This past Friday night over 250 of Saabs faithful came together under one roof at the Simeone Museum to share a night talking about the cars and people that make Saab so different. This is an event that will not be forgotten by those in attendance that got a chance to speak and listen to the former head of Saab Cars North America and present head of Saab Parts North America, Tim Colbeck. Victor Muller former owner of Saab Cars and present owner of Spyker was scheduled to have attended as a speaker but had to withdraw at the last minute which sounds like a big let down and to some I’m sure it was but Tim Colbeck did an amazing job of taking over as a main speaker and his personal stories really showed everyone how dedicated he is to the Saab faithful and brand. Tim along with John Moss and Bill Jacobson were great and very appreciated by those in attendance.
When I spoke to Harry Hurst from the museum this week, he had said that Dr. Simeone had said of the event:
“This was the biggest – by a factor of two – event of this nature that we’ve ever done. It is a testament to the loyalty and love that Saab owners have for their cars.”
Tim Colbeck was equally impressed with the turnout and being a Saab and car guy in general, he said “the parking lot looked like a Saab museum of its own. Great group of people there.” In the video attached you can watch as he talks about pulling into the parking lot to the event and the cars he saw.
Thanks to Kanundrum for sharing this video of the event with us:
Yesterday I asked for anyone who attended and wanted to share their thoughts with us to do so and received a couple of emails from Julie Gardner who most people now from Kelly Cadillac Saab and is a great representative for Saab sales people (we can all learn a lot from her) and James McGuire who most people who use Facebook will know of from his activities there or maybe you’ve seen him at Carlisle, whatever the case he is a huge supporter of Saab.
First off, this is what I received from Julie:
From the moment I heard there was to be a show at the Simeome all for us SAABers I was excited and the evening did not disappoint.
Despite Victor’s inability to attend and thus another missed opportunity for me to meet him and get a picture, I knew that the best possible man had been invited to replace him. Tim Colbeck could do more for our community at this time than Victor anyway so the loss really was Victor’s, not ours.
Driving down the PA Turnpike we passed 2 other show attendees (Both in White NG 9-5s) which only made the journey longer. I could not wait to arrive and see my friends, the cars, and to make new connections with like-minded folks.
Entering the parking lot I was pleased to immediately see cars and people I knew. I only wish the lighting had been better for a picture later in the evening as the area was full of SAABs from every era and as full as I’d ever seen it in my 2 previous visits.
Walking inside more friendly faces and hugs (I am known as the hugger!) making me smile and my soul happy. The first car in line was a red bullnose -my favorite color- and a car that to me is the epitome of the brand. Moving down the line there were so many great vehicles -each one unique and beautiful in it’s own way. I barely had time to stop and appreciate them fully for all the socializing which is why I will surely make another journey to focus more on the history and the amazing innovation that is SAAB.
The food was great too-including an ultra-hot-pink beet salad that I just had to try. The speakers were fantastic as I knew they would be. Victor even sent some comments and answers to a few questions Dr. Simeone presented to him. John Moss was terrific in painting a picture of Sweden, it’s people, and why the cars are what they are. Tim expressed his passion for the brand and his desire to help the community keep their beloved cars running forever. I believed them each wholeheartedly and have much respect for their loyalty even in an unpopular time.
Honestly I cannot image a more well-spent $25 and 7 hours.
And this from James:
I found out about the “Saab Spirit Lives On” event to be hosted at the Simeone Automotive Museum, (Philadelphia, PA) through online sources and decided to give it a look. The location was close enough that if I did not go it would be rather embarrassing and shameful.
Initially I was thrilled at the chance to listen to and maybe meet the guest speaker, which was supposed to be Victor Mueller. However as days clicked towards the event Mr. Mueller needed to bow out and Tim Colbeck of Saab Parts North America (SPNA) became the main speaker of the evening. I found this to be very comforting because I knew from a prior meeting with Mr. Colbeck that he would be a great speaker and a true wealth of knowledge about the FUTURE of Saab here in North America.
Online chatter picked up as the date grew closer and in the true spirit of Saab friends, I agreed to provide some “airlift” to a guest coming in from out of town via Rail to attend the event. Since I was already going, this only made sense to help a fellow Saaber to and from the show. When we arrived I was happy to see some good friends in the parking lot already, Julie Gardner and Jerry DeShong. The night was already off to a great start! While walking around taking in the sights, I was able to finally meet some long time facebook “friends”. While the conversations ranged all over, it always came back to Saab.
The electrifying atmosphere just reinforced why we love our Saabs. Tonight was about the brand, the cars, the history and the people who make it all so special.
On a personal note allow me to share a quick related story.
A few days before the event I placed a deposit on a 2008 Laser Red Aero, which was a few states away from me. Although the dealer sent me tons of pictures and very good details I was starting to second guess myself. My thoughts were of how this didn’t make sense to normal car buyers, to put even more “stock” into an extinct car maker.
But then again, we’re not normal car buyers now are we?
As I soaked in the sights and felt the energy from the 250+ other Saab fans I knew I did the right thing by chasing my dream and going after the Saab I wanted. (hint hint, go find your dream Saab now if you can do it)
After walking around the exhibit we all settled into the presentation area for some Swedish style food, drinks and stories of this and that while we waited for the main event. The speakers were all intriguing to listen to, full of news and personal stories about the history of the brand.
Instead of telling of my “interpretation” of the speeches made by the guests I encourage you to watch them for yourself since a long time fan of Saab did us all the favor of recording it for everyone to see. Some people may suggest that John Moss who spent 37+ years with Saab just rambled on story after story. I found each and every one of them not only charming but also a testament of just how dedicated the workers of Saab became to the brand. Watch the video, you won’t be disappointed.
After the presentation, Mr. Colbeck along with John Moss offered themselves for casual conversation as well as answering some of the more difficult questions. Some of the topics Julie and I asked were about parts availability and cost comparison across the Saab Car spectrum. Naturally we asked about warranties for those 2010-2011 Saab owners who were left with nothing when Saab Cars collapsed. My question was, would SPNA be able to offer something to those 2010-2011 owners who have stuck it out with Saab? Could they (the owners) be rewarded in a way, perhaps at the 5 years of ownership mark? Maybe a free service, oil change, something as a way of saying “We know it was a tough road, you could have bailed on us but didn’t, thank you for staying Saab.” My question appeared well received as if Mr. Colbeck and his dedicated team have already kicked it around.
I made it a point to thank Mr. Colbeck and his team on behalf all of us as a community for the tireless effort they are pouring into SPNA.
I wish I could say there was a favorite car there, but I loved them all just the same. If I had to choose one that I could take home, it would have been the 1978 99 Turbo, hands down. This museum really offered a great look into vintage cars with an emphasis on the early racing cars. If you’re ever in Philadelphia and have a few hours to spare, it’s well worth the trip and cost of admission.
What about the cars that are currently on display at the museum? Well take a look at what is there, it is well worth the price of admission to see these iconic Saabs all under one roof without having to go to Sweden.
I also understand that there is already talk of another Saab event for next year and from what I’ve heard it will involve Saab racing this time but of corse we are early into this considering the Saab Spirit Lives On event is still going until March the 17th with an admission of only $12. Get out there if you can, you won’t be upset you did, you’ll only be upset if you miss this opportunity.
Anyone telling you Saab is dead needs to see these photos of a brand that is more then a car, it is a way of life and the spirit will never die thanks to the people who make it what it is. When you can get this many people together to talk about the history of SAAB, just think of what can come out of a restart and a future.
The gifts that were handed out by Tim Colbeck were framed copies of the poster below that will be made available through SPNA shortly.