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by Rune

Top Gear (US) episode featuring the Viggen

February 24, 2013 in News

Last week’s episode (season 3 episode 10) of Top Gear (US) featured a 150 mph challenge: Get to 150 mph in the cheapest vehicle possible.

A ’95 Trans-Am ($2600), ’94 Infiniti Q45 ($1700 + $700 nitro conversion…) and Tanner picked a 9-3 Viggen ($3500).

A Viggen, an Infinity and a Trans-Am

A Viggen, an Infiniti and a Trans-Am


“You and I both have V8s rear-wheel drive, Tanner has a front wheel drive four cylinder…” teased one of the two guys who (*Spoiler*).
Racing an arrow

Racing an arrow

If you own a Viggen, used to own a Viggen, has sat in a Viggen or just stalked one in the museum, this Top Gear (US) episode is for you.

Update from maanders in the comments section: Looks like this episode will be repeated here in the U.S. on the History channel at 11pm EST on Tuesday

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by RobinM

Saab and 007

October 30, 2012 in Fan Stuff

Top Gear (UK) had a great programme on the TV tonight which featured 50 years of “Bond Cars”

Richard was the host and he mentioned cars from both the books and the films, sadly he missed one out, well more than one, but one that is special to us here at SU.

The Saab 900 Turbo stared in three novels and was a personal car of Bonds and not one from the brilliant Q.
In 1982 Saab constructed a  real version of the 900 Turbo with the gadgets exactly as described in License Renewed. This 900 included a specially developed turbo changed engine with water injection, increasing the power to 240 BHP from 2000cc and the car launched from 0 – 60 Mph in less than 7 seconds. Martin Lyons from Cardif remembers having it at a dealership he once worked in and remembers the inch thick glass windows.

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by RobinM

SOCGB on Top Gear Tonight

February 26, 2012 in News

Those of you who are fans of Top Gear should tune into BBC2 (if you can) this Sunday at 8pm.
Top Gear will present a nice part of their show to the history of Saab.
The Saab Owners Club of Great Britain were invited to help put the show together by supplying cars, images and information.
Mike, Chairman of the SOC, said “We are proud to have been part of it and I think that we have done a good job for the Saab community”
Please visit www.saabclub.co.uk for more chat about the making of the show.

Swade has some tips for non GB viewers at http://www.swadeology.com/

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by Rune

Top Gear: Now and then

January 2, 2012 in Editorial

November 14th another Top Gear DVD was released. “Top Gear at the Movies”. Basically, Richard and James discuss various action movies and attempt to recreate some of the scenes with varying luck. At one point they try to make a car bulletproof, but could only afford to fit one side with steel plates. The result was that the car was severely leaning towards one side and almost impossible to drive.

All in good fun, but in the end they put their ‘hero car’ through the ultimate test: Being chased by various baddies in budget baddies cars. The final baddie… A Saab NG900! (or is it an OG9-3?)
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by Rune

Fat Lady news snippets (What are GM and SweGov up to now?)

November 13, 2011 in News

Top Gear on Friday featured an article about Saab’s current predicament. Saab now only days from disappearing?.

It mentions what we have heard elsewhere, that the Swedish Government say they will try persuading GM to allow Saab continued access to GM technology and parts.

That’s big of them. The Swedish Government has been fantastically unhelpful to Saab ever since its funding crisis started almost a year ago. It has turned down various foreign investors and chucked several administrative spokes in the wheels.

It might be too late now for it to make sympathetic noises.

– Paul Horrell, Top Gear

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by Swade

Monday Snippets – Buzz Aldrin edition

November 22, 2010 in Saabology

It’s good to hear Saab had another big ad in the Wall Street Journal last week.

From page A5 (take that, Audi!)

Thanks to Mark T for the pic

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One of the original moon-landing astronauts, Buzz Aldrin, once owned a Saab Sonett!!

He was a guest on the inaugural edition of Top Gear USA tonight and Quijote was kind enough to record the interview and post part of it on Youtube…

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8GJPsDSgG8

Of course, the Sonett didn’t need Buzz’s endorsement to be cool, but Buzz himself just got a whole lot of cool to join his moon-landing awesomeness :-)

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I’ve had more than one question asked in comments as to why Saab don’t stock more models – the new 9-5 in particular – with manual transmissions.

This post from Jalopnik might go some way to explaining why:

Even though manual transmissions have been in decline for decades, a new EPA report shows that 6.7% of new vehicles sold this year are equipped with a stick. Sadly, it’s the highest percentage in the last five years .

The good news is that that number actually represents a rise of about 1% on the previous year. That’s not enough to be a trend, but it gives some hope.

My understanding is that Saab have to have each model combination they sell in the US tested and certified before they can offer it for sale. The cost in dollars and time, combined with the low uptake of manual tranmissions, is probably a good indicator as to why some models don’t get a stickshift.

I know that’s not going to make some people happy, but it does provide a bit of an explanation.

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The New York Times – a lazy, fat-assed publication that’s happy to pick some low-hanging fruit when it comes to Saab.

It’s crap like this – which is fundamentally untrue, by the way – that Saab is fighting against almost as much as anything else. I’m going to process some video tonight of one of the guys who developed the Saab 9-4x, the latest work in his 35-year career with Saab.

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The Saab 9-3 SportCombi features in an AOL Autos list of Best 10 used wagons you can buy under $20,000.

In fact, go through that list and you’ll see the Saab offers the absolute best combination of age, power and low mileage – not to mention the Saab appeal.

Thanks Tal!

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A friend of Ray K, Andy P, has been playing around with ideas for a new Saab logo and Ray thought we might like to see it….

People keep using the griffon logo that’s a holdover from the days when Scania was merged with SAAB . I decided that it’s time to retire it, since Scania is still using it.

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by Swade

Saturday Morning MADNESS snippets

November 13, 2010 in Saabology

Another day, another sponsor for the Saab (unofficial) ad competition!

With prizes hitting the $1,000 mark, I think we’re going to have to move from a winner-take-all stance to a 1st-2nd-3rd.

More prizes means more winners, so get your entries in!

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It’s going to be a MAD weekend here due to the preparations I’ve got to make prior to the LA trip next week. Posting will be slower as a result and this snippets entry will be link with minimal filler because of it.

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The Saab 9-5 didn’t make the cut in the European Car of the Year finalists. I still think that award was sewn up by the Alfa Giulietta some time ago.

HOWEVER….

The Saab 9-5 has been listed as a finalist in the Motor Trend Car of The Year awards, which is a great achievement and good publicity for the company.

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I might have to buy a PS3 on November 24. Gran Turismo 5 finally has a date.

Unfortunately, there are no Saabs in the lineup.

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The lads over at Saablog-in have found a truly unique Saab 9000 for sale in Sweden.

9000 Wagon, anyone?

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Top Gear pose the Saab 9-5 against an Infiniti something-or-other and decide that you should buy a 5-series.

They like the Saab, by the way.

It’s probably a good read if you’ve got time, but I don’t.

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Thanks for your questions prior to the LA Auto Show. A number of them have already been answered in these pages over recent weeks, so I’ll probably skip those.

To answer a few:

- there’ll be no 9-4x diesel at launch and Saab won’t identify who they might be talking to about a bigger diesel, either, but I believe they’re working on it (quite earnestly) but these things take time.

- detailed customisation options for any vehicle aren’t likely to be around in the next year or so. You’ve got to bed down the basics before you can move to this stuff.

- I will be asking about global website development, but one should note a comment by Seth on this issue as I believe he’s “in the know”

- I believe we’ll see the 9-5 wagon at Geneva prior to it going on sale Q3 of next year.

- We won’t see the successor to the Saab 9-3 until just before it’s scheduled release (end of 2012). Saab will show a concept car at Geneva next year, but it’s more of a ‘dreamscape’ concept that will point to Saab’s future design language.

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From Flickr, Hirsch get all dreamy in Zurich….

Hirsch Saab 9-5 Zurich

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by Swade

Top Gear and the Saab 9-5

August 10, 2010 in Saabology

Many of you have been waiting for Top Gear to get their hands on a new Saab 9-5 and the magazine spawned from the show has done so.

Their verdict? Read the full report for yourself here.

Overall, I think it’s reasonably positive. They don’t like the base model diesel (and they’re not the first to say this) but they do report positively on the V6 Aero.

It’s a good car, but in some versions the Saab-ness is woefully absent. The base-spec diesel is a big, solid, stylish cruiser. But it was developed under a huge GM global programme, and feels like it would make a perfectly satisfactory Vauxhall Omega…..

….. (The V6 is) a heavy car, but we never got it to wobble about. The steering is calm and precise, the stability good, the grip unfailing. It’s a solid and reassuring car. Doubtless exactly what you’d want if you’d ploughed £38k into a big Swedish saloon.

Unfortunately, it seems they didn’t get to drive a 2.0T gasoline version. It has some great dynamics on the road because whilst it has some pep, it doesn’t have the weight of the V6 model. I think they would have really liked one of those. It was my favourite version of the car, without doubt, and I can’t wait to see what Hirsch do in terms of tuning that engine.

Top Gear really – and I mean really - made some sense when they said this:

But now it’s independent, Saab ought to simplify its purchasing and put the best suspension design on all versions. That would sharpen up the steering, improve the ride, and mean that the dull chassis on the base versions won’t kill the reputation of the posher ones. And stop the taunts of ‘Underneath it’s just an Insignia’.

Rarely has a truer word been spoken.

I know car companies love to have steps up a model line’s ladder, but why can’t those steps be limited to engine and trim options?

Why not make the dynamics of driving a 9-5 excellent, no matter which model people choose?

HiPerStrut should be standard across the line. It makes a LOT of sense.

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by Swade

Thursday Snippets

July 1, 2010 in Saabology

Saab Netherlands are being a little cheeky…..

That’s a new website they’ve set up, called Saab challenges everyone. Those little squares you can see each have a different scenario in them. You click the scenario that you’d like to read and they offer a solution that most commonly involves either driving a Saab or visiting a Saab dealer.

Some examples:

Q: I am an Audi dealer
A: There’s a fair chance that your buiness will be slow the coming months. To find out why visit your SAAB dealer

Q: I drive a Volkwagen
A: That happens in the best of families. Speaking of Families, the 9-5 is the latest addition to the SAAB family

It’s all in Dutch, except for “I am the Stig”. It’s a must read for all who can. The rest of us will have to hope they do a version in English (or insert your appropriate language) soon.

UPDATE: Saab Belgium have similar concepts in both Dutch and French (and I apologise in advance if the one I’ve called Dutch is actually Flemish or something else specific to the region, but it has an “nl” callout in the URL).

Thanks to Jos for the tip.

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Jeremy Clarkson makes a great point in a recent Top Gear column.

Simple. I wish car companies would behave a bit more like Quentin Tarantino and a bit less like Michael Bay, the slap-happy madman who foisted Armageddon on the cinema-going public.

The trouble is that, like Bay, car companies are obsessed with the big-money special effects. They think that what we want are automatic windscreen wipers and what Michael McIntyre called the “little people” in the bumpers who shriek and wail when we reverse too close to a wall…..

……I think this is an approach that should be favoured by the people behind Spyker as they wrestle with the next Saab. Since it will be bought, mainly, by architects and since architects favour a minimalist, crisp, no-nonsense approach, why not give them a modern-day incarnation of that old W123. No bells. No whistles. And please, no idiotic claims that it’s a jet fighter with an ashtray.

I don’t mean to brag, but it’s a point that I’ve made myself on the odd occasion, too.

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Saab spent $25 million on advertising in 2008 and $8 million in 2009.

Hang on. They spent $8mil in 2009???? On what?

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One of my favourite pieces of writing in 2010. Completely non-Saab related. I’ve never made claims at being a good writer, but I like to make sure it’s not difficult for people to come here and read what I’ve got to say.

Some of you have listened to me complain about bad writing every now and then. This piece attacks bad writing with a fine-tooth comb :-)

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I don’t think I’ve ever moralised on this site about the various ways people might choose to spend their money.

But this? Commissioned by a client? Someone, please think of the starving children!!

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I’d like to extend my apologies for the disruption caused by the new comments system yesterday. I mentioned in the post that it would be a trial system and that the trial would run for a month. I think we’ll get a fair idea of how well it works within a week, however.

It does offer some features that I really like. Comment voting, for example, whereby you can self-moderate a little. Spellchecking and smilies are good, too.

What I don’t like, however, is the admin interface I have to deal with (funny how they don’t tell you about that beforehand) and it there’s no doubt that the comments section looks a lot more cluttered than it used to. In some respects, that’s inevitable when you add more functions, but still……

Thanks again for your patience. I’ll be monitoring how well this works and will look for alternative solutions in the meantime.

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by Swade

Tuesday Snippets – Captain Slow, Let them eat Cake edition

February 2, 2010 in Saabology

Security staff at Arlanda Airport, the main airport in Stockholm, will be having a little Saab Support Convoy of their own today.

Two of the staff there are massive Saab nuts, so they’re bringing in some cakes to celebrate Saab’s recent good news:

DSC_0136.JPG

DSC_0139.JPG

What an absolutely brilliant happening!

And speaking of backed goods…….

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Here’s a little story from Saab’s internal newsletter:

“Baked muffins for everyone in the factory.

One day last week, just before the deal with Saab/Spyker was a fact, we got a phone call to the information department from a private individual who wanted to bake muffins for those who work in production.

- How many employees do you have in the factory, he asked.

- We are about 1,300 people, we replied. We hung up the phone and asked ourselves if we understood it all right.

Today Linda and Jan W, who recently moved to Vargön, arrived at Saab with 1,311 muffins for the production staff.

- We wanted to show that we care,” says Linda and Jan, who followed the battle for Saab. “We knew there were many who risked to lose their jobs.”

Anna-Lena Nystrom, Dagfrid Snäll, Ann-Christin Andersson and Anita Käll from the production area received the muffins to distribute them in the factories. We all asked the same question? Have you baked all this stuff at home in the kitchen?

-Yes, we have. We started on Tuesday and finished this weekend. We are delighted that people in our surroundings has been committed to us and would like to do something for others.

It is not the first time Jan and Linda show his humanity. This Christmas they invited lonely people without family or friends, into their own home to celebrate Christmas.

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James May – aka Captain Slow from Top Gear – has written a wonderful perspective piece concerning an ex-girlfriend, another ex-girlfried, their repective fathers, a Volvo….. and Saab!

I think this might be interesting. Other, massive car makers would consider Saab as a slightly left-field curiosity; something of an indulgence and a way of making themselves appear more interesting. GM owning Saab is really no different from my old girlfriend’s father owning a Saab back in 1978. But to Spyker, Saab is a towering mainstream colossus. Spyker buying Saab is like the treasurer of a residents’ association buying Barclays Bank.

But now fire up your internet and take a look at the Spyker C8. Do we really want the people who came up with that to be building a regular four-door saloon?

Yes please.

I got a scanned copy of this on the weekend and I’m so pleased it’s come out online now as it really is recommended reading.

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Throughout the Saab sale process, we all got to recognise which news services did a good job of reporting accuately and up to date, and which one weren’t so crash hot.

Let’s just say that Reuters didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory and today, they’ve managed to do something that seems almost impossible.

In an entry dated February 1st, they’ve written the following:

Sweden’s other major car brand, Saab, is unlikely to make it through the crisis, and is probably will be shut down by GM, despite a handful of late rescue offers.

Now, it is from a section called ‘Acquisitions Monthly’, so there’s a chance this was written earlier in the month and filed away for scheduled future publication, but still……

A terrible job.

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The Toyota saga continues, with the Head Honcho for Toyota in the US going on national television to try and convonce people that they’re on top of things.

Problem: Jalopnik were watching and are claiming a reasonable ‘gotcha’.

It’s a question of whether or not he intenionally lied, or if this is just too big, with too many reports and dates for him to get his head around.

He’s certainly earling his fat salary this week…..

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And finally, David Finlay from CarKeys is disappointed to find that the Saab 9-3x isn’t a sports car.

It’s not. But it’s bloody good.

David also complains about a lack of rear visibility and the fact that Euro NCAP haven’t tested a solid-roof Saab 9-3 since late 2002 (i.e the intro of the Sport Sedan model).

My advice to David: drive forwards, not backwards, try not to roll the car and don’t worry, the car is as safe now as it was in late 2002 because structurally, it hasn’t changed.

He seems to like it over all, but there’s not much to read beyond some facts and figures.

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by Swade

Some more Koenigsegg love – on video

June 18, 2009 in Archive

My thanks have to go to WooDz for sending these links through.
It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but this is going to be your average Saab 9-5 or 9-3s big brother :-)
OK, it’s not really, but kinda. I’ll take it. Maybe some “my other Saab is a Koenigsegg” stickers are in order?
What we’ve got here are a few demonstrations of just how blisteringly quick the Koenigsegg CCX actually is.
The first video is a series of drag races between a Koenigsegg CCX and a Ferrari F430 Scuderia. The acceleration is astounding and the view from the Ferrari (or from the porthole in the K-Segg) is just as thrilling.
The vids are after the jump but here’s a screenshot
CCX-Ferrari.jpg
Yes, those little white/yellow dots in the mirror are the Ferrari.
Of course, that’s straight line power, which isn’t what real world driving is about (not that these are real world cars, but you know what I mean). What if you introduce the CCX to some corners?
The first CCX attempt on Top Gear wasn’t a smashing success. Well, it was smashing, in that the car was too quick and unstable and wandered off the track and ate some tyres.
When Koenigsegg brought the car back to England with a rear spoiler fitted, the Stig flew it around the track in record-smashing time.
CCXstig.jpg
Both videos await you after the jump…..
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NOTE: if are using Internet Explorer, watching the videos here may cause your browser to crash. It’s a glitch and no-one seems to know how to fix it (other than recommending you use Firefox or get a Mac).
You should click here to watch the drag races and click here for the Top Gear video.
Others, go end enjoy.

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