What would happen if Volvo built an SUV in the 1980s?

The original Volvo 240 is one of the company’s most legendary products, thanks primarily to its robust construction that shrugs off abuse with aplomb. But what if the Swedish automaker took things a step further and applied its boxy design to a body-on-frame SUV? The Sketch Monkey apparently had the same thought, and his imaginative result is actually rather handsome.

This isn’t the first time that YouTube’s favorite rendering artist has turned his attention to the Volvo 240, but that first effort was aimed at modernizing the brick-shaped four-door to fit in with the company’s current products. This 240 SUV, however, is decidedly old-school, looking more like a square-body Chevrolet Suburban than anything in Volvo’s lineup today.

Gallery: Volvo 240 SUV Rendering

Instead of merely jacking up the suspension and upsizing the wheels, the Sketch Monkey took a more holistic approach to restyling the Volvo 240. The body sides are clearly higher, and they continue to incorporate chunky rubber moldings, guarding the paint against door dings (or trail rash). Oddly, the rendering starts out life as a sedan instead of a wagon, possibly to take advantage of a shorter rear overhang. Indeed, the SUV’s roof isn’t nearly as long as the wagon’s, and the hatch is canted forward ever so slightly – no Turbobrick, this.

Strong Volvo cues persist into the SUV design, including very broad shoulders that separate the greenhouse from the rest of the vehicle. Black safety bumpers, rocker panel trim, and mud flaps look oh-so-Scandinavian, as though the 240 SUV is ready to tackle the streets of Gothenburg or the Lapland wilderness in equal measure. It rides on polished steel wheels, foregoing wheel covers for a rugged, tough look.

Like other thought experiments – Abimelec Design’s 1959 and 1977 Cadillac Escalades jump to mind – the Sketch Monkey Volvo 240 SUV is destined to remain a digital drawing and little else. That’s a shame. Maybe some enterprising custom coachbuilder can use it as inspiration, though.

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