Just a quick update on my travels here in Boston.
First thing – I absolutely love this town. After doing the morning updates here on the site, I took a quick driving tour with Pierre from Charles River Saab and I’m now really hoping to get a good look around on foot on Monday. I don’t know what it is about this city, but it has a very nice way of making a stranger feel at home. It’s classy without being big and brassy. My kind of place.
And there’s Saabs by the bucketload here, too. People had told me that before but it’s amazing once you get here. It’s a bit like driving around in Stockholm, actually, in terms of Saaby presence.
Here’s one example – four Saabs in the one photo….(click)
The 900 on the far left is actually Pierre’s and it’s superb! Goes like a train, but faster.
We stopped in town and met up for lunch with Dan De Vlieger from State of Nine. Dan has a warehouse out of town but actually runs the site from an office downtown. The building is an old stately home that’s been turned into office space and it’d be a very cool place to work – big entry rooms and common spaces before it peels off into a rabbit warren of corridors and stairways leading to the various offices. There is some magnificent timber panelling and leadlight windows in the main areas of the old home and you can only imagine the social engagements that must have been held there a century ago.
Apparently the original owners made their money selling shovels to the railroad companies when they were expanding. That’s a pretty humble way to amass the kind of fortune you’d have needed to build that place. I think this is the point where I’m supposed to say “only in America”.
Speaking of which…..
This doesn’t happen just in America, but it seems to be so prevalent here that I’m wondering if it isn’t enshrined in one of those amendments to the constitution that get quoted sometimes (I’ve checked, but it’s not there. I’d like to propose it as the 28th amendment and see if it can take longer than the 27th to get ratified (which took 203 years!!)). It feels like there’s an unofficial casual business uniform consisting of light tan pants and blue shirt. Blue sport jacket is optional, depending on weather. The adventurous ones might substitute a blue stripe shirt for the standard blue shirt. The appropriate shoe color for the uniform is brown.
OK, I’ll stop this, lest someone jump on my back about my own (distinct lack of) fashion sense once again.
Back to Dan…..
The three of us enjoyed a fantastic lunch and yes, waitress, the rib meat did fall off the bone. Tasty.
Being so far away, it’s always a rare treat to meet site sponsors face to face, and it was fantastic to spend some time talking with Dan about his business. There’s an abundant spirit of entrepreneurship all around the US. Much more so than in Australia, or at least in my Australia. Talking with Dan and hearing all the war stories from what’s been a pretty tough few years was quite inspiring and his company – like all the companies that sponsor SU – is one that I’m proud to have forged a relationship with.
From there, Pierre and I headed back to his workplace and I got to meet a bunch of the guys and girls at Charles River Saab.
CRS is one of the oldest Saab dealerships in the United States and the people who work there are really proud of where they work. If you ever meet Pierre, ask him what time he gets into the office and what time he leaves. Talk about passion and pride in your work.
They had one new Saab 9-5 in the yard but as you might expect, it had already been sold. They were waiting for four more to come in and I got the distinct impression that they wouldn’t mind having them there….. like…. yesterday.
I also had a good chat with Peter M, a looooong term Saab technician who’s spent plenty of time in Sweden over the years when he was a field engineer for Saab USA. He was working today on a clutch that had had a tougher life than Hunter S Thompson and about as enigmatic an ending, too.
I love the banners they’ve had made up at CRS, too. Nice work.
Tomorrow’s going to be a great day.
It’s kind of like Day 1 of Swedish Car Day, but by necessity it’s a limited event to begin with.
We start very early tomorrow morning with a drive to a track, where we’ll be doing a driver training session with a group of professional instructors from In Control.
……we will partner with In Control Advanced Driver Training to host a day of intense crash prevention instruction, highlighted by the use of Saab and Volvo cars. Besides the excellent In Control half-day course, which features instruction in ABS technique, steering (slalom), tailgating and emergency lane change maneuvers (think moose avoidance), we will also provide cornering technique instruction and an autocross.
The good parts – I not only get to drive in this one, but Eggs will be there as well!!!!
The track day is fully booked, with 16 participants attending.
After that, we head back to Charles River Saab for a casual reception – an open house meet and greet type thing. CRS will be firing up the BBQ to fill the spaces and everyone’s welcome to come on down, have a look around and say G’day.
The open house will be between 5pm and 7pm. If you’re in the area, then do please drop in. Personally, I want to say Hi to as many people as I can because I may not be back in these surrounds for a while and Sunday’s going to be crazy busy (we have record pre-registrations!!).