A Saab Family affair

This is my favourite post of the month. I just love Saab Stories like this. Saab Pride at its best.


Before you read this post, please have a look at the following photo.

If you’re not familiar with that car, which I photographed at the Saab Festival in July 2010, then you need to click here and read the story behind it. It’s a very impressive story about a young guy named Jacob – shown with Erik Carlsson in that photo – (re)building his first car.

Done with that?


Jacob has just bought a VW Van and is travelling around Europe with some friends. The impending journey was a good excuse for a family get together, so whilst they were all there in the one place, they thought it a good idea to pose for a family photo.

I’ll let Jacob’s father, Hans, take it from here…..


All our old family Saabs and their owners were gathered to a dinner and a photo session.

My father and mother (87 and 85 years) bought their first Saab 96 TT in 1963 and ever since then they have driven all the models right up to my fathers retirement 21 years ago – when he bought a second hand 9000i. Now, after 350.000km, they still use it as a car for every day use.

My daughter Tine (21) restored my father’s Saab 900, a 1980 model, when she got her licence 3 years ago. We had kept the car in a garage for 7 years and now the “next generation” is ready to be transported safe in the same car – That car drove my parents, me, my wife – and our daughter – when she was born.

The blue 96 from 1970 was bought as a rusty and worn out car in 1976. It was then rebuilt and used for 400,000 km before it was taken apart, welded and galvanised and sold to a good friend. Then, after 4 years it came back and was sold to our neighbour son, and then after 5 years we mounted with Bosch K-jet and a Ström 1.85 l engine – all in all more than 800,000 km.

The black Aero 900 from 1985 has been my wife’s Saab for nearly 20 years, now with 670.000 km. It was driven down by a Volvo truck once, had a new front added on and then a decade later it turned over in a winter storm ferry tour, between two four wheeler Land Cruisers, becoming 2” narrower in the cabin and a bit higher! We brought it back with a little hydraulic work and some new paint.

The yellow Sonett, from 1971 was a US import 22 years ago, all taken apart sandblasted, hot galvanised and rebuilt. It was then used as daily car for 10 years, doing winter with snow, rain and salty roads! No problems at all. Then used twice for tour Norway and Nordcap in 1997 the 50 years anniversary for Saab, and again at 2007 the 60 years anniversary. It now has a 1.85 Ström engine and K-jet and special gear – crown- and pinion wheel 9:38, produced in Denmark.

And the brown Saab 92b -1953, you know, belongs to the happy handy man – Jacob (19).

The ‘new’ 9-5 Aero, 2001 – with only 250.000 km is still to get a real family story after only 6 years as my private car.

This is how we try to raise our family in Denmark, service them, rebuild if needed, but keep them running and keep them alive, by using every day as a new adventure.

Saab Pride: Eggs style

Thumbnail image for Saab PrideI had plans last year to do a Saab Pride book, however time and a few other things scuttled the idea, unfortunately.
This is the entry that my SU partner-in-prose,
Eggs n Grits sent in. Eggs has since bought another C900 convertible to replace this white car and when we spoke on the weekend, it seemed the fate of this car is still a little uncertain.
So I thought I’d better get this story and these shots online before the white car is parted out, or otherwise ceases to look as good as it does here. The story’s been told once before, back in the old TS days, but bears repeating.
To read all of the Saab Pride stories, where owners like you tell your stories, click here.
Click the photos to enlarge.
eggsngrits 1st ave Nashville 2a.jpg Why I drive a Saab
My first ride in a Saab was in 1982. I was a freshman at Vanderbilt University, and one of my friends there had a 1978 Saab 99. It was silver with a maroon cloth interior. At the time, I had just traded my 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass S for a 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. That is, I leaned towards American muscle cars rather than towards anything European or Japanese. I liked the Saab, but it was, to me, alien given that the key was between the seats and it had a tiny (at the time) 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and the most spartan of interiors. After all, my ’75 Oldsmobile had a 350-cubic-inch (5.8-liter) V-8 and the 1979 Oldsmobile had enough padding under the velour to fill your average sleeper sofa! On the other hand, I loved the way that his car sounded, and I loved the fact that the car was utterly different from anything that I’d ever ridden in before.
About the same time, I also took notice of an advertising campaign from, of all marques, Buick. In 1982, Buick re-introduced the Grand National. The advertisement went something like this: “there are only four turbocharged vehicles available in America — and two of them are Buicks” (the second car being the decidedly pedestrian Buick LeSabre). Being an American muscle fan and avid reader of Motor Trend, I likely noticed the ad right about the same time as I first rode in Jeff’s 99. Of course, the other two vehicles were the Saab 900 and the Volvo 200-series (240, I think). This piqued my curiousity about Swedish cars, which had previously been off the radar for me. Why didn’t we have more of them? Why were they so different?

Read moreSaab Pride: Eggs style

Saab Pride – Finnish Style

Saab PrideOk, so this isn’t a real Saab Pride entry. But even just reading a Googletrans of the story, it feels like it should be.
A young Finnish journalist, Hanna Huhtasaari, inherited a family heirloom in the form of a 1982 Saab 99 GL and decided to take a road trip north.

I can hardly believe it. There he is innocent in white, elegant and sporty. He comes from a good stable, is accident, corrosion-resistant and well maintained. My first car: a Saab 99. Built in 1982. My grandfather, who was for 22 years a Saab driver has left him to me. Faithful he has been waiting all winter long in the garage for me, let him take me to northern Lapland.

What transpired isn’t totally clear in a translation, but it seems like there’s a lot of good memories there, including that distinctive Saab smell (thanks Lance!).
The article appears in Spiegel and you can read the Googletrans, or the original piece. I’ve included a couple of photos as they’re really quite nice and give you a good feel for what I’m sure was a very nostalgic and memorable road trip.
Click to enlarge…..
This is one that I found quite interesting. Looks like an economy gauge in the same spot where they put the turbo gauges on the 99T. I never knew they did that.
And this one shows why Saab went to all that trouble with moose tests…..
With thanks to Radulf and Alexandros!

Saab Pride – Anglo-Belgian edition

Thumbnail image for Saab PrideThis is a rather special Saab Pride entry as it’s from one of my fellow Saab bloggers – one of the guys I’ll have another opportunity to meet tomorrow, as a matter of fact.
Etienne runs the Saabhuy Blog from Belgium and I suspect he might have been at this blogging this at least as long as I have, if not longer.
Etienne’s been seen at many European Saab meetings in his classic Saab 900, but that might change in the future. I’ll let him explain why:
Some months ago, on 2nd of May to be precise, I took delivery of a Saab 99 from 1972 in the area of Bedford U.K. In fact, I bought it on ebay one month earlier.
This car was owned by the same man from new and I bought it from his grand-daughter.
It was repatriated to Belgium on a trailer via the tunnel. We fixed the clutch, brakes and carburettor and then all it needed was just a bit of polish and some alloy wheels, also found on ebay.
My first driving experience with this car was the international Saab meeting in Holland, but one of the main reasons I bought a Right hand drive Saab is simply because I like going to England so much and visiting this country. A few weekends ago, from 4th to 6th of September I attended the 20th anniversary meeting of the very friendly Saab enthusiasts club of Great-Britain in Larling, Norfolk.
After being many times in the UK with my LHD 900, I could say that I really enjoy the narrow roads of Norfolk with the steering wheel at the right place .

Saab love – Russian style

The following letter has been sitting in my inbox for -well – almost a few months now. I’ve been saving it for a time such as this. A pause in the hectic pace of this site, so that it could get some quality time on the front page.
I’ve edited it as little as possible. English is, of course, a second language for Sergey. He’s 21 and lives in a place that seems to me to be beyond remote (and I live on an island at the arse end of the world!).
The fact that a young guy in such a remote place should come across Saabs vehicles, and come to love them to the point where he’ll struggle through such a letter to tell someone how much they mean to him…….. it says a lot.
Great design crosses boundaries. Geographic, language, economic. Like music, it’s recongnised by all.
Here’s Sergeys letter that was written not just to me, but to you and to Saab as well.
Hello! First of all, I’d ask to read up my letter up to the end. It will not take away from you a lot of time. But I shall be immensely glad, that you have given me and my letter your attention (with hope for the answer).
And now as a matter of fact, who am I? Osipenko Sergey from Irkutsk-city (Russia, Siberia). What for do I write? I wish to tell to you a small history and to thank you for something that I don’t have, as strange as it sounds!
In the middle of the 90s when I was 7 or 8 years, I have borrowed in drawing and practically at once began to draw machines. Gradually it became a hobby and a hobby for cars. Then in employment of vital importance, as soon as I had a free minute, I took a pencil and drew cars. I drew much, with all soul. Happened, what for the sake of it endowed a dream, decorating the next sketch in four one o’clock in the morning.
Together with drawing I opened new makes of cars, studied characteristics, looked automobile programs on TV and bought automobile magazines. So I have studied the majority of marks – even the most rare! Already then I have made the list of the best, in my opinion, cars. It has entitled Saab 9-5 and Saab 9-3 Viggen… Meanwhile, I have left school, and time which has gradually taken away the most part of a free time has come to enter the institute. As the result, drawing should be thrown. Very much about it I regret!
What now? It’s july, 2009. I’m 21 years old. I study at Automobile faculty, I try to find new work (before I worked as the automobile journalist, but has left work because of low wages) as it’s necessary to feed family. Behind a window grows dark, the sun disappears behind horizon, carrying away heavy week-day. Tomorrow will be precisely the same. In headphones Nina Simone – Blackbird (Remix) plays from well-known advertising Saab Aero X, in a head – ideas on for what I write this letter turn? Has passed 12 years, and I still consider Saab 9-5 (as, however, and all other cars of Saab) as works of art. And I consider, that the car should look as Saab!
For this purpose I also have written to you the letter. It as the answer to all questions of my subconsciousness and gratitude to Saab!
I entirely and completely realize that fact that the car of my dream hardly will appear in my life. But, nevertheless, I would like to tell you a lot of thanks! That you are, that you make so fine cars of which it is possible to dream only! Thanks you for everything that you have made for this world and for me personally. For happiness, presented to owners of cars Saab.
Thanks! And sorry for my English! 🙂
As I told Sergey – his English is a million times better than my Russian 🙂
One of the reasons I loved this letter was that it is one man’s feelings laid bare. That’s also why I’ve barely edited it. It’s more honest that way.
The other reason is a common belief between Sergey and myself that Saabs really are a superior car compared to what we are/were accustomed to. My first 20 years revolved around old Holdens and Fords and the thought of something so eccentric and of such higher quality than what I was used to seemed excessive. I know Saabs and their class of vehicle are the norm for some, but I was never one of them.
Sergey has a dream for a 9-5 one day. I had a dream just to get a Saab – any Saab – that at one time I thought would never come to pass.
I really hope Sergey’s dream does come to pass and I want to thank him for his honesty and willingness to share his thoughts here.
Sergey included a couple of photos with another email:
my photos of one of Saab in our city (on a background – sacred lake Baikal!). I will be grateful, if you publish them on a site and write that in Siberia too love Saab!

Saab Pride – Alcan 900 style

Thumbnail image for Saab Pride The Saab Pride section of the site is where were get to celebrate the things the journos miss. It’s not about numbers and finishes, it’s about living – living with a Saab and occasionally doing extraordinary things.
Dan C and the guys from TeamD did something extraordinary back in February 2008. Here’s the story and some great shots of a great car that (as far as I know) is still running strong today.

Maybe we should have the beauty shots first:
This 1985 900 Turbo was the sole 2WD entrant in the 2008 Winter Alcan rally. The event began near Seattle Washington and traveled well above the Arctic Circle, where this shot was taken at Tuktoyaktuk after driving on the winter ice road on the Beaufort Sea. After over 260 thousand miles, the car is still running strong and competing in rallies in the northwest US
Photographer: Hans Adomeit. Owner: Dan Comden
Saab 900
I had the good fortune to meet Dan last year at the TS Great Pacific Northwest Meetup on the Seattle fringe.
The car was there in all it’s glory and still looked in remarkably good condition for it’s age, mileage and adventures.
For those unaware of the Alcan Winter Rally, this is one serious affair, travelling 5,000 miles heading north through British Columbia and the Yukon before coming back south again and finishing in Jasper, Alberta.
Dan and the team bought this Saab 900 for just $250 in order to compete in the event. The trusty Saab got them home without missing a beat!
Alcan Rally

Saab Pride – Florida Style

Saab Pride Most of the journo’s don’t “get it” when it comes to Saab. That’s why it’s up to the owners to tell their Saab stories and take pride in their ride.
You can view all the Saab Pride stories by clicking on the button at the bottom of the right sidebar. It looks just like the graphic on the left.
Today’s pride entry comes from Gerald G and family, in Florida. Like many of you, Gerald has enjoyed 20-plus years of Saab ownership and is still loving his Swedish metal.

Our Saab Story began in 1987 with the purchase of a 1987 9000 Turbo. We have had several Saabs since then.
We kept the 87 for 11 years and our youngest son drove it the last 2 years. It was sold with 196k miles and was in very good shape.
I purchased a 1999 Viggen with 5 miles on the clock 7/10/1999 and have driven it to 104k miles since. My wife has a 2007 9.3 SC w/26k miles, that she really loves. Attached are some pictures of our present Saabs.
Sometimes you just need to stop and stare when you see a car as brilliant looking as this. What a mecace!
Click any of the photos to enlarge.
99 VIGGEN 6 22 2004.jpg
The well-chosen rear plate…..
99 VIGGEN Geral.jpg
The family within the family…..
07 AERO SC 99 VIGGEN 10 23 2008.jpg
And some steady driving at 70mph whilst the odometer clicks over 100,000 miles.
Viggen 100K44-2008.jpg
My thanks to Gerald for the images and the story!

Bring back the calendars?

A few years ago, I used to produce a Saab O The Week calendar on a monthly basis. The calendar would use a photo of a reader’s car, and I’d photoshop the calendar dates for the month onto the image.
It was fun, but when I changed computers and didn’t have photoshop anymore, it became a bit of a pain and fell by the wayside.
I’ve just received an email from Joe F, and it’s got me thinking that maybe it’s time to bring the calendar back.

…….Anyway, this next part is going to sound silly, but every month I download the Saab Desktop Calendar from the Saab International website and the one for August hasn’t been put up yet. Are they discontinuing these? Are they so busy they’re not updating the website? Is another firm taking over Saab’s web based marketing? So this may sound trivial but it’s important to me!

I’m not sure what’s going on with the official Saab calendar, but what I liked about the SOTW calendar was that it was YOUR images that featured in it.
Call it another Saab Pride exercise.
In fact, I’m quite sure that we’ve got quite a few calendar-worthy photos amongst the many Saab Pride emails still sitting in my inbox.
a) Bring the desktop calendar back?
b) Is it OK with you Saab Pride entrants if I pick a shot every month from those entries in order to produce the calendar?
Comments are open.
Here’s a sample from back in February 2006:

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