SAABS@Carlisle has come and gone for 2013 and it appears to have been a great success once again. I would really love to attend this event at some point in my life as it really seems to be a place where the community of SAAB comes together to enjoy a weekend together. Whenever this event takes place I am blown away with the stories of enthusiasts helping and sharing with one another. It often looks like a workshop with people showing their cars and working on others. I am reminded of how the first year Jim McGuire went to Carlisle and met Julie Gardner and the amazing story of service like never before.
Not being there myself, I asked my friend Jim McGuire to write about the event and tell the story so I could visualize actually being there with the help of some photos. Jim took it a step further and printed one of my Facebook photos and brought me along. If you know Jim at all, you will know that one thing he is not short on is humor. Here is his take on Carlisle 2013.
Despite the not so great weather for most of the weekend, SAABS@Carlisle was another great effort by the SAAB community. As always the official event “Imports at Carlisle” was overrun by cars that sport the SAAB name. My “flight” got me to Carlisle around 4:30pm Friday afternoon and to a show field bustling with many cars.
Once the post flight check was complete I turned off the engine and got out of my SportCombi to see Julie Gardner at the registration tent. Right away I braced myself for the traditional hugs and smiles that she openly gives. I also was happy to see her and her mate Jerry. Jerry along with Julie have become very great friends of mine and are just really good people. Once the “catching up” was done I proceeded to make my way around to see what was happening.
Since I had arrived alone and this being only my third year I was expecting to keep it somewhat low key. This thought quickly went away as I walked around. I kept running into people I knew and we shared simple conversations and story after story. I think one of the great things is that not only did the stories revolve around SAAB, but oftentimes it’s about work, trips overseas, kids, raising chickens (you know who you are), favorite beers we have found, all sorts of topics.
Dinner is always fun with cooking your own stuff on the grill. By special request this year I had made a Vegetable Lasagna to share with all who dared. Myself, Julie and Jerry sat enjoyed the feast while my newer friends Jeff and his better half Brittany enjoyed some as a side dish to their wonderful looking steaks fresh off the grill. Jeff is the proud owner of a rather unique car, a 1986 9000Turbo covered in a lovely Edwardian Grey. The story of this car was that it was originally purchased by a rather well known “rocket scientist” with some documents to back it up. This will be a story for another article I imagine.
One of my better Saab friends, Ross Bagwell and I spent a good bit of time talking over his 2004 9-5 Arc. This is a beast which has a 2.3T mill running Maptun stage 4. It has several big modifications such as a ETS intercooler, Genuine Saab Cobra, JT 3″ exhaust and other engine goodies too numerous to list. To better handle the grip on the road it also has several suspension mods such Powerflex bushings, SAS sway bars, MOOG tie rods and sway links He’s owned it since 2006 and it only had 15k miles when he bought it. I can certainly say based on what has been done and what will be done to this car, it will be a Grim Reaper to many unsuspecting threats on the street!
I was missing some of my other Saab friends who were at other important events such as the twins having a soccer game, settling into a new area or a relative’s birthday celebration. I’ll see you guys next year!
As Friday evening settled in we all scattered into our little groups and said goodbye to the first day of the show. From the turnout of Friday, I could tell this was going to be a great show!
Saturday I woke up and crawled out from my little tent to see people already washing cars and getting ready for the show. The weather was forecasted to be sunny and clear but a low base of cloud cover kept us in the shade most of the day.
My earlier thoughts of Saturday going to be a great day were right, it was. There was no shortage of nice cars to be seen as the show grounds got filled. I pulled the Combi into its “spot” on the parking ramp and was flanked with a clean TurboX SportCombi and a Smoke Beige 9-3 Aero. Across from me were 9-5’s for as far as the eye could see, far more than I remember seeing in the past. I’m not saying there were not plenty of 9-3’s, there were just as many! The 9-7x and 9-4x showing was a small scene but still a very proud showing. Viggens, yeah, plenty of those along with a nice scattering of 9000’s
Another highlight of the show was the appearance of Saab Parts North America. SPNA had a nice display booth and in my opinion gave a good showing to let us all know they are here for the long run. Mr. Tim Colbeck and I got to shake hands once again as he remembered me from many other occasions where we’ve met. I believe SPNA is in VERY good hands with Mr. Colbeck at the controls and I’m always thrilled to see him out in the community with us.
People often ask “Which Saab would you want to take home the most?” Damn, that’s a hard question because they all have certain style that makes each one unique. Personally, I like the one I have, my 2006 SC Aero but if I had to choose, it would be Bill and Joanne Clarks 2006 Anniversary Convertible Aero in Electric Blue (#236).
Those who know me well know how close I was to buying a 1990 900 that was being offered there. Oh it was tempting and I had taken money out to do so, but in the end, I know I don’t need yet another toy car. I need a daily driver and this one would not fit the bill as needed but boy it was nice and it ran like a charm. Thanks to the seller for the test drive and the time spent discussing the car!
The vehicle awards were handed out just before dinner time. Some of the classes were pretty easy to predict such as the Sonett and the 9-7x/9-4x which only had a few examples of each. All total we had 251 cars in attendance, not quite the 300 we all had hoped for but not a bad showing. There is always next year! Central Penn Saab Club put on an extreme effort for the show and as always deserves kudos for a job well done! Special thanks as well go out to all of the sponsors of the show. Without your support we could not enjoy a world class event!
Congrats to all who placed in their classes, job well done! However everyone should walk away with the satisfaction of being part of a great community, which to me, is the best prize of all.