IntSaab 2015; 9-5 style – part 3

DSC01050_50_suThis is part 3 and final part in the IntSaab 2015 journey, you will find part 1 here , and part 2 here

Tuesday it was time to head for Loen to meet the “real” IntSaab participants. After a late night on Monday, it was nice to have a day with a shorter distance – to Loen was it about one and a half hour to drive. We arrived to Stryn, and after a quick wash we roll into Loen. As a local – I have driven through Loen hundreds, maybe thousands of times – I thought it should be easy to find the site for the event. First we drive trough the city on the main road, then through the city on a smaller road, but nothing that could look like a place for a Saab-convention. OK, we where early but to not see anything I thought seems little fishy. So after a little phone-call, we found it, at the combined school and community center, the exit from the main road was about 50 meter after where we choose the smaller road back to the city… All those times I had driven by the exit from the main road, I’d always thought that area belong to the nearby camping site. :p So this was todays lesson, I learn a new thing every day!

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IntSaab 2015; 9-5 style – part 2

This is part 2 in the IntSaab 2015 journey, you will find part 1 here

Monday was the big day for the Swedish guys, one of the biggest highlights for every tourist in Norway – Trollstigen. The journey through the eleven famous hairpin bends that takes you up to 850 meter over sea at the roads highest point. This road is one of Norways biggest tourist attractions, in 2014 approximately 850 000 people visited Trollstigen. But we had to drive a few hours before we get there. To get to Trollstigen we decided to go via Stryn and Geiranger, and in that way we got the chance to visit another spectacular place. Some of you maybe remember the picture I shoot of my “new” 9-5 about a month ago, and to my big surprise was the lake now ice free, and not much snow left in that area. But we headed forward on that road, an afer a few kilometers we came to our first  target of the day, the road up to Dalsnibba. Dalsnibba is a viewing point 1500 meter over sea level and has a great view down to the more famous village Geiranger. From Dalsnibba and down to Geiranger it is approximately 21 kilometer if you follow the road, and since Geiranger is at sea level we climb in an average of ~7%, but in reality it is much steeper because there is parts of the road that is pretty flat also. Up to Dalsnibba we had to pay 110 NOK since is it a toll road, the road it is not a part of the public road system, it is just open during the spring/summer and the only purpose is to bring tourists up to enjoy the great view. We also stopped at Flydalsjuvet, to get the classical Gerianger-view. If you ever have seen a advertisement from “Visit Norway”, the chance is pretty big you have seen that view.

Luckily we was at the Dalsnibba early, on the way down to Geiranger we met about 10 buses with passengers from the cruise ship you see in the picture, so I guess there was pretty full up there when all that people arrived. Down in Geiranger there was as usual heavy traffic and much people running around, that was not the place to be if you are afraid for your car… We had only a short stop in Geiranger, so we continued our journey up Ørnevegen with the famous Ørnesvingen, another road with nine hairpin bends. That road is road you see in the background on the pictures with view over Geiranger. This area has for sure many main-roads with hairpin bends, if I have counted right we travel 5 distances this day with spectacular hairpin bends. So if you have a thing for this type of roads, I can highly recommend you to go from Stryn, up to Langvatn and take road 63 via Geiranger – Eidsdal – Trollstigen and you will end up near Åndalsnes.  We came just in time to Eidsdal for the ferry departure over the fjord, if we had missed it it hadn’t been the worse thing since there was two ferrys shuttling over the fjord, but for a native it always is a good feeling and maybe almost a sport to wait as little as possible for the ferry 😉

So, after a quick dinner and some tart since one of my travel companions had his birthday, we were off to Trollstigen. Since we came from the “Geiranger-side” we was already at the top, so we stopped at the visitor center for a quick walk to the viewing point in the mountain side. The two pictures above is taken from that viewing point, and as you can see you have a first class view to the traffic up and down Trollstigen. As you can this is not a motorway exactly, the road varies from 4-6 meters wide. So when two buses, motorhomes or cars with caravans meet in heavy traffic, it is quite interesting to see how drivers behave. Call me wired, but I can look at this for a quite long time…
So we drive Trollstigen a few times, while we wait for some company. A other Norwegian with a Hirsch-equipped 2011 2.0T Aero (9-5 of course, but I guess you already had guessed that) got scent of that we was in the area (OK, he had heard some rumors on Facebook), and of course we want to take a look at his car and shoot some pictures! So after admiring each others cars and a trip down Trollstigen, all three cars drove in a convoy to Ålesund quite satisfied.

 

IntSaab 2015; 9-5 style – part1

intsaab2015In the beginning of August IntSaab 2015 took place, and this time it was Norway and the club for classic Saabs in Norway “Gammal Saabens Venner” (GSV) that host the event. For those of you that has attended on a IntSaab event you know that usually the event starts with different pre-tours, most common is to have pre-tours from different border-crossings to the country that go to the place where the event is located. Then the main event is arranged during the weekend, most often the second weekend in August. This year the committee from GSV wanted to do something different, they want to show people what a beautiful country Norway is,  so they decided to put together a “rolling” IntSaab.

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The plan was to start in Bergen, but with no traditional pre-tours. There was organized pre-tours from Kristiansand and Kongsberg to Bergen, but compared to earlier years this was a pure transport distance. From Bergen there was put together a program with different daily stages based on how long distanced and how much/what you wanted to see, but still with time for be a tourist and having a good time with the other that attended on the tour. The first day the program said driving from Bergen to Flåm, second day from Flåm to Skjolden, third day from Skjolden to Loen. Fourth day was a restday in Loen, before the fifth day from Loen to Åndalsnes, via the famous Trollstigen. From Åndalsnes there was arranged a post-tour all way to Trollhättan for those who wanted to drive in company out of Norway. Now you all probably think this is a giant event to admin, book accommodations and so on. But with so many people on tour and so many preferences and budgets for the accommodation it was up to each individual to book accommodation, the organizers provided a list over possible sites to stay overnight at – with all from tenting via cabins to hotels. And there for sure was the whole specter, I saw those who slept in their cars (not so bad as it sounds like, just look under what you can do if you own a 96!), those who had a Topola on their Saab, those tho bring a tent, caravan or a combicamp, and those who chose to stay in a cabin or at a hotel.

But I must admit, I was a bit skeptical about this since I’ve grown up on the West Coast of Norway, and know what weather we have during the summer (a lot of rain), and I thought that maybe would be some problems with the logistic … But I must said right now, I was wrong about this. What I have heard and observed, there was only happy faces! Of course I guess there was some minor problems, but as long as things gets solved people are happy…

As I mentioned I was a bit skeptical about this, and when I personally don’t are a big fan of camping in a tent (especially if there is rain in the air) and had seen all the places before I was not so very tagged about this. Some Swedish friends had also plans to attend, but was not so super-enthusiastic about the IntSaab route. There was also some issues with the time-frame, it look like we don’t could make Trollstigen because lack of time.
So we decided to take a different route with some longer daily stages, so I met the guys in Bergen Friday evening in their 2011 9-5 2.0T before we at Saturday morning drove up the cost on small country-roads to the Ålesund-area where we had our base for the next days. The only plan we had was to go to Geiranger and Trollstigen, and catch up with the rest of the IntSaab people in Loen Tuesday and their rest-day Wednesday.

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So after checking the forecast (important stuff i Norway) Saturday evening we decided to wait with the Trollstigen trip until Monday because bad weather in the area Sunday. So what to do Sunday? I had a plan, and that was to go to Vestkapp, 496 meter over sea-level, the most westerly mountain plateau in Norway. The weather in this area can change extremely fast, but just this day it was truly amazing with sun and almost so wind, so if  you like us go there a clear day with no fog you get a magnificent view. (Panorama view over) After been up to the viewing point we go to the surfer paradise Hoddevik, famous for just surfers, and scenery for some advertises for one of the other Swedish based car-brand, you know the things from Torslanda. This day we also got some great company, a friend of mine that also have several Saabs – and this day he and his family took the 2011 9-5 TiD 160 out for a spin, so we were three 2011 9-5’s in a convoy. 🙂 I can tell you, new 9-5 is not a common car in Norway, and especially not if there come three in a row… When first car passed people, you could notice that people turn around, and when car two and three passed people turned completely with a expression that is unbelievable…
In Hoddevika it was time for some food, and after finally we find a place it was possible to park and fire up the grill, it was time for some sausages and meat. We sat in the shore with a beautiful view, and after everyone were well satisfied we headed back home via inspiring roads, if you ask me nothing that stood back for the roads we was going to drive the next day…

Saabs on ice in Norway!

Last weekend (13th-15th of February) the classic Saab club in Norway, “Gammalsaabens venner” (GSV), had their annual winter-meet on a ice track.
The track is located in southern Norway, at Dagali, approximately 220km Northwest from Oslo. GSV was from the beginning a club for the two-strokes, later all cars older then 21 years were welcome, and for a few years ago all Saabs are welcome in the club.
I got this text and some awesome pictures from one of the attendants, Oscar Emil Lea. Thanks for sharing this with us!

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The weekend started Friday evening when people start showing up, for a dinner and company into the evening.
Saturday we met at the ice-track at 9:30 in the morning and prepared the cars for driving. Some put special tyres with serious studs like they use in rally, other used their usual road-legal tyres with or without studs. At 10:00 the driving started with the smell of two-strokes and the sound from tuned V4-engines. At this point you could drive as you wanted around the track with no program, and took place in “Øvre Svangtjørni” at the river “Numedalslågen”. The track is a machined ice track that was made a few hours before arrival and had several hairpins, chicanes and some great stretches. The speed was high and the “fun-factor” was at top!

At 12 o’clock was it time for the traditional “Ice-track soup”, rolls, coffee, hot chocolate and a quiz. After a hour break the skill driving started. This was at a different track, and the run consisted of slalom up to a roundabout and round it and park in a “garage”, then we was reversing the same way and end up parking in the “garage”. The cars was divides into three classes; rallystud, stud and studless.

Some of the cars got minor damages from the driving at the ice-track, one broke a driveshaft, another damaged the tow hitch, some plastic and a bumper, but all took it with a smile…

Later this evening there was a common gathering a the local hotel with dinner, prizes for the winners from the quiz and the skill-driving and good company into the evening. In total there was approximately 20 cars on the track during the weekend, all from two-stroke to a 2010 9-3.

Sunday is as always a day for breakup and departure after breakfast, but it isn’t more then a year until next time!

For more pictures, visit Oscars Flickr page – there is about 1100 pictures from this event…

Saab 9-5 sweeps ‘Broom’ car of the year in Norway

Broom has been described to me as being like Norway’s version of Top Gear.

I wrote about their Car Of The Year poll here at SU some time ago and it seems the interest of Saab fans in the poll has led to a positive result for Saab.

Now that the vote is over, many thousands of votes are recorded and we have a clear winner: Namely, the Saab 9-5!

There are two good outcomes from this poll.

First, they’ve written some genuinely complimentary words about the Saab 9-5 in their text about the poll.

Second, they’ve accepted the fact that fans of the prominent brands in the poll have spoken. The Saab 9-5 won with 42% of the vote and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta came in second with 26% of the vote. Both cars seem to have attracted their fans to the poll, a fact that Broom see as solid support for the vehicles.

– We have seen that Saab fans have mobilized powerful, but it is not the only explanation. The 9-5 gathered votes steadily and it is clear that many think this is a very exciting new car – just as we do at Broom,” says our own bilekspert Benny Christensen.

It’s a great result for Saab in Norway and I hope it leads to some more interest for the brand there.

Thanks to Per for the tip.

Saabs on public display in Tromsø

I wrote about this display back in September and it’s great to see it happening now, with a few Saab owners participating.

Tromsø University Museum, way up above the Arctic Circle in Norway, is doing a series of photos and stories about people and their cars….The photographs will be shown at Tromsø Museum’s permanent exhibition FLASH darkness in large format out on one of the museum’s walls in December and January. The images will then be included in the museum’s collection along with information about the photograph.

One of our SU regulars, Thilo, lives up in Tromsø and he got involved, sitting for portraits with his Saab 96 as well as his Saab 9000 Aero.

They were displayed today and it’s no surprise that Thilo was there to exercise his considerable photographic skills and capture the moments.

Apparently there were a few other people with Saabs participating in the event, too. I’m not sure we’ll get photos of those, but it’s good to see Thilo’s cars featured an

Saab Caravan test drive event in Norway

Olav’s road test of a Saab 9-5 1.6T was part of a long test drive event – a Saab Caravan – being held by Saab Norway.

The event is about half way to being done, but the good news if you’re in Norway is that there are still plenty of dates where you can join in the fun.

Click.

Saab Caravan Norway Dates

Check out the Saab Caravan page at Saab Norway for full details and make sure you get some seat time in Saab’s new 9-5.

And kudos to Saab Norway for a great initiative.

Saab Caravan Norway

First Report: Saab 9-5 1.6T

There hasn’t been much said about the baby of the Saab range to this point. The 1.6T must have just started making its way to dealers as I haven’t read anything about it yet.

One of our longest serving regular readers – Olav S from Norway – recently attended a dealer event and had a chance to drive a couple of 9-5s, including the 1.6T.

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Today I was invited by our local SAAB dealer here in Stavanger, Norway, to meet SAAB Norway’s SAAB Convoy. They had brought a lot of cars with them (a lot of different versions of both 9-3 and 9-5), but I was only interested in different versions of the new 9-5 tonight. Earlier this year I test drove the 160 hp TiD with the automatic gearbox. Nice car, but since I don’t care about diesels in fine automobiles I was pretty much excited that today I could take a ride in the 220 HP Aero with automatic and XWD. And I did, BUT, I also test drove a 9-5 with the new 1.6 Litre and 180HP engine!

Some impressions below, I’ll start with the newcomer.

SAAB 9-5 with the 1,6 litre 180 hp engine, blue metallic exterior with cream coloured leather (I don’t remember the codes), manual gearbox, navigation and (I guess) 17” alu wheel on soft winter tyres:

  • The interior is superb, and the cream colored leather suits the car very well.
  • The transmission isn’t the best I have tried, but not bad either. It is slightly ‘sluggish’ in lower gears, mainly 1st.
  • Somewhat soft but very comfortable suspension. Precise steering.
  • Some torque steer occurred under acceleration, but I guess that might have something to do with very soft winter tyres. Not a big problem at all, but this brings me to the next point:
  • I was really surprised how well the small 1,6 engine moved this heavy car. Very impressive if I may say so! On low revs it is a bit ‘lazy’ but when turbo pressure started to build up the heavy 9-5 took off pretty well. The engine runs very quiet, but is slightly more noisy under acceleration than I’d expected. When I got used to the ‘package’ the whole thing really impressed me. Remember: the 9-5 is a big and heavy car, and a 1,6 litre engine isn’t exactly a giant powerplant.

Then I jumped in and took the Aero XWD with 220 hp for a spin. The Aero was fitted with (I guess) 19” turbine wheel, automatic gearbox, HUD, navigation plus more. Colour combination: Silver with dark leather.

  • Colour, external trim and interior is just superb! Very, very good seats, with some new and great adjustments for the front seats. I also tested the rear seat and with my 1,9 meter above ground level I had no problem whatsoever back there. Excellent ergonomics in all seats!
  • HUD is highly recommended. The whole package in that car is recommended!! A must have…..
  • The automatic transmission isn’t the world’s fastest maybe, but I found it pretty good.
  • I also tested the ‘manual’ gear shifts from the paddles on the steering wheel and they worked pretty much faster than my 2005 9-5 but maybe not as fast as the fastest ‘automanually’ gearboxes in this class.
  • The 220 hp engine is pretty fast for this heavy car, and the car is extremely fun to drive especially on twisty roads of all kinds of quality. Very quiet engine, actually the whole car was very quiet. Very high ‘MUST HAVE FACTOR’!

The 9-5 with the 1,6 litre engine felt to have a harder suspension setup than the Aero. I found that strange, but forgot to ask the SAAB representative when I returned the keyless thing.

It’s a short and a fast summary in very bad English, and maybe it’s not news at all, but I just wanted to share my enthusiasm.

I asked my Dealer about how the SAAB sale was going, and he just smiled and said the good old SAAB days are back. When I was out there they sold several new SAABs, and they had also received around 20 new SAABs this month – they were all already sold out to customers. Well, not exactly, the Dealer should keep two as they needed more demo cars.

It was very nice watching the new enthusiasm at my dealer, and what a healthy sign it was to see lots of people queueing in front of the desk, signing their names on the list for test drives.

Go SAAB, GO!

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