We received an email earlier today from James McGuire and Julie Gardner with a great read on their combined events that came together on January 14th. This is too good not to share with everyone.
When I (Julie) first heard there were to be worldwide rallies to support SAAB in January I must admit it did not immediately occur to me to host one. Mostly because I knew my dealer principal was set to lose quite a chunk of money on his new car inventory and that the brand was a bit of a sore subject here- quite understandably from his point-of-view. But also because I never did anything like this before. Then the phone rang and my friend, James McGuire, he wanted to know what I was doing to show support. He wanted to host an event because the nearest one at that point seemed to be in Boston. He felt he could get the support of his local dealer, SAAB of Willow Grove (a.k.a.The Great Britains), and I said I would talk to the wife of my dealer principal about the idea. Fortunately, she saw the value to holding such a rally and gave me her stamp of approval. Jim was quite excited about the prospect of doing something in his area too but we were concerned two events on the same day and so close to one another would only take away from us individually. He then came up with the genius idea of meeting individually, but convoying to a third, neutral point by both our groups and a real plan was born.
As we began planning and I spoke to my own club (Central Penn SAAB Club) about support, I was able to find a local supplier for the stickers to show solidarity and pick up a couple of classics from our group to place in the showroom for conversation and general “eye-candy”. I found that we had a few folks who would be happy to attend and got advice on a route for the convoy to avoid traffic and provide a more scenic route. I got the OK to order donuts and coffee for the attendees and made up a flyer to post around the dealership to make our customers aware of our commitment to supporting SAAB post-bankruptcy. Over the next couple weeks I received many emails and had more than a few conversations with service and parts customers regarding the “state-of-SAAB” and where Kelly SAAB stood in the grand scheme of things. The list of RSVP’s continued to grow and soon I had a list of over 50 attendees and 35 cars planning to show on January 14 and show the world what the SAAB brand is all about.
On Friday, January 6, the excitement was bumped a notch when I received an email that Tim Colbeck, President and COO of SAAB Cars North America, wanted to join us at Longwood Gardens, our neutral meeting spot for the two convoys! I actually had to read it twice to be sure I wasn’t seeing things. Would it be OK if he arrived at 2:15? Are you kidding? It would have been OK if he wanted to come at 3am! LOL! I replied that we would be pleased to have him join us and that we would adjust our departure time from the dealerships to accommodate his scheduled arrival. I contacted Jim at once and he was as enthusiastic and excited as me at the honor of having Mr. Colbeck join us. We wanted to alert the press of course but did not want to put him in a situation where GM haters or folks only looking to give him a hard time would attend the event, so decided to keep it under wraps. We advertised a “VERY Special Surprise Guest” to join us and it wasn’t until the morning of the rally that we announced just who the guest would be to our respective attendees.
January 14 arrived and was a cold, windy day with only intermittent sun in Lancaster. Thankfully, no snow was on the ground or forecasted, so even the classics would be sure to make the event. We had a 1974 Sonnett III courtesy of Theresa and Ryan Gamber and a 1978 99T courtesy of John Webber in our showroom as well as the most recent 2011 SAAB 9-5 sedan in Java and a Laser Red 2011 9-3 to show just how the cars have developed over the years. The selection of vehicles that arrived over the next 2 hours showcased all that is amazing about SAAB- from the “Klassisks” like my own 87 900Turbo Convertible, to the 900 3 and 5 door models, to the NG 900, the 9-3, 9-7x and finally the newest 9-5 and 9-4x models, we had them all covered from the last 3 decades. What an awesome sight indeed!
Read moreOur Saab Rally