This is the true story – Bottom line of what sparked off the saving of the Saab Car Museum.
I was like most people within the international Saab community very stress over the possible split of the Saab Car Museum. A unique and valuable museum for our brand. If split it might not have been possible to recreate again. Some of You might already have read the article written by Mr. Fröberg at daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet www.svd.se, the article where he interviews Peter “Poker” Wallenberg on how he together with Saab AB, City of Trollhättan and his own family stitched together a plan to save the museum.
Here is a link to the article: (English translation at the en of the post.)
In the article “Poker” refers to “a private person from SaabsUnited contacting me”, that was the spark that set things off in the right direction.
There is the SMS/text message exactly as I wrote to Peter “Poker” Wallenberg.
January 2012 2.48 PM Peter,
Har du någon ide på hur Saab Bilmuseum kan räddas? Vi inom SaabsUnited har försökt med insamling mm. Men bättre muskler behövs.
Med vänlig hälsning, Jörgen Trued
Translation to English here:
January 16th 2.48 PM Peter,
Do You have any idea how the Saab Car Museum could be saved?
Within SaabsUnited we have tried to collect fundings, but we need bigger muscles.
With kind regards, Jörgen Trued
Peter, a big THANK YOU for Your action in saving the museum.
Translation of the svd.se article:
Saab Museum came as a letter in the mail
Saab Museum was minutes from being scattered. Then Poker Wallenberg stepped in and saved it in the same time frame he got married. Everything happened in 48 hours and the onset was – a letter.
Stockholm January 21, 2012
It was the day after the bids on the Saab museum would be in. Peter Wallenberg Jr. was dressed to the teeth to his own wedding in central Stockholm. Nervously. Then a signal in his cell phone. “Still nothing.”
A few weeks earlier in Trollhättan
Saab’s bankruptcy estate had no money and the administrators put the car museum on the market. The whole world could bid for 120 unique cars. Bidders were given a week until 20 January on, and the highest bid or bids would win. All were taken by surprise.
I was so happy! We were there to stay. We understand that it means something to the district.- Poker Wallenberg
It creaks in the herringbone parquet wood flooring when we sit down. The small round meeting room is painted in rust red. All is quiet on the Arsenal Street 4 in Stockholm.
He rushes in with a happy smile, and it takes a minute before the first big laugh is seen on his face.
– It was extremely tight time margins, said Peter Wallenberg Jr. – or poker as he presents himself as.
After running the Grand Hotel Stockholm and regarded as having the least power in the Wallenberg economic sphere, he is now a member of the Investor and Scania, above all, Chairman of FAM, the company that manages the Wallenberg Foundations.
The man in front manages 50 billion SEK.
Wallenberg family and Saab automobiles were linked together like a zipper for over 40 years. Poker’s grandfather, Marcus “Dodde” Wallenberg (1899-1982) not only gave his nickname Poker – he thought the little boy had a poker face – he personally managed and ordered the launch of Saab’s first car, despite massive opposition by the Board of directors. Old Marcus was fascinated by technology and driven as well as Saab’s development engineers by a desire to get ahead.
While Poker’s father, Peter Wallenberg, Senior, was for a long time heavily involved in Saab. The Poker Wallenberg tok the leading torch, for both of Saab Automobile’s boardrooms and behind car racing car steering wheels – he loves driving and spends most weekends for more than ten years at racing.
– But now I prefer to drive my wife to work at the Karolinska Hospital a Saturdays, says he and his whole face smiles.
Suddenly, we arrived in the present and the turbulent days between 13 and 20 January.
– It took a while before I realized … that the museum was for sale. It went very quickly, he says.
6 million SEK from the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation, Trollhättan city bid of 14 million SEK. The remaining 8 million SEK up to 28 million SEK came from Saab AB Linköping.
A private person from SaabsUnited the enthusiast site called (TEXT/SMS), who was scheduled to meet with museum director Peter Bäckström.
– I said, “Please call me after the meeting” and then I started thinking: How can we help?
A seed was in the ground, but time was running out. A few days later and barely two days before the offer period expired, he received an email. From someone he did not know.
– I thought, wait a minute: This is well written.
It was the cultural and motor journalist Claes Johansson, well known in the Saab surroundings who had written a kind of memo about the importance of saving the museum, its collections and archives – and the last minute sent to someone who he thought would understand.
– He had an angle where he asked the question: What does this mean in full? Saab museum is not just physical vehicles. Saab museum is design history. Engineering History. The Swedish industrial history, says Poker Wallenberg.
– I sent the letter around it to those who I thought should read it, families and foundations. I said: Just read this.
One person who got it was his cousin Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman of Saab AB.
Poker Wallenberg then called Tore Helmersson, Managing Director of Trollhättan development company Innovatum – who said they had been sitting with the administrators and the local authority and that Saab has been part of solving discussions. It looked like a tough situation.
Meanwhile Poker Wallenberg worked idea to support a bid, within the family and the officials of the foundations.
– I was given the mandate to go in and support through of our foundations. They support primarily research and education. But without the Saab’s archives and cars there is no base for research. It was from that angle we looked at the issue.
It was a little over a day before the offer period expired.
Then there was the wedding chores, others had to continue negotiations and just before time expired, 12 o’clock on Friday, January 20, an piece of paper came out of bankruptcy trustees fax machine. There were the amount of 28 million on it. Behind was the defense group Saab with 8 million and Trollhättan city – with 6 million of the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation.
Then came the civil wedding in Stockholm – he wants to keep private – and four days of nail biting.
– I was so happy! We were there to stay. We understand that it means something to the Trollhättan region.
He was silent.
– Of course I am proud that the family helped develop Swedish industry through this company. It is clear that you are proud of it.