Great Western Saabs Group

I received an email today from Chris Ivory who is one of the co-founders of Great Western Saabs from the UK. When I originally posted about wanting to do posts on clubs and individual stories that make Saab what it is to many of us he posted the following in comments that I didn’t quite understand at the time:

and of course, there are groupings who are not affiliated to any Saab Club, who do not like their formal, nee political and rigid structure, preferring the informal gatherings which are so successful, reaching those ends of Saab fraternity, friendship and co-operation by other means.

Great Western Saabs, and Saab Enthusiasts spring immediately to mind.
e-mail to be forwarded in due course

What I didn’t understand was how is Great Western Saabs not a club but a group? After reading what he has written below and checking their website out, I have a much better understanding and it makes total sense.

As promised , here’s a brief resume as to how Great Western Saabs came about.

It really owes its beginnings to the very first ‘Saab Trek’ in 2004. I note that other Saab forums now use this term when requesting moving Saab parts and bibs and bobs from one part of the country to another. That’s the special camaraderie that Saab owners have.

Here’s copy of the blurb at the time – video of the end of the event can be found ->HERE<- .

David recently sold a set of B&O (nice!) speakers on Ebay from which all proceeds go to the ‘Babe Appeal’ – a childrens hospice. Saab owner and all round good egg, ScottyMc won with a generous ‘donation’ of £40.

Now Scott lives up north and the speakers are down south. So the most logical thing to do is pack them up and post them. But being Saab owners (Clarksons smug Saab smile here) we thought we could try something a little different.

Scott and David hatched a plan in which Saab enthusiasts play pass the parcel. They take the packages (obligitory photo of handover here) a little further north to the next Saab owner, who will once again have a picture taken…… and so handovers continue until the speakers reach Scott. However, the packages are taking a scenic route, in order to involve as many people, and, of course raise as much money as possible. Read on.

The box will have a message form attached where each person can add their comments, message or signature. It is also planned to send an article and photos to the SOC for possible inclusion in ‘Driver’

At each handover the picture/s are uploaded to the site so we can all keep up with our very own ‘Saab Trek’. Anyone who’s willing to take part would be encouraged to make a minimum £5 donation to the ‘Babe Appeal’ – yes, we know it’s a bit of a cheek, but hey this really is a good cause, more so if you happen to be a parent, and remember its almost Christmas.

Scott has also very kindly offered to contribute extra to the cheque for what the postage costs would be, if the items were sent.

As the event started in Bristol, we had great support from local drivers at the start, as well as the presentation of the substantial cheque, which in the end amounted to well into 4 figures.

As this started as an informal gathering, we then decided that we would then visit, and display together, at charitable shows wherever possible, and quickly a group identity was required, as these grew popular and successful. GWS was born. We never turn away anyone with enthusiasm, or ownership for another marque. They are always most welcome to join us, although, of course, Saabs are the core.

GWS We Are Many We Are Saab Event


We decided to do more than Car Shows, concentrating on the social aspect, and so monthly pub meetings were established, as well other non-car related events, so that all the family could be involved. These continue to this day, too. As GWS is informal, these can be done on the spur of the moment. A few quick phone calls, or a heads-up on our forum, and away we go!

GWS is a non-formal grouping. There is no structure, no membership fees, and ‘members’ can drop in or out whenever they please. Some we see at every event, some we may see once a year. A warm welcome to old and new is always a guarantee. We have very strong friendships and co-hosted events with South West Saab (cue: Robin Morley), the most recent being the hugely successful Bristol Classics Show at Shepton Mallet, earlier this year.

GWS goes from strength to strength, with support and visits from people as far away as Hull, Liverpool, even Scotland. It appears that our unique, informal style proves so popular.


Chris Ivory
Great Western Saabs

What I take away from all of this is that this group is one that is open to anyone and there are no real requirements of you whatsoever, come and go as you please. These people get together for informal visits, bbq’s, walks and car shows and are open to anyone. This is what Saab is all about, being a welcoming place for everyone. They almost seem to be a support group which is probably a nice way to look at things as we are all there to support each other and that’s the kind of group I want to belong to.

Great Western Saabs also have an online store to purchase their group clothing at what looks like great prices, what a great way to show support of your group.

I’ve noticed in the last two Club posts that I’ve put up that we haven’t had many comments, come on Saab community, this is the fun stuff, we are getting to know who we all are and more importantly what we are. Let’s say hi to these clubs and groups and give them some feedback.

Thank you very much Chris for sharing your group with us and now that I have liked the group on facebook, I look forward to your next events.


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Chris Ivory

Many thanks, Jason, and to SU.

Dan P

Sounds like a great way to operate, and a lot of fun – I think informal gatherings can have a lot more to offer than ‘official’ club events, because the onus to get something done is on everyone, not just on a chair or club representative. It makes for more off-the-cuff days out, and something that begins as casual and fun usually remains so. Good going guys, if I were still in the UK i’d love to join in! Alas, the road trip courier setup would be much more involved here in Australia – 1000km each maybe?

Luca S.

I like this spirit !

In my opinion not every club has necessarily a rigid formal structure…. it depends of the targets and of course, on the persons which are leading the Club.

I think is not so difficult to coincide formal and informal occasions into the same group of people/association.. after all, many clubs are born from simple groups of friends who begin to meet and hang out informally, just go on like this.. 😉

Chris Ivory

Yes, this happens – formal shows like the Shepton Mallet, Swedish Day, and others, like charitable things for Schools, CHSW, and the like are far more relaxed.

It goes to show that to reach the same ends, there are other means. as for targets; we all just go with the flow!

Martin T16s

Thank you both Chris and Jason. I live in Wales and stumbled upon GWS via acquaintances, conversations and via Robin Morley some time ago and decided to take the trek over from Wales to one of their events. I had a most thoroughly enjoyable day. By a long way the part that made it so enjoyable was the warmth of reception and friendliness. These are by far some of the nicest most genuine people I have ever met. In fact for a first visit it actually felt like I had known them for years, such was the welcome. Yes it… Read more »

Martin T16s

Oh and I will be joining their convoy to Belgium at the end of this month!


I remember the first Saab Trek. It was ********** freezing out there!!!! We did the changeover at the Heritage Motor Museum at Gaydon.

David Dallimore

Hi All, David Dallimore here, one of the co-founders of GWS and organiser of the original SAAB TREK. Just to say thanks to everyone for their positive comments about GWS and for ‘getting’ what we are all about. We have been around for a few years now and continue to run with the same original values. Also a brief thanks to MartinT16s – you almost made me blush! 😉 We are looking forward to meeting some of you at the SAAB International In Belgium in August, hopefully I will be there in my two door 99 turbo, which is currently… Read more »


This is what I’m hoping our Carolina Saab Club will grow too. Not specifically the part delivery but just the non-formal gathering of people who enjoy their Saabs and other people.

David Dallimore

spgeorge, there is no great master plan. We just felt unfulfilled as a regional group of the national SAAB Club, so decided to do our own thing. The following success stil continues to surprise us all. Here is the introductory copy from our forum: A brief introduction to what makes GWS, GWS. We are not a car club. We regard ourselves as a loose group of SAAB enthusiasts. Some of our group attend most if not all of our gatherings, some appear a few times a year whlist others we may see only once a year. As there is great… Read more »

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