A brief look at Sweden’s version of business reorganisation

This was posted in comments by CJ and I thought I’d elevate it to be a post for the benefit of those who might be unfamiliar with the process.
The impression that I got from my brief research is that the Swedish business reorganisation act isn’t implemented so much becuase it’s an act that favours the creditors of a business and involves a shipload of supervision that can get in the way of normal operations.
The US version (chapter 11) has an incentive to declare voluntarily and early as it gives the business more control over its destiny.
That said, CJ’s a local so he’s likely to be much more familiar with such things. The scenario he paints seems quite reasonable so I thought it a good idea to share it here to give an idea of what might be on the horizon if Saab were to go that way.
Thanks CJ!
A reorganization is fairly similar to chapter 11. I.e. no more payments are being made to suppliers (and any new contracts / purchases would have better right). A person is assigned to find out if there is a future for the company or parts of it, but it would give some more time to find a possible purchaser.
The Swedish government have effectively said that they where willing to guarantee loans for GM if they made a committment to saab, but GM refused. Instead they wanted the loan guarantee, which would effectively make the swedish government owner after the money was out. Apparently if GM would be the one closing saab they would have closing costs of appr. 8 billion SEK (appr $900M USD). If GM would get the government to take over the company they would be able to get out of this.
The [news] I heard today was that with the current rate saab was burning 500MSEK / month, so then the 5billion loan would be gone by the end of the year. Realistically, the market will stay soft for some time to come so more money is needed, in addition to a stable owner that help return confidence to the market.
The fact that GM will incur large costs for closing the brand (retailers, close the factory not to mention its own reputation and that it wants to be able to sell cars in Sweden in the future) may be what saves Saab.
Its rather clear that GM has been trying to play hardball, and most other governments have agreed to it. This time it did not work, but to get out of the closing costs obligations they may be willing to give a buyer (Chinese i would imagine is the best to hope for as they get a brand, a rather efficient factory, 2 models ready in the pipeline, some development resources and a North American and European sales force).
Strangely enough, it may end up being the Swedish government by putting pressure on GM that gives the new buyer a low entry costs, being better for the brand.

GM’s ‘recovery’ plan and how they’re going to sell Saab up the river

So now we know. The Plan is out there. You can download your own copy of it here.
The most important paragraph in the whole thing is the one I quoted in my coverage of the press conference:

Sweden/Saab–The Company has conducted a strategic review of its global Saab business and has offered it for sale. Given the urgency of stemming sizeable outflows associated with Saab operations, GM is requesting Swedish Government support prior to any sale. The Company has developed a specific proposal that would have the effect of capping GM’s financial support, with Saab’s operations effectively becoming an independent business entity effective January 1, 2010. While GM is hopeful that an agreement can be reached with the Swedish Government to support this direction, the Saab Automobile AB subsidiary could file for Reorganization as early as this month.

This probably fills in the gaps we’ve been seeing between GM’s opinion as to what’s been going on and the Swedish government’s opinion.
The government has been saying that GM is responsible for Saab and they want to see a plan that truly gives Saab a realistic chance of transition. As you can see from the paragraph above, GM’s plan is cut Saab loose by December 31st 2009 at the very latest.
……And If that’s not good enough for ya , Maud, they can file for reorganisation (bankruptcy) this month and become your problem right now.
Make no mistake – GM have strip mined Saab of their own technology (which Saab can licence back if they need to – thanks) and sold them down the river. Saab’s best hope now lies with convincing the Swedish government to throw them a paddle.
Saab have now applied to the European Investment Bank for a loan, which the Swedish government say they’ll guarantee as part of the package of loans they legislated earlier.
Maud Olofsson is holding a press conference tomorrow morning (Swedish time) where she’ll no doubt address the concerns for Saab as raised by GM’s plan.
This response will be pretty crucial.
The Swedish government have long held that they will not take an ownership stake in Saab but a reasonable chunk of their automotive industry is stake here, not to mention their export capability.
GM have cut and run. Good riddance to them, I say.
But the Swedes need to back their motoring industry and the company that has the design potential to be a proud Swedish player amongst it. This company is too good to euthanise.
Also rmember what Eric Geers had to say in my conversation with him earlier:
SU: So regardless of what GM say today, have you still got some room to move in terms of timing, etc?
EG: Yeah. The negotiations will continue. Exactly when they’ll end in terms of deadlines, etc, I can’t say. We just know that we need to plan an operation that can stand alone and then we will try to move on with things. We have to work on how to finance the operation, and that’s the road ahead for Saab.
It’s also important to remember that people need to back Saab up here. It’s OK for some to write a whole doomsday scenario, saying that it’s over-and-out for Saab, but if it’s over-and-out for Saab then it’s the same for a lot of people, and for an important part of Sweden’s industry and identity. It’s not just Saab, there will be a lot of people effected.
It needs to be sooner rather than later. Much sooner. But there’s still time.

Why Saab and Volvo won’t merge….

I can’t remember the site where I saw this, but I immediately threw up and then downloaded it for a rainy day.
Actually, there is something appealing about the elongated body, but that mid section is more messed up than Britney Spears.
And whilst I’m dealing with strange things, here’s something Robin M sent through from a past issue of Saab Scene magazine, in the UK:
Ay Carumba!!!

Saab 9-3x: You’ve built it, now market the daylights out of the thing, please!

You’re a little Swedish car company and you need to sell cars. Desparately.
You’ve tweaked an existing model to make a ‘new’ model that sits nicely in a growing niche. With the costs of running a large vehicle getting prohibitive, you’ve got a great midsized hauler with a proven engine and a fantastic new AWD system. You’ve got a formidable reputation for safety (that you haven’t much enough noise about) and brilliantly comfortable seats. You’re different.
You’ve made the car. Now make some noise!!!
The Saab 9-3x is now out of the bag. It’s probably six months or so before you’ll be able to buy one (for reasons only known to Saab and GM) but Saab have started to do the groundwork now.
The press release is out and this car is – officially speaking – for the rugged, outdoorsy types who like to do it rough occasionally, but don’t necessarily want to do it rough all the time. That’s the line that the press are taking, largely because it’s the line that Saab have fed them in the press release.
I’d suggest there’s more to be made from this, however and if it takes the gay uncle writing for a Mom-blog to tell us, then so be it:

I’m often asked to field questions like: “What kind of car is good for a mom with two kids?” I usually start by boomeranging. “What are you thinking of?” And the answer I often get is “…A Crossover, or SUV?”…..
So what do I recommend? Station Wagons! A Subaru Forester or Outback will do, but if you want to be even the least bit creative, head elsewhere. Audi and BMW make gorgeous, sporty wagons in two sizes (A4 and A6, and 3 and 5 Series, respectively) and Certified Pre-Owned ones are surprisingly affordable. Cadillac is getting ready to release one (CTS) and it’s hot as hell. Volvo is famous for its full-sized wagons like the V70, but the smaller V50 is adorable. VW makes wagons in Jetta and Passat variants. The Toyota Venza is butt-ugly, but is essentially a Camry wagon. The Chevy HHR is wagon-ish in a ’40s delivery van kind of way. The Saab SportCombi is a fantastic wagon.

And the Saab SportCombi just got more versatile.
The competition:
The budget-conscious buyer will head for Subaru because they’re rugged and reliable, but like any market, there’s someone looking at one of those who’ll want something a bit better. A bit more comfortable. A bit more zippy. A bit more capable.
Many of the news services are using the Audi Allroad as a prompt in their Saab 9-3x stories. This is great for Saab as the Allroad only comes as an A6, which means it’s way, way above the Subarus in terms of price. The Saab can sit quite nicely in that space if Saab manage to spec and price it just right (a big if, I know).
The Volvo equivalents are going to be the benchmark and the competition, and I hope Saab can price and equip the 9-3x accordingly. US$37K is the entry point for the XC60 and XC70 and Saab are going to have to bring the 9-3x under that amount.
The key, of course, is as simple (and as hard) as getting the word out. Saab barely have a presence any more in the minds of many. This ‘x’ edition of the 9-3 SportCombi has given it more of a raison detre and I just hope Saab milk it for all its worth.
The market is out there. The product is coming.
Make some noise.

Saab technology we didn’t get to see

In response to a request in comments…..

The quality and scope of Saab’s innovations in the car industry probably outweigh their size or reputation. There are a number of things, however, that we can’t add to that list because even though they were taken quite a long way through the development journey, for some reason or another, they didn’t get to the end of that journey.
There may well be very good reasons why these developments were left on the shelf. The hard part about being a Saab fan and knowing about these developments is not knowing why they were stopped.
Solar cooling – Saab EV1
saab-ev1thnOne of the many nifty innovations incorporated into Bjorn Envall’s Saab EV1 concept car in the mid 80s were a set of solar panels in the vehicle’s roof. These panels generated energy that would then drive cooling fans to keep the interior cabin cool in the sun.
If you think this is still somewhat space age, well it is to an extent, but there are car companies now offering this technology as an option, most notably Audi with their solar sunroof.
More recently, the Saab 9-X BioHybrid concept also featured solar cells in the roof of the vehicle. In this case, the solar energy is used to charge the vehicle’s lithium ion batteries.
The Saab V8
saab-v8-motorThis is one case where we probably do know why the development stopped before it really got off the ground.
Back in the late 1980’s, some of Saab’s cousins at Valmet in Finland decided to try and fit a V8 into a Saab 9000. Spurred on by their counterparts in Trollhattan who said it wouldn’t fit, the Finns developed a V8 engine using what appears to be two Saab B202s.
It slotted right into the Saab 9000 with no modifications necessary, but GM’s purchase of 50% of Saab the year after it was done made the engine somewhat redundant as GM had V6 engines they wanted Saab to utilise. I wonder which out of the GM V6 or “Saab’s” V8 would have been more efficient and reliable?
You can read Eggs’ full entry on this engine here.
Saab Variable Compression
saabvariablecompressionThis was going to be the Golden Egg but it ended up being squashed by a goose in a suit.
Saab variable compression, as the name suggests, should have been the next big development in engine technology. The project started around 1990 and Saab started to make serious noise about it in the late 1990s.
The idea was simple enough: engines are fairly inefficient given that the one engine has to cope with running at variable speeds and loads. What Saab did in response was to develop an engine that featured variable compression via a ‘monohead’ that was hinged on one side whilst the other side moved up and down via hydraulic rams.
The results were very promising. From a supercharged, five cylinder 1.6 litre engine, Saab generated around 225hp and 305Nm of torque, with around 30% less fuel consumption compared to a larger engine with similar output.
Saab Combustion Control
If you believe the press release, Saab Combustion Control was perhaps the most production-ready of any of these technologies. From the October 2000 press release on the technology:

The SCC system will be launched in the next generation of Saab cars.

I can’t claim to understand this one sufficiently well enough, so here’s some details from the Saab 9-3x press materials (the original one that could have been built 6 or 7 years ago, not the XWD vehicle we’ll see next year).

This revolutionary technology from Saab improves fuel consumption by up to 10 per cent and cuts emissions by as much as 75 per cent, all without impairing engine performance. Direct injection, variable valve timing and a variable spark gap are the key features, allied to a spark plug injector which provides air-assisted fuel injection and turbulence for better combustion, as well as a high-energy spark.
SCC allows exhaust gases to comprise up to 70 per cent of the combustion mixture, a far higher proportion than conventional exhaust-gas-recirculation systems. Carbon monoxide and hyrdocarbon emissions are reduced by almost 50 per cent and nitrogen oxides by 75 per cent. The Saab Ecopower 2 V6 is the first production engine designed to incorporate this technology.

A 10% reduction in fuel consumption and a potential 75% reduction in emissions – and again, in 2001 this was intended for production in the next generation of Saab cars.
You can read a full press release on Saab Combustion Control over at Saabnet and there’s also a great article at SAE.org.
Saab’s plug-in Hybrid
saab-hybrid-rear-thumbThe Saab BioPower Hybrid Convertible was first shown at the Stockholm Motor Show in March 2006. The big official news at that time was that it was the world’s first fossil-free hybrid vehicle and it was made all the more notable by the fact that all this technology was present in a convertible car.
The press release that accompanied the vehicle, however, wasn’t the original press release. What the published press release held back was the fact that the vehicle was also a plug-in hybrid. Behind the glued-in rear badge was a plug-in capability that lifted the technology and the mileage capability of the car to new levels. It was reported in Aftonbladet (in Swedish) that GM told Saab at the last minute before the Stockholm show, to re-write the press releases and glue shut the plug-in cover. The plug-in capability of this car was not to be revealed.
The original press release was circulated to several outlets and then pulled by Saab just prior to the Stockholm show. Some of those outlets published the original release, however, which read:

To optimise the availability of ‘Zero Mode’, a plug-in-feature is available which allows the battery bank to be connected to a mains electricity supply for additional charging in the garage. This would, for example, allow a driver commuting in heavy traffic to immediately resume in ‘Zero Mode’ the next morning after arriving home the previous evening having used up all its range. A neat socket is located behind the Saab badge on the 9-3 BioPower Hybrid Concept’s trunk lid.

It is thought that the plug-in capability was covered up as the technology was not going to be featured in light of the fact that GM had bigger fish to fry when it comes to electric cars – the Chevrolet Volt debuted in concept form in January 2007.

Q&A with former Saab designer, Taras Czornyj

It’s a fait accompli that many Saab executives drive Saabs. A lot of the time they get them as company cars and whilst they might be nice versions of the Saabs currently on the market (earlier this year, Jan-Ake Jonsson assured me he was going to nab a Turbo X for a little while), I’m more interested in what they have in their personal garage, what they’ve spent their own hard earned money on.
I was pleased as punch when I learned that one of Jan-Ake Jonsson’s first cars was a Saab 600, for example. And whilst SaabUSA’s Jan-Willem Vester has a Porsche 911 for fun in the US, he’s also got a imaaculate classic Saab 900 back at home in the Netherlands. Saab 9-4x designer Andrew Dyson probably has some non-descript runabout at work in Germany, but he’s also got a C900 in his garage back in England.
These guys love Saab. And so does the guy I’ve been in touch with recently.
The name may or may not be familiar to you, but Taras Czornyj’s work will be very familiar to you. And his personal car is an absolute cracker!!!
Taras doesn’t work for Saab right now, as you’ll read about shortly, but he’s got good reasons for choosing the Saab that’s currently in his driveway, and good reasons for the way it’s been enhanced, too.
Here’s a little Q&A we did via email in the last week:
When were you with Saab?
I was at Saab from 2000 to 2006. I started in Trollhättan and moved to the new GME Advanced Design Center in Göteborg in 2003. Its a company I wanted to work for because of its design heritage and potential.

What did you work on?
My first project when I joined Saab was the 443 (9-3X) exterior design. There was no wagon at the time only a 9-3 based crossover. The project had been underway for a least a year. Michael Mauer restarted the project with a new phase of design development and it was then that my design was chosen to be developed. At this point the Sportcombi came into the picture. From a design point of view the crossover was the lead vehicle. Unfortunately this car was canned by GM, one of the reasons being that it was too small for the US. Interestingly the X3 and the Outback felt right at home with little or no competition in the US.
93-X Concept exterior design…..
This project ran parallel with the wagons. This concept was the preview to the 443. It was the same platform but in coupe/ hatch body style. Shows the rear design theme you see on today’s sportcombi.
I worked on the two last years of exterior production development of the 9-3 convertible. Following a design direction set by Michael Mauer and Tony Catignani.
9-3 Sporthatch Concept exterior design…..
A preview to the sportcombi. This project was close to me for a couple of reasons. This was the first show car to be built in house at Saabs prototype modelling dept KMX. There were a few all nighters spent on the car putting it together but the final result was world class. Secondly the exterior design was basically the canned 443, that the cladding splits were filled and the car was lowered giving a more rally on road look.
9-3 Sportcombi exterior design…..
A very satisfying project. A hard slog with engineers at times but well worth it! I learned a lot and worked with some fantastic people like Ziggy Bis the 9-3 studio engineer and Erik Sörum from design quality to name just a couple. I am particularly pleased about the rear lamps. One thing to point out was how streamlined and efficient the staff at Saab were, something I realised later, working at Volvo. There was myself on exterior design, Lars Falk on interior and we basically discussed the design directly with Michael Mauer. There was not the overblown set up as in other companies with a designer, senior designer, assistant chief designer, chief designer, exterior chief, and the design director.
Next generation convertible concept…..
A study into what could the next cab could be. A skunk works type of group was formed to look into this. Somebody from marketing, engineering, myself from design, and a few others. We test drove and benchmarked competitors, brainstormed and came up with a roof concept which was presented as a full size model to GME managment and culminated in a patent that I am 75% credited with. The basic idea was to be shown a couple of years later on the 9-X Air concept. These types of project are gold dust for a designer, where you are given the opportunity to start with a blank sheet and really do something new.
2008 9-3 facelift…..
I developed the design theme and carried out the early design development for the face lift which Ola Granlund later followed through to production.
I also worked on a variety of advanced design projects for various brands in the GM family. These will not see the light of day but might influence future products.
What have you been doing since you left?
When GM decided to move Saabs main design operations to Germany I made the decision not to follow. After six and a half years I felt I needed a change of scene and to experience the design process at another company. So in late 2006 I took up a position at Daihatsu in Ikeda, Japan leading a small group of non Japanese designers in a strategic and advanced design group. We developed ideas which ultimately became the Mud Master C, I love that name, OFC-1 and the HSC show cars.
In 2007 I started a design company Mutations AB together with my wife Ingrid who is also a designer. This was a real opportunity for a bit of freedom and to choose exactly the projects I wanted to work with. We work with a variety of partners primarily within transportation.

I spent most of 2007 at Volvo cars. I worked on a proposal for an all new model. Very interesting to see things from the ‘other side’.
Since late 2007 I have been working with Hirsch Performance developing initially the 2008 9-3 range exterior products. Wheels, aerodynamic kit, spoilers etc. Looking forward to working on future Saab cars.

I am presently leading the exterior design on a project at Scania Trucks. An exciting and new challenge in an industry where design is gaining more importance.
I am also tutoring at Umeå Institute of Design.
Cars that you drive?
As a daily driver a 2008 9-3 Sportcombi 2.0 Biopower Aero. Hirsch have recently fully upgraded it and I must say in my honest humble opinion the car moves like a rocket and looks s?#t hot!

I also own a 1995 Ovlov 480 Turbo, one of the last ones built. It’s the only ovlov I would drive and a car I loved when I was younger.

It’s actually quite Saabesque in concept, a practical sports car. A shooting brake bodystyle, one that I admire, think 2001 9X, P1800 ES, Z3 coupe. A body style gaining favour again with cars like the 2007 9X, Renault Altica concept, VW Scirroco, Mini Clubman and the C30. Now and then I take a spin in my wife’s 2002 9-3 Aero.
And a final question….how the heck do you pronounce Czornyj??
It’s pronouced chorneey. If you can, you roll the R.
Its Ukrainian and means black. Very designer! 🙂

My thanks to Taras for taking the time to fill us all in and sharing a few pics of his cars with us.
He is a deadset legend, as we like to say here in Oz.

At the SOC 2008 – one man’s view

I’m pleased to bring this account of the Saab Owner’s Convention 2008, from Jonny Del. Jon’s covered several Auto Shows in the northeast on TS’s behalf over the last few years, and has done a superb job once again here.
Jon accompanied Steve Shannon for part of his time looking around the Saabs on display, and provides a superb account of the show in general.
Photos are clickable, as always. Thanks Jon!!!
This years SOC was greeted by picture perfect weather, we could not have asked for better conditions. Although some serious spf was required otherwise Terry’s Sensonic car wouldn’t be the only thing bright red.
I must say that this was the shortest trip we’ve ever made to travel to the National Convention. Jeff Proposki and I set out Thursday around midday, and our families were going to drive out on Friday. Well an hour and fifteen minutes later we made it to Devens for the shortest recorded trip of 66 miles. It was almost anticlimactic when we pulled into the parking lot after such a short journey. I guess we’ll pay the price next year when we drive to Copper Mountain in Colorado.
We arrived to be greeted by the turbo cars of the GM heritage collection, as well as the 9x Bio-hybrid that was flown in especially from Sweden. The 9x was being guarded by a Turbo-X Sport Combi, a black ’08 9-5, and a Lynx yellow convertible. The cars from the heritage collection were all turbocharged examples of SAAB’s history. Starting with the beautiful ’78 99 turbo, and the ’85 SPG that GM restored specifically for the unveiling of the Turbo-X last November in Boston. Along with a 400 mile Viggen there was also the Long run 9000, the Talladega challenge NG 900, and a NG 900 that was raced by Simo Lampinen up Pikes Peak in the late 90’s.
We spent Thursday cleaning cars and catching up with old friends as well as indulging in some libations. Jeff and I were waiting to see what Jon Williams had done to his newest SPG, since he had stripped the car down in February to do his first grounds up rebuild on a C900.
We would have to wait a while since he just got the car fired and out the door from his house in New York around 2:00 pm Thursday afternoon. So we decided to see what other cars were around the grounds. We bumped into our good friend from the other side of the globe, Steve Bunton world SAAB traveler extraordinaire, as well as the Coyle’s who were nice enough to put him up while he stayed in Beantown.
Being in New England there are always plenty of vintage cars that come out for the weekend. Plenty of Bullnoses, Longnoses, and Sonnets. As well as a group of immaculate 99’s turbos, including Mike Hedges original condition car from Vermont.

After grabbing a pint and a bite at the local Irish pub with Jeff, Abigail and Peter, and Steve it was back to the parking lot for a few hours of tire kicking and catching up. There we were greeted by Jon’s new White Airflow SPG, and what a stunner this car is. Basically a new 2008 C900 SPG, with so many intricate details that we could do a piece just on the build of his car. A few hours of chatting and it was off to bed.

Friday dawned beautifully, and we were off on our day early. Trying to get the car wash functioning properly for all those who wanted to use it, before the mad dash at 10:00 am to the SAAB parts tent. This year was a little tamer when the doors opened, and everything seemed much more calm and organized. Wheels, did you say you wanted wheels? There were plenty of sets of Fondmetals and a smattering of other OE wheels but not in sets. If you needed oil, dexcool, or stainless polish you were in luck.
From the parts tent we were off to see all the cars that had come in overnight. Along the way we bumped into PR director at SAAB Jan-Villem Vester, and had a chance to chat about what beautiful cars had turned out for the convention.
The poker run went off in the afternoon as well as a few tech sessions, but because of the weather quite a few people were hitting the pool. The afternoon was relaxed and we had a chance to look at the cars that SAAB brought up close.
Friday’s dinner banquet was a great gathering as everyone ate well, and the hotel did a great job with the food. Simultaneously NESA was holding a BBQ for those soles who weren’t interested in the more formal affair and speaker, all in the name of fundraising for the Chrisman fund. After dinner Sten Wennlo former SAAB global president gave a lovely talk on what it was like at SAAB in his day. After the dinner was over it was back to the car park for more tire kicking and libations.
Saturday dawned with another sunny day, and the chance to do some final detailing before peoples choice. Off we went to the show field with coffee in one hand and final detailer in the other. The guys from NESA were on hand to organize the field as people pulled into the show area.

While the cars were being judged I had a chance to speak with Steve Shannon on the state of SAAB’s newest models and what was to come. Steve had just had the chance to drive the 9-4x a few weeks before and he raved about how it drove and handled. And if you have seen the car in photos from the auto shows Steve said about 97% of the concept car was going to make it into production, and better yet it will be on the ground in dealerships in about 12 months. Even better news about time frames is the fact that the all new 9-5 will only be a couple of months behind the 9-4x’s arrival in you local dealer. Steve will be off to Sweden in the next few weeks to drive the new 9-5. Hopefully someone in Sweden will get some shots of those cars driving around the countryside.

Then Jan-Villem took Steve around to show him some of the beautiful and rare models that were on hand at the show. Starting with a beautiful Griffin edition 9000 that was a Concours contestant with all of the original items and accessories that came with the car. Next we looked at Mike Connelly’s 1984 Prototype SPG show car. One of six cars that SAAB brought into the US to showcase what the SPG would look like. Finally a very beautiful 93 Bullnose in powder blue, Steve seemed very intrigued by all the cars at the show especially the rarer ones on hand.

After lunch and peoples choice judging it was time to line up the cars for the group photo. Once again lining up for the picture seemed to go off mostly without a hitch, and we were able to get the photo done again in record time. Especially if you were around for the Ohio conventions line up.

The rest of the afternoon was spent looking at cars and enjoying company of fellow SAAB lovers. While waiting for dinner we had the chance to look over the GM Heritage cars, and decide on which one we would most like to take home.

The banquet always seems to come faster that you want it to, but that is unfortunately the nature of the beast. Steve Shannon was the speaker on Saturday night and he spoke about the new 9-5 and the 9-4x and how they would wow the SAAB community. Talking about the models available, he spoke very highly of the 9-3x 2.0T that is coming to market this fall. If you want the perfect balance of performance and economy Steve gives this combo the big thumbs up. So as we went into the night with awards and kudos as well as the promise of another great convention in the high altitudes of Colorado we adjourned for one last night of late night tire kicking, and spud launching.
As we made our way to the lot John Moss was showing off his new toy. A gas fired heater system for your car. Interestingly it uses gas from the car and then lights it off in the combustion chamber to make heat. Not exactly what I would want in my car, but better than what Frank Stromquist of SQR wanted to do with John’s toy. Frank insisted that in about an hour he could turn the heater into a little jet engine. Needless to say John passed on Franks offer.

Meanwhile Carl and Kenny were in the process of firing up their 4-barreled DI fired spud cannon. I must say the sound of the consecutive barrels firing off was quite an experience. Carl keeps outdoing himself every year with more innovative ways of lobbing spuds. So as the night passed on, I ended up going to bed around 3:30 am.
Sunday morning was a quick little flurry of the SAAB corporate roundtable, and the charity auction. Followed by packing up and heading out on the long journey home for most people.
Kudos’ go out to the Chairman Linnea Krajewski and the gang from SCNA, as well as the efforts of the newest members/officers of NESA, which in the winter months was finally resurrected by a group of young enthusiastic SAAB owners who were willing to take over the reigns of the New England club that has been sitting idle since the convention in 2005. I look forward to next year’s convention in Colorado, as well as hopefully good news over the next 6-8 months on new SAAB products and where we are heading as a brand.

PA Johansson’s awesome 800hp Saab 9-3

I haven’t written much about performance Saabs lately. I think it’s one of the side effects of having the Viggen laid up and waiting for repair. Tuning a 900 like mine any further than what’s already been done to it would just seem a little irresponsible.
It was a real pleasure, therefore, to receive this link on PA Johansson’s brilliant 800hp Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan. I saw this vehicle at the Saab Festival in Sweden last year but unfortunately it wasn’t running at the time.
We’ve seen scattered coverage of this car before, including some video, but this writeup is especially from a modified car enthusiast’s perspective and details the full story behind this incredible vehicle.
Yes, it’s probably quite impractical for day to day use, but there’s something about this sort of thing that gets the heart pumping in a big way…..
Saab 9-3
I’ll let you click through to the story to read it in full. Aussie readers of Street Machine back in the 1990s will find the text style quite familiar 🙂
Just have a look at the modifications done, however, and you’ll realise that building a car like this is one heck of a detailed and expensive proposition.
And yes, those 800 horses are coming from a Saab 2 litre engine.
2.0-litre, four-cylinder 1994 Saab 900 engine, standard head ported by Mike Billet, custom head bolts, 90.8mm bore, 78mm stroke, Trollspeed 34mm inlet valves and 32mm outlet valves, Wargia/Trollspeed adjustable valve timing and adjustable cam tensioners, Piper 298-degree cams with 12.9mm lift, JE pistons, Verdi rods, 9.35:1 compression ratio, oil filter removed, SETRAB oil cooler, Spal fan, 8 x 720cc Siemens injectors, 3.5 bar fuel pressure with TWM fuel pressure regulator, 40-litre ATL fuel cell, custom catch tank with two Bosch 044 fuel pumps, 1.5-litre catch tank with double filters, two high-pressure fuel lines, Wargia custom fuel rail, Henrik (Jesus) custom four-branch manifold with 44.5mm pipes, two Tial 38mm wastegates, two Tial dump valves, Turbonetics/ITS T76 turbocharger, 3″ pressure pipe from intercooler to turbo, 3″ stainless steel exhaust system with 3.5″ downpipe, Racecoolings custom intercooler, Racecoolings radiator, TIBUC and Trollspeed water pump, Pectal T6 ECU TRANSMISSION Tractive five-speed sequential gearbox, AP Racing carbon fibre 200mm triple-plate clutch, Trollspeed lightweight flywheel, Tractive four-wheel drive system, Tractive hydraulic programmable active differentials: Tractive 3.31:1 rear differential with Volvo 850 steel diff housing, Sellholm Tuning 3.31:1 front differential, Svea Bid hybrid Volvo/BMW driveshaft
Max power – 802bhp, max torque – 775Nm at 2.9 bar boost using 105 octane race fuel
Forza customised Bilstein coilover setup front and rear, custom made setup by Pelle at Wargia
Front: Tarox twelve-pot calipers with 380mm discs and 2006 Saab 9-5 custom hubs.
Rear: Tarox eight-pot calipers with 360mm discs and 2006 Saab 9-5 custom hubs
10x20in BBS RS GT wheels, 255/30/20 Yokohama Advan Sport tyres
Saab Diners Club Racing Team carbon fibre front spoiler, carbon fibre front arch panels, carbon fibre rear arches moulded into metal panel (6-7cm wider arches front and rear), carbon fibre extension for rear bumper, Swedish Composite Engineering carbon fibre boot lid and roof, standard Saab Aero side skirts, standard aluminium bonnet with pins, Wargia Engineering rear wing, Porsche Titan grey respray with custom Saab griffin graphics.
1325kg wet with 56%:44% weight distribution
Race certified Rally Products multi-point roll-cage, rear seat removed, Sparco Evo VTR bucket seats, Sparco 3 harnesses, Tilton pedal box, Wargia Engineering steering system, Sparco snap-off steering wheel, carbon fibre floor plates, custom centre panel cover to cover mounted-further-back engine, standard Saab dashboard with carbon fibre inserts, VDO gauges, WIKA boost gauge, Aim dash data logger, custom centre panel for automatic fuse switches, red button for fire system, Wilwood rally-spec handbrake. In boot: 40-litre ATL fuel cell, custom catch tank with two Bosch 044 fuel pumps, two separate fuel lines to engine, high pressure Fogmaker water sprinkler system, carbon fibre panels in boot floor and sides

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