Every Saab Festival has its fair share of fantastic cars and fantastic stories that go along with them. I’ll bring you more of the cars later, but for now, I wanted to share what is the story of the Saab Festival for me.
I envy those that are able to work on their own cars, and moreso those who are able to fully restore them. This is a restoration story with a difference, but it stood out to me for two reasons:
- The end product was so eye-catching, and
- The guy who restored the vehicle was just 19 years old when it was finished!
Jacob T started this project when he was just 17 years old and finished it last week, age 19 and just in time to bring the car from his family home in Denmark, to the Saab Festival in Trollhattan.
His father, Hans, has been kind enough to send through some photos of the build, as well as some details of how it was done. Hans gave Jacob a few hours in welding lessons, then let him loose on the restoration and I think you’ll agree that the results are fantastic.
The car is a Saab 92b, from 1953. Jacob bought the car in March 2009 in Östersund Sweden, from Jonas Leklem.
The car was a good candidate for restoration. The wings, bonnet and doors only had minor rust, max 100 hours work!
The structure of the bottom, front engine floor was 90 % OK, rear floor 60% OK, cabin 0% !!! so it had to be handmade, welded, sandblasted and zinc sprayed at 1200 degree celcius, then epoxy coated before paint.
Then all wings, bonnet and doors were mounted on the structure, and it took 200 hours to adjust, weld and straighten out the steel plate to the right shape – and the 3 mm. openings between door and wings – not 0-7 mm as was common at that time in 1953! Hand work was expensive- even back then.
Engine and gear repairs were done by the previous owner, so we just cleaned, painted and adjusted.
The suspension was worn out, so all bronze bushes had to be changed. They were produced by a local workshop. All Aluminum profile in the suspension was OK.
All bolts, nuts and splits to be cleaned and el.zinked, no mm. bolts used, only old types.
All casted steel suspensions parts had to be sandblasted, zinc sprayed at 1200 degree Celcius, and painted.
All brakes had to be restored, new rubber, linings, pipes, handbrake wires, mostly handmade.
All joints of steering and suspensions were taken apart, cleaned and adjusted.
All bumpers, and chrome parts – cleaned and re-chromed.
El.wire , el.motors 6V, contacts, all cleaned and repaired and greased.
All paint, underneath, inside in the cabin, engine booth and outside, to matching colors, brown and off-white, with a 6 mm. red line in between, all painted with two layers of epoxy, one black shiny paint, then the brown and off-white before the red line and two layers of transparent laquer.
The interior was replaced with ……. A Saab 9.3 grey leather interior, fitted to the original floor seat brackets 450 mm in distance! The seats fitted perfectly with only some customisation in the back seats required. A provocation maybe – but the whole car is 100% original in parts and welding repairs.
Jacob has used 1200-1500 hours from he was 17 to now 19 years old. And at the same time finishing his high school just 3 weeks ago! Only sandblasning, zinc and new bussing was not done by Jacob, all the rest was training and learning by doing!
The car left the family garage – Thursday at 17.00 – this week. The very same day the Saab festival started. then driving his restored Saab -750 km to Trollhättan to arrive at 02.00 Friday morning!.
Jacobs background is working in the small family garage, 30 square meters, with me (Hans, his father) doing repairs on all the family cars – mostly Saab and a single Volvo Valp – since he was able to stay on his feet!
This project is done mostly by supervision on the phone – while the father was away on Offshore work outside Denmark – and but local retired Saab mechanic who was able to advise Jacob when trouble time was there!
Even though there was no award in Trollhättan for Jacob, Erik Carlsson was able to recognize and appreciate the great work and the high quality of all of it. And many others Saab mechanics and enthusiasts recognised it as well and told the young Saab enthusiasts, and even it was transported on a trailer from Denmark!
Best regards form a happy Saab family. It was a pleasure to be there in Trollhättan – as it has been, since we came there to our first Saabfestival in 1992.