Sunday Night Snippets – Bowler Edition

It’s a long distance relationship that we hinted at a few days ago thanks to a tip from SUHRT’s Jorgen Trued – now confirmed.

CPP has bought Bowler.

I’m not sure if I’ve got all this correct as I’m writing off the top of my head, but here goes……CPP Global Holdings Ltd is the same group owned by Vladimir Antonov (and I believe, also part owned by CPP Managing Director, Brendan O’Toole) that recently agreed to acquire Spyker’s sports car business. They are also the coachbuilding company that now makes Spyker vehicles since their move from Zeewolde.

And if you’re not familiar with Bowler’s vehicles, do yourself a favour and go Google them. Brutal beasts, they are. It’s nice to have them in the extended family.


The Saab 9-3 Griffin is now being advertised in Sweden…..

…. nice image, that one. The ad also talks about the Saab 9-3 SportCombi now getting under the 120g/km bar.

243,000 crowns is around $38,000 US dollars.

Thanks to JH for the scan.


People are still buying Saabs……

I’ve had two emails over the weekend relating to people shopping for Saabs. One for a Griffin and one stitching up a deal on a Saab 9-5 Aero.

It’s great to see, and I’m sure we’ll hear more about these purchases as time ticks on.

In the meantime, I’m making a few enquiries of my own. I’m still not in a position to buy new, but am having some thoughts about some vintage Swedish steel. I’ll keep you posted.


This is the front of the Saab PhoeniX Concept….

And this is a quick photoshop of how the PhoeniX concept front end could be adapted for a future Saab 9-3. The artist wishes to remain nameless…..

Nice work. I’d give that a second look. For sure.


The Saab IQon video is definitely proving to be the hit of the Geneva Motor Show news releases. It’s been picked up by motoring websites, as well as plenty of technology mags.

I took another look at it today using my Apple TV device to stream to my 40-inch screen and it looked absolutely fantastic. As of that viewing, it had been watched over 110,000 times.

It’s hard to say what was the bigger hit for Saab in Geneva – PhoeniX or IQon. Great to have them both there, however.


It’s a long weekend here. Woohoo!

I have a lot of writing to do tomorrow, as well as trying to fit in a visit with fellow Saabnut Drew B and a good cleaning of the Monte Carlo. Busy days.

I hope you’re having a great weekend.

42 thoughts on “Sunday Night Snippets – Bowler Edition”

  1. That’s a very nice concept of a concept! If I saw this in my rear view mirror, I would be inclined to pull in.

    “I hope you’re having a great weekend”

    Hmmm! Had better SAAB related ones. Come to the conclusion that not everything that SAAB designs/engineers fills me with joy. Having dropped off relatives late last night and parked up my wifes 9-3 outside the house, I must have unintentionally unlocked the car again with the remote but held the button down for the dreaded 3-seconds only to find that last nights sleet shower was deposited on the drivers seat with the window fully down when I returned to the car this morning.

    I have to hope that this window drop design was a relic of GM ‘ish ness’ and not from a brain wave from one of our trusted Swedes. I cannot understand the rationale of what this is suppose to offer (other than seat cleansing), perhaps someone could enlighten me…….please.

  2. Lol, it is a long weekend here in Hungary too! Maybe we’re celebrating the same national day? 🙂 I doubt it, but a nice coincidence anyway. 🙂 Have a good ride in a shiny clean Monte, I am just going to wake up my dolphin after a winter quiescence.

  3. suppose there is no hope of a 9-3ss griffin landing in Australia with a retail < $40,000 Australian dollars?

    [best wishes to all those in Japan]

      • The new SAAB Australia need to remove their heads from the sand and stop rorting customers. The current strength of the Australian dollar has been ignored. A well known Australian motoring journalist believes SAAB are overpriced by factor of 10-15%. What became of the new lean SAAB Australia organisation with basic overheads and savings passed onto the customer? No wonder known automotive distribution companies would not touch it.

        • Currency fluctuations are just about always overlooked. It’s not a matter of rorting customers, it’s a case of what do you do when the dollar normalises again? Push the prices back up?

          How far do you want them to go? Price them regionally according to average earnings per state? You’re in WA, right?

          It’s swings and roundabouts.

          As to your arguments about distribution companies – Saab is a risk because it’s a small player and Australia’s a small market You’ve been around here long enough to know that. Saab have taken the decision to do it themselves and I’m quite sure customers will get a more attentive response from Saab’s own representation than they would from a company for whom Saab is the fifth or sixth brand.

          A new Saab will cost more than you want it to. I get it. But they’re better packaged than what overseas markets are getting to help support the price they have to ask for them. From what I sense, it’s either have a sustainable model like that, or have no organisation here.

          • indeed it is swings and roundabouts, we go on holiday when the exchange rate is good but may think twice when the exchange rate is not so good. Car buying joe public is also savvy to currency movements. SAAB need sales now to bridge the gap to the release of the new 9-3ss…

  4. Swade or anyone, I have noticed and heard that the instrument lights are red in the PhoeniX. Does this mean that SAAB are planning to move away from using green lights? I for one really hope not. I love those green lights. Wave length optimized for the human eyes. True SAABism, to connect to a previous post by TimR.

    • I think it is to early to draw any conclusion on that point yet. We have to wait and see, and at the same time we can discuss it here.

    • I’m pretty sure red is just for PhoeniX.

      Just as PhoeniX was meant to symbolise Saab’s re-birth, re-emergence, etc, the red trimmings inside were meant to symbolise it being a live creature, the lifeblood of the car.

  5. Great photochop, though I believe Castriota said that that “horizontal blade piercing the light cluster” would be a design theme on the future production Saabs.

    • Likewise. I think it’d be more interesting to go the other way round – photochop that front-end concept onto the production cars – maybe get a hint of a mid-life facelift for the 9-5?

    • I is also a common Saabism to watch Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica and the other Sci-Fi series and Movies?
      A lot of the descriptions of the PhoeniX seems to use references to one of these series.
      Personally I find Doctor Who and the Tardis more interesting..Who would have thought that something as mundane as a Police Box could hold that much technology and have so much interior space 😉

      • “Q might have done the right thing for the wrong reason, perhaps we need a good kick in our complacency to get us ready for what’s ahead”

        Captain Picard

  6. I have customers who just became my first two 9-5 family- they bought a 2011 2.0T stickshift for him, and when she kept driving it, he put his foot down and they leased her one of her own 🙂 People are definitely still in the market for Saabs, and things are picking up nicely. We’re seeing a lot more traffic in the showroom, and most peoples’ reactions have been extremely positive. We’re also in a unique position among brands, as the 2010 Saabs have so many discounts at this point that people who couldn’t get into such a nice car because of price are able to do so, and people who bought something with a horrible resale value (not naming any German names) can roll the difference into the car and still get financing, as it’s still under the original price.

    • Great update.

      I see both sides of the coin here. Saab has to sell cars and earn money, which makes the discounts in a way “bad”, but at the same time more cars on the streets are about the best live advertisements there is as the 9-5 is a head-turner (no doubt about that), so then the discounts are good.

      Keep up the good work!!

    • We just took delivery of a 2010 9-3 SportCombi….we were originally looking for something more prosaic and admittedly more fuel efficient (Fiesta, Fit, or Prius), but the deal on a 2010 9-3 and the added confidence of driving a super-safe car (not to mention the SC body style, which will help us to downsize our family’s cars/fleet in the next few years) was just too good to pass up.

      I’m still determined to be in the market when the next gen 9-3 comes out. But being a four Saab family right now isn’t too shabby–at least our choice of cars gets attention among our neighbors.

  7. I quite like the grill but think they need to flatten out the bonnet slightly, its a little busy.

  8. Swade,
    You have a great memory… all in all correct. I have a good friend who was in the bidding process for Bowler, so I had some early knowledge. Just hope that the new owner has a business plan at par with my friends. Why not put the 9-4x on a Bowler dakar proven chassis and enter SAAB into one of the most spectacular events. Or the Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. Saab has made it there before with privateer Per Eklund.

    • Hahaa! I keep thinking the same thing and if saab do return to racing/rallying what better than getting Bowler to assist mr Antonov would only be an asset aslo owning the WRC promotion company…is this coincidence, random opportunism or part of a bigger plan for Saab? Either way the possibilities are very exciting!!

  9. I’m struggling with the inserts attached to the fog lights (on the Griffin…and PhoeniX for that matter…but because they’re less prominent on the latter I can live with them there ) . What purpose do they serve? I find them obstrusive…if they were place holders for, say, LEDs I could (barely) be silenced with some (rationalized) function . But it strikes me as an affectation and not a particularly attractive one (especially in bling silver; like the behind -wheel cutouts on the 9-5.) I’d take a can of Gunmetal (or Black ) Duplicolour to them… fast!

    I can’t be alone on this point.

    • What purpose do they serve? They’re foglight surrounds. That’s all.

      They don’t look offensive at all. I don’t understand what all the feet-stomping is about. If the car had no foglights, surely the noise would be louder. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t, it seems.

      The non-Aero Griffin has surrounds in the same shape, but in black. Maybe they could be ordered by people offended by the silver ones.

  10. Nobody’s (at least I’m not) stampling feet about the car having foglights. On the contrary — the car looks empty without them (why I paid several hundred dollars to Saab Accessesories to have them put on GFs non-Aero ’09 9-3 when the car should have had them stock). The issue: Why the extra silver ‘spike’, ‘spigot’…whatever. Don’t see any precedent in the previous generation(s) cars (as a historic connection, say). But maybe I’m missing something…

    • Why the extra silver ‘spike’, ‘spigot’…whatever.

      Why not? It doesn’t detract from anything or look excessive.

      I don’t believe everything needs a direct historical precedent. Key elements being carried over various models retain a design ethos, but design has to be open to new things as well, doesn’t it?

      You loved PhoeniX, right? There are symbolic parallels there, but there’s no direct connection to a previous car with flying buttresses. But the car wouldn’t be the same without them.

      Sorry if I misinterpreted you, but saying “I might be silenced if…..” sounded like the stomping of feet to me. We can debate the legitimacies of various design cues over a steak some time soon, I hope.

    • Noticed them too. I see them as “half” airplanes, “the PhoeniX Saab logo”, the ones you find on the steering wheel, the mid brake light etc.

      Small wings that is what I see. And wasn’t the PhoeniX all about wings?


    • I like the foglamp surrounds. They remind me of jewellery. For some it might be a bit too obtrusive in everyday life but it sure looks nice on special occasions. 😉

  11. Just don’t see the merits of The Spike (aesthetic or otherwise) I’m afraid (where I see function and aesthetics with The Buttresses). Should add that I do like the larger SAAB lettering in the grill however (might retrofit to Turbo X if I can figure out how…). I’m sure there are elements of the ‘re-fresh’ that we all (even you) wish were done differently, or more ambitiously. Happily hash matters further though over that steak (Canadian, if you’re in these parts!) in the none too distant future.

    • I don’t want to bring to the discussion, but if you can’t see the merits of it.. then I take that to a parallell to why has Saab cars different colors than black, as the Ur-Saab was in black.. and all other colors have no “merit” there either? Or?

      Well.. I interpret your concern that you don’t like the design of it. There are always things in some way that never fulfill our own wishes. That’s just the way it is.

  12. I’m sure there are elements of the ‘re-fresh’ that we all (even you) wish were done differently, or more ambitiously.

    I’m sure there are if I were to get that granular, but I tend to look at the whole package. Is it improved? If so, then I’m happy to live with a few things that I might have done differently if it were up to me.

    I’d rather spend my time on things I like, I guess. Any car designed by committee is bound to be tepid. I’m happy to ponder living with a few provocative but inoffensive gestures as long as the whole is satisfying, which I believe it to be.

    (Personal philosophy tute is now over 🙂 )

    Canadian, Swedish, English, Aussie. We’ll hook up somewhere.

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