It’s with great pleasure that I’m showing you these images today. These are from Swedish Car Day, which I was fortunate enough to attend a few weeks ago in Boston.
As with the Saab Sonett V4 that I showed last week, the Saab 95 below is owned by one of the technicians at Charles River Saab. His name is Peter Maitland, and once again, it’s nice to know your tech loves the brands as much (or more) than you do!
And just like Ralph’s V4, this Saab 95 and Saabo won an award at SCD – Best in Show! You’ll see why below.
Ol’ Blue is a 1968 Saab 95 purchased by Peter Maitland in 2002 in Butler PA, while Peter was working for Saab Cars USA. The previous owner had the car nine years and had only driven it 100 miles! Prior to that, it was owned by Jack Ashcraft in Oregon, where it had been driven since new. Under Ashcraft’s ownership, the 95 had been repainted once, the original Husar Blue, and the interior had been reupholstered.
Improvements that Peter has made include installation of a Jack Lawrence high output motor and induction system (good for 120 bhp), Deluxe model dash and gauges, new wiring harness, wheels, rebuilt Sonett transmission (selected for its taller gearing), striping and decals on its flanks, front air dam and an XM radio tucked away in the glove box. Peter has driven the car 50,000 miles (true total mileage on the car is unknown), including to the 2004 Saab Owners Convention in Washington state. It was on the return trip east from that SOC that Peter stopped in Iowa to purchase his Saabo.
The Saabo is a 1967 build, model 260, VIN 260. 400 Saabos were built in total. Saab collector/repairer/seller Tom Donney has one in Iowa and we’re aware there’s about 30 remaining in Sweden and a handful in the UK.
Peter purchased it from Tom Donney, who had imported two of them some time before. Peter’s was the first and came to the states on the same shipment as the 93B that Mr. Donney ultimately sold to Jay Leno.
Peter towed the Saabo back to Boston with the 95. He used the Saabo extensively from 2004 to 2008 as a real camper, always pulling it with the 95. During this time, Peter came to know Dick Balsey, director of the GM Heritage Collection, who had started to assemble an array of Saabs and would bring them to show at a number of Swedish Car Day events.
Peter knew that the Saabo was in need of a restoration, which he was not prepared to do at the time. Not wanting to risk that this rare Saab would become victim of irreparable damage or neglect, Peter contacted Dick and asked if he would want the camper for the Heritage Collection. He did, and thus Peter and his Saabo were parted in February, 2008, but with an agreement (with Dick) that if the powers-that-be from the Heritage Collection ever wanted to part with the Saabo, that Peter would be afforded an opportunity to buy it back.
In late 2009, when news of the liquidation of many of the Saabs in the Heritage Collection was made known, Peter tried to inquire about the Saabo. Dick Balseyhad become a victim of the great purge at GM and so Peter had no personal contacts on the inside. Eventually Peter learned that friend Chip Lamb was assisting GM with the sale of portions of their Saab collection, and Chip had taken the Saabo. Peter bought the Saabo back just days before Swedish Car Day 2010.
The 95 and Saabo were voted Best in Show by the attendees, which the pair also won in 2004.
Saabo 260 is largely original. The only interior change is a door to the closet which Peter added during his first ownership. Peter found that GM had replaced the windows and mouldings, repainted the exterior, replaced the roof hatch, chromed and polished many external bits including the hitch, replaced the curtains, recarpeted the floor, recovered the cushions, refashioned the awning and made a fabric cover for the camper.
Peter has a lot of smaller repairs planned, and wants to get a water system working on the sink. He has camped in it as recently as this past weekend with June and the dog (Olive), and is planning a trip to upstate New York in the coming weeks.