When I grow up…..

……..I want to be a Saab.

This weekend my “Anniversary 9-5” has had to go to the Doctors for a new Swell Actuator Manifold.

Chris Hamley Saab Specialist Ltd, based near Yelverton, Devon, is the Saab Independent who is kindly doing the work for me at such short notice. Chris and his great team have been servicing and selling Saabs for over 30 years and are able to answer most questions put to them concerning Saabs built over the last 60 years.

One thing they offer to all customers is a curtosy vehicle service and the one I have the joy in driving for the next few days is an Saab Astra Van. Many of you will know that it would have started life as a Vauxhall Astra Van but when you look around the van you will see only Saab badges. Notice the number plate too, “Saab Doctor”. A very fitting van to be employed at Chris Hamley.


12 thoughts on “When I grow up…..”

  1. Or completely stupid. I don’t see why they don’t use a Saab 9-3 or 9-5 wagon. The Astra isn’t a Saab and putting Saab badges on it doesn’t make it any more Saabish, it just makes the rest of us who see this car laugh. If they’d kept the Vauxhall grille logo, that’d be fine, but when the swapped it for the Saab roundel, they crossed a line if you ask me.

  2. Be aware that this is not a Saab dealer. It is a used car outlet with a Saab sign and a dodgy van.

    You should ask yourself if his people are Saab trained (and up to date ?)and if he has all the special tools to handle newer models.

    Be very careful


  3. Instead of going to an independent why not go to a friendly Saab dealer during these precarious times and give him the business.
    Yesterday I had a 120,000 mi service done by my friendly Saab dealer in IL. Changed belts, plugs etc and a rt.front stabilizer link. Saab moving ahead!

    • Vagabond
      If you are small independant and you know your customer well and you can’t afford a fleet of loner Saabs you lend the guy your Van-just to help him out a bit.

      Saab do not make parts vans, neither do Scania or any other affiliate.
      Saab-Scania used to use VW vans as there own parts vans-this is normal practice from HQ thru to Specialists.

      Even RiVer Garage Saab used to use fiat 500s as loners (that did raise an eyebrow or two and I believe a registered main dealer should try a little harder than that)

      However in this instance-nothing dodgy here.

  4. I did not say they were a dealer, they are an independant. A very good garage that has been around for many years. The van is not dodgy, it is their works van with an advert for their business on the side. Yes they are trained and yes they do have the correct tools.
    This independant also works very close with a main dealer, between them they keep a lot of Saabs on the road and alive.

  5. Haha, this is so fitting. Using an Astra Van service vehicle to wear down and not thrash a Saab is genious! That is respect for a brand they are really passionate about. And at the same time it is really good that they as British support their own industry.

    People complaining would not like to see a 9-3 or a 9-5 as a service vehicle, all banged up inside… Now would you?
    So see this as something fun and start complaining when someone offers Kitcar Sonett’s based on a Beetle instead.

    Cool Robin! I’m expecting you to show me this vehicle in the flesh real soon. 😉

    That is a really good company that. Serviceminded as all ought to be. Hats off!


  6. I think Saab Auto misses a great opportunity by NOT having good old 95 Combis with diesels for cops and cabs and commercial/industrial sales/delivery vehicles except in Sweden. I know MY 93 SS trunk is always packed with necessities and looking back, if I coulda bought a 93 combi in 03, I woulda.

  7. This AstraVan is a sad symbol of the state of aftersales @ Saab. Just like every other premium automaker, Saab’s strategy is to charge arm and leg for maintenance and parts, the dealer’s strategy is to swap as many parts as possible under warranty and charge Saab for it and the owners’ strategy is to go independent the soonest they can (i.e. after the short warranty expires).

    I do believe that with a large fan base and Saabs staying on the roads relatively long with an owner base investing in maintenance, Saab and the (committed) dealers could be making a good back out of it. The key being mechanics’ training. I haven’t heard of independent mechanics being poached by the dealers or anything to make older (3-6 y.o.) Saab drivers keep coming to dealers for servicing besides occasional discounts for parts.

    Oh, and I can’t purchase extended warranty from Saab. Even Citroen and Peugeot do that, and now even make this semi-standard. Plus Peugeot has flat (very competitive!) rates over here for standard maintenance and simple repairs, and low markups on parts. Guess where all the new and old Peugeot drivers go for their maintenance – and the Peugeot dealers have ample customer bases to farm for deals, leads, used car business (and yes, it’s more profitable than new cars in the end!) and such. And that’s for a brand for people who don’t care what they drive!

  8. I’ve often thought that SAAB should make a “van” type vehicle. VW and Mercedes have offerings and they are relatively well priced against the competition. The Swedes don’t built a small van and Scania only build trucks and buses. It means that anyone requiring a van/transporter has to buy in import. The current 9-3 platform would make a well proportioned van. I’m sure there are many Swedish companies who would buy a Swedish branded commercial vehicle if they had a choice.

    Oh and Robin, don’t worry about the comments above…. It’s no different to some of the pictures Swade used to show us of a pontiac or Toyota with Saab badges on it. Some people need to chill out and get a sense of humour again.

    • YES, PLEASE!

      A Saab minivan would be amazing and easy as sin to market. Parents want something that’s safe, stylish and economical — all the best attributes of Saab.

      We’ve had a couple of Honda Odyssey vans for most of the past decade and it’s pretty indispensable when you have >3 kids, a dog, and take long car trips. The Sportcombi is adequate for two adults and two kids, but that’s about it.

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