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.
A photo report from Lance Cole’s visit to Swedish Day UK
‘Crapaud’ is French for toad – it is also a Canadian village in Queens County, Prince Edward Island. And isn’t their a band called the Crapauds?
The Swedish for toad is ‘Paddan’ and that was the secret code name given to the development Saab 96-99 bodies in 1965-66.
As a devotee of la vie en France, my south west Brittany based French accent went down a whole load of crapaud with the self proclaimed frog eaters that drove all the way from Lille, north east France, Paris, Belgium and Switzerland to attend Swedish Day UK. They decided that they were not toads, but frogs- eaters of frogs, hence the wonderful rally style plates on the front of their cars identifying them all as ‘Le convoi des mangeurs de grenouilles’. A convoy of frog eaters then – because grenouille is froggy for frog.
Frog is very nice baked in garlic and olive oil with spices, red wine is needed. sorry I digress…
So the frog eaters turned out in force bringing a range of lovely classic 900s and Dimitri – he of the car model company brought his Swiss registered 99 two door, circa 1969. Ettiene (he of the SaabHuy blog) arrived in an ex-UK right hand drive 99, which seemed odd until you thought of Belgian beer….
The lads from Saabsportclub France – they who organised that fantastic Saab show and photo opportunity at the French air and space museum – also arrived but sadly without the Viggen fighter that they acquired for their event earlier this year.
Anyway, despite Crapaud British weather, Swedish Day UK turned out well this year and of notice was the dearth of NG900s and 9-3Mk1s. Instead, there was a sea of 96s, 900 Classics and a handful of exquisite 99s – right back to two 1969 cars and the black be-striped, full bore rally spec 99 mega turbo owned by Julian Davies – voted ‘peoples choice’ winner by Swedish Day visitors.
We had a real 96 and 99 fest- a whole squadron of 96s lined up for photo-love bombing. The Saab – Fiat love child the 9000 turned out too – still looking good all these years on and with a strong following.
An assortment of Volvos showed up as well – including a lovely 164 – voted best in show, 1800s, a gold P1800, some more modern models, and a black 244 Thor – an aircraft carrier of a car looked back on all these years later from its square rigged styling and massive bumpers.
The great thing about Swedish Day is that it is relaxed – without structure or schedule – and no egos allowed (not even mine).
As you can see from my photos, it was cold under that photogenic sky, but Swedish Day grows and grows. Let us hope for more frogs next year – and why can’t Saab send the Paddan?
A wonderful collection of photos…….. all credit to Lance Cole.
Click to enlarge.