Lance Cole: Saab Encounters of the Further Kind

Lance Cole is a writer living in England and has penned several books on automobiles and aviation. Saab enthusiasts would know him best for the book Saab 99 and 900: The Complete Story, which is an excellent and essential volume and available for sale at the SU Bookshop.

Click here to read all of Lance’s previous contributions at Trollhattan Saab.


Saab Encounters of the Further Kind – Lance Cole with a travelogue of another Saab day out…

Photos by the author – click to enlarge

1Saab 93 TTiD Cole.jpg A year ago, I was driving around southern Tasmania with Swade and Drew B in a 93 TTID, which was available courtesy of Saab Australia.

As you can see from the photo, I coerced Drew B into backing the car down a boat ramp in search of a good shot. Gladly we did not test the car’s water handling capabilities…
The TTID was, and remains, one of my favourite cars – if I am paying the bills…

A year on, to the month, I found myself having further Saab encounters in Brittany- France, and Dublin.

Just as I found down under in Notes from a Saab Island, it seems the Saab love affair remains, all over the world. Australia was packed with Saabs. So too, are France and Ireland.

Perhaps because the French buy so many of their own cars, perhaps because they are so nationalistic (no judgement inferred), and perhaps because I have also owned some classic Citroens, the last thing I expected to find was a population of Saabs out in the backwoods of rural Brittany.

Brittany is the west tip of France – on the north the coast it is rugged and Celtic, in the south of the Department, it is warmer and softer; it’s a wonderful rural landscape of honeyed stone cottages and quintessential French geezers smoking stereotypically away 2 French TV Babe Cole.jpgas they quaff cheap wine, eat fresh fish and rabbit, all finished off with local cheese and proper, locally produced cider – ‘Cidre’: It is paradise. Oh and as you can see from the photo, the TV newsreader woman is stunning – makes watching TV worthwhile- shallow I know but c’est la vie….

The lanes and towns are populated by noisy old Citroens and Peugeots while Renaults potter about as well. I never saw a Honda, nor any of those wretched Hyundia-Kia things. As you know by now, I despise them utterly, despite so many journalists plugging their (fleeting) value for money.

But, while there were French cars, there were also Saabs – new and old. Now, that was not to be expected.

Read moreLance Cole: Saab Encounters of the Further Kind

Motor Trend: Saab to develop own platform for new 9-3

It’s great to see Saab getting some bona-fide coverage in the big motoring press. Coverage that doesn’t mention the word ‘re-badged’ is always good for the soul. In this instance, it’s the complete opposite.
Motor Trend have picked up on a quote from Saab’s Global Brand guy, Knut Simonsson, and used four words to craft an entire two page piece.
Those four words are “more unlikely than likely” and they were uttered in reference to Saab using a GM architecture for the next generation of the Saab 9-3.
The common belief was that the next 9-3 would be based on the same architecture as GM’s new Opel Astra, moving down a size from the new Epsilon architecture that the new 9-5 uses.
I’ve mentioned before that Saab definitely are working hard on a new 9-3 already, and that the initial design sent over from Germany for the ‘showroom of the future’ has been abandoned for this purpose.
Whether they’re going to go it alone in terms of vehicle architecture is unknown to me, but that would be one very expensive and time consuming call to make at this fragile point in Saab’s life.
Verdict: wait and see.
The MT article’s a pretty good snapshot of what’s going on right now. Recommended reading.
Thanks for the emails that came in about it prior to my feedreading this morning.

A closer look at the Saab Police Car – part II

When I posted my initial entry on building a Saab police car a few days ago, some people asked questions about the engines in the car.
Contrary to some beliefs, there aren’t any secrets about that. It’s just that I didn’t ask in order to write about it here.
Fortunately, the good guys at ANA Specialbilar have a really good website with plenty of information about the cars, including these great images that show (in Swedish) the various features of the cars.

I did shoot off an email to them asking about engines, and Martin from ANA was kind enough to provide the following:

All of our police cars have a certain chassi standard witch include 16″ brakes and harder springs and stronger antirollbar.
Saab 9-5 wagon
The most common engine is the 2.3t Biopower, which gives you 210bhp on E85.
On highway/traffic patrol cars they usually choose 2.3T 260bhp regular petrol.
Using the Diesel engine is very unusual. It has 150bhp but then we upgrade it to 175bhp with Hirsch Performance software.
Saab 9-3 Sedan & wagon
The most common version is the 2.0t 200bhp E85.
Some have the TTID 180bhp
Once awhile 2.0t 210bhp or 280bhp V6 XWD
My thanks to Martin to filling out this information for us.

Who has been to the Saab 9-5 roadshow?

The Saab 9-5 European tour is about halfway complete. The car and and associated Saab staff will be in Poland today, then progressing on to Switzerland, Hungary, Austria and Greece before finishing up in Italy in early December.
That’s nice work if you can get it, eh?
So the question for today is who’s been to see it so far? And what were your impressions?
Alternatively, you might be in the US and saw the car in the last week at the Southern Florida Auto Show in Miami. Again, what did you think?
Opinion coming to me so far has been overwhelmingly positive about the car with only a couple of queries over the information presented about it.
The following images come from the Belgian leg of the tour, which finished up at the beginning of this week.
The Saab 9-3x, there in support of its new big brother…..
Seats empty before the show begins……
The seats were somewhat more occupied during Simon Padian’s talk about the car….
And then the emptied again as people went up to have a look….

My thanks to Sofie at Saab in Belgium for sending these through during the week!

Friday Snippets – hope on the horizon edition

Here are a few stories I didn’t get around to publishing last night before heading off for a decent night’s sleep (it has to happen occasionally).
Saab laid off 700 people earlier this year as part of their restructuring, and to match the reduced production levels they’ve had to maintain this year in order to preserve cash.
Weeks ago, they put one of these people back into a job. A small, but symbolic moment for the company.
Yesterday, TTELA reported that Saab were inviting another 40 people back to the factory. These positions were required in order to help with the preparation of the factory for production of the Saab 9-3 convertible and the new Saab 9-5. Saab are also planning to boost production a little prior to Christmas.
I’d expect even more will come back when those new vehicles actually come online early next year. Good news!
Secondly, there’s been an article about Christian von Koenigsegg in a German magazine called “Impulse”.
Till72 has been kind enough to translate some snippets for us.

“It is simple,” says his wife (Halldora von Koenigsegg works for the company). “Christian hurts to see the brand on the ground. Saab was once an innovative company. He wants it to be that again. My husband is an inventor, a visionary. My job will be to implement his ideas.”
The Taxi driver…
Many people are enthusiastic in Ängelholm, the acquisition of Saab is anticipated later this year. “For the region, but also for the whole country would be a good thing,” says Björn Englund, a taxi driver. Like him, most of Sweden Saab would like to see again as a Swedish company. “It is also about national pride and honor of the traditional Swedish automotive industry.”
K-segg worker:
The staff will or shall not talk about the deal. Nur so viel: Only this: “Our boss is a genius. We believe in him,” says one. De Salvatore raves how much passion Koenigsegg shows. “Christian is a doer,” she says. Without question, the people are standing behind him.

Thanks to Till!

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