quickly took their name from the discounter. Roughly translated, EPA tractor means something like “cheap tractor”. Even today, more than 12,000 of these dramatically modified vehicles are driven on Swedish roads. It is a subculture that is often frowned upon, yet nonetheless characterises rural life. For their owners, EPA tractors open a door to a time of friendship, longing, huge loudspeakers, long summers and awkward kisses – all in their first cars, which carry them into adulthood at a top speed of 30 kilometres an hour.
*1992 in Skogsryd, Sweden
Benjamin Nørskov completed the Photography programme at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus. He works as a freelance photographer, both on his own long-term projects and for media throughout Europe. His current project, “EPA Sverige”, deals with car tuning. It has been exhibited all over Sweden; Nørskov himself presented it to the Swedish parliament.