Tuesday Snippets – Remembering Bob Sinclair edition

There’s a couple of great tributes to former Saab USA chief, Bob Sinclair, hanging around the internet today. If you don’t know, Bob passed away on May 10 due to cancer.

UPDATE: There is a fantastic tribute over at the New York Times. Thanks nahtanoj!
UPDATE II: There’s also a fitting article at Motor Trend.

The Hemmings article that I linked to in an earlier piece on Bob has had some wonderful comments added to it from people who knew Bob over the years.

I came to know Bob Sinclare as a former Saab dealer (1975 – 1997). He was a true automobile enthusiast, an insightfull CEO, and a delightful gentleman. He made the rare effort to get to know all his dealers, he respected our opinions, and he became our friend. If not for his efforts, Saab and many of us dealers would not have prospered during his reign. I wish he were here to save the company today.

Bob was truly a Saab man’s Saab man.
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There is also this tribute over at Edmunds (and by the way, Edmunds, that’s how you post a link, a common courtesy on the internet). Despite their lack of nettiquette, they do have a great ending to their piece:

It took Bob Sinclair less than 10 years to fashion a formidable image and reputation for Saab in North America, along with a near-fanatical following. It took GM considerably less time to gut the brand.

I couldn’t agree more. We need some more Bob Sinclairs at Saab today.
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This Total Abstainer guy from Flickr – who I’ve featured a few times in the last few months – is really setting a high standard when it comes to Saab photography.
Another fantastic effort:
TotalAbstainerSaab9-3.jpg
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There will be a new UK-based Saab “megaforum” launching in the next few weeks.
It’s called Saabtalk and if the current forums out there aren’t shaking your tree, then perhaps that’s a URL you should bookmark.
It’s not live yet, but there is a signup box where you can receive notices about the progress, etc.
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I have a strange mental relationship with tattoos.
As with car art, this is something I wouldn’t do myself, but I admire the dedication the person must have in order to get it done.
From James R:
Saabtattoo.jpg
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For those who want to learn, Car and Driver have an instructional piece on how to do the Scandinavian Flick
ScandinavianFlick.jpg
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Finally, to all those who have emailed me in the last week or so – my apologies if I haven’t sent a reply.
I’m getting to that point that some website operators get to, where the volume of email that comes in is pretty heavy and whilst I read everything, my capacity to reply is limited.
No offence is meant and I will try to credit all stories here on the site where appropriate.
I hope you understand.

A message from Anne Sinclair

This was posted at Trollhattan Saab earlier today.
Thinking that Bob’s wife, Anne, would have preferred that the intended recipients see it, I contacted her and asked her permission to post her remarks as an article here at SU.
Permission received, I’ve repeated them here verbatim.
I’d like to thank Anne for taking the time to write and once again, extend our collective condolences to the Sinclair family.
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This site was just forwarded to me by Kathie Sinclair, one of Bob,s cousins. For those of you who don’t already know, Bob passed away on Sunday, May 10. On Tuesday, May 5, the luck of the Irish began to run out for Bob when he was evacuated from our home to Serenity House, our wonderful hospice facility here in Sana Barbara. We were able to return to our home on Sunday afternoon, being spared the damage that so many homes surrounding our neighborhood suffered (there have been fires in the Santa Barbara area – SW). Perhaps Bob waited until he knew we were able to go home because he slipped away peacefully that evening.
It is gratifying to know that so many knew what a great guy he was aside from being the wonderful husband, father and grandfather that he was to us. Some were able to tell him how he helped them in many ways in recent days and I know that meant so much to him.
Thank you for your kind words about Bob Sinclair. We treasure them.
Bob’s family; Anne, Bob III, Rebecca, Gregory, Elisabeth, Stephen, Jennifer and the grandkids.
bobAnnesinclair.jpg

Online tributes for Bob Sinclair

Owing to time and dateline differences, I think I’m obliged to say that former Saab Automobiles USA chief, Bob Sinclair, passed away a couple of days ago. Regardless of where you are in the world, we heard the news yesterday, and it was a big shock even for those who knew of his illness.
Sever articles are now online, all of them fitting tributes to a man amongst men, an automotive executive who won the hearts of everyone he met.
If you haven’t seen it already, Saab History have a great writeup.
The Saab Club of North America has posted a tribute on thir homepage.
Hemmings have a lovely news story on Uncle Bob’s passing as well as a link to an interview they did with him a few years ago. Highly recommended.

If you were asked to describe a Swedish car, you would first think of a Saab or a Volvo. But what connotations come to mind? Both brands are known for upscale appointments, safety, practicality, and in turbo form, power. But it wasn’t always that way–in fact, in the 1950s and 1960s, when they were still relative unknowns in middle America, they were recognized more for economy than for any demographic they appeal to today. One man’s vision and nearly boundless energy changed all that.

Automotive News also have a story on Bob’s passing that’s full of respect.
This is a man who will be sorely missed.

bobsinclairHemm.jpg

Vale Bob Sinclair

BobSinclair2007.jpg I’ve just read over at Saab History that the legendary former head of Saab in the United States, Bob Sinclair, passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer lasting just short of two years.
I knew this was coming, but nothing really prepares you for the news, does it?
I only met Bob once, at his home in January 2008. One of our regulars here, 1985Gripen, was kind enough to pick me up at the airport in LA and together we drove up to Santa Barbara and chatted with Bob for a couple of hours in his dining room.
We went downstairs and checked out his bikes and his Volvo-powered dune buggy and then took a drive to a small pub for some food, me riding shotgun with Bob in his Ferrari.
Needless to say it was an outstanding day. I was braindead from 14 hours on a plane and an extra two hours on the road to get there, but I hung on every word Bob said.
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Ryan and Carl have prepared an excellent summary of Bob’s career and life at Saab History, and I recommend you click through and have a read.
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If you’d like to listen to my phone interview with Bob from 2008, please click here.
Eggs posted a tribute to Bob back January 2008, around the time I met Bob.
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I heard that Bob had taken a turn for the worse a couple of weeks ago so I took the chance to write a final note to him at that time.
I’m not sure if he had a chance to read it, or have it read to him. I hope so. But for me the main thing was having a chance to write it – having a chance to tell this extraordinary guy how much he meant to so many people.

Hi Bob,
I’m not even sure you’ll get to read this, but I thought I’d send it anyway. Some things are just too important to pass over.
I just heard via the V-Saab list that your cancer has spread further and that as a result your condition is deteriorating. I can’t tell you how sad I was to hear of such a vibrant man being struck down in this way, but I guess it will come to us all.
Eulogies are no good to you once you’re gone, so I just wanted to take a moment to tell you my perspective on how important you’ve been to me – a guy on the other side of the world who you’d never have met if it weren’t for two things: your own generous and hospitable nature, and a cooky little car company from Sweden called Saab.
Like many, I’ve developed an un-natural passion for these vehicles and the pleasure that they bring. And the more I read about them, the more I came to appreciate the Herculean role you had in building up their presence in the United States (and effectively, around the world as well). That must have taken a fair bit of business acumen, but more than that, it must have taken something special.
An understanding of human nature? An appreciation of the off-beat? A willingness to take on something crazy? Boundless enthusiasm, energy and good sense?
All the stories I read illustrated that you had these and many more qualities in spades, but they paled into insignificance when I actually got to spend some time at your home back in January 2008. I’m just some guy from Tasmania with too much time on his hands and yet I sat with the great Bob Sinclair – listening to war stories from the old days. I could have sat there for hours, Bob. Your energy and enthusiasm were right there on your sleeve and I felt you could have walked into SaabUSA’s offices that very day and commanded more attention from staff and dealers alike, just by clearing your throat.
I still hold on to some vague hopes of working for Saab one day; a new Saab that’s free from General Motors and able to undo all the abuses they suffered during that time. If that dream ever comes true, I’ll credit a lot of the continued enthusiasm I have for the brand, for the Saab way of life, to my experiences reading about and talking with you.
You inspired me in ways that only a few coveted sports stars and my own father managed to inspire me and I’ll carry lessons from your life, for the rest of my own life.
My heart goes out to you and your family, Bob. Thankyou for everything you’ve done and everything that you are. I hope the coming months bring you some happiness and peace, my friend.
Cheers,
Steven Wade
www.saabsunited.com

Interview with Bob Sinclair – reprise

Former SaabUSA chief, Bob Sinclair, graces us with his presence every now and then here at SaabsUnited.com. He did so a few days ago, leaving some encouraging words for Jan-Ake Jonsson via the comments section on the Dagens Industri interview article.
Bob’s one of the largest figures in the history of Saab. Anyone who drives a Saab Convertible drives a little bit of Bob around with them everyday.
In January 2008, I had a stopover in California on my way to the Detroit Auto Show and along with 1985Gripen, I met both Bob and his wife, Anne, at their home in Santa Barbara. A few months later, in March, I recorded an interview with Bob over the phone.
I featured this interview at Trollhattan Saab at that time, but thought I’d load it up again here at SaabsUnited. I hope those of you who are new to this site might enjoy hearing it for the first time and those who’ve already heard it, I hope you might enjoy it again.
The interviews play back via video, so if you have trouble viewing video on this site, please click here for part 1 and click here for part 2.
If you get video OK here, then the interview is waiting for you after the jump.

Read moreInterview with Bob Sinclair – reprise

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