A good reason to carry a fire extinguisher

Yesterday our dear friend from France, Jeff  Golfhunter, nearly lost his prized Saab 95 V4.
In the afternoon while driving on the motorway in his beloved Saab the carburator decided to have a fire and without the fire extinguisher, which is always on board, his dear Titine would have gone up in smoke.

So never forget to take your fire extinguisher when you travel.

A few more pictures after the jump.

Read moreA good reason to carry a fire extinguisher

Colored Saab brightens dreary Volvo parking lot

Our source for this photo set wishes to remain anonymous, but says these images were snapped in a visitors carpark outside “another Swedish car maker”.

My guess is that it wasn’t Koenigsegg 🙂

Saab 95

My first thought upon seeing this was “Gee, the Swedish weather’s taken a turn for the worse since I was there a few months ago…..”

Saab 95

My second thought was “Gee, it’s nice to see some bright color in that black/grey/silver car park!”

The truth, however, is that many modern large cars would look silly in bright orange and that modern metallic silver/grey/black paintjobs do add a decent dollop of sophistication to many ordinary looking designs.

Saab 95

….and the third thing I thought when I looked at these was “Geez, the Saab 95 has got to be one of the most overlooked and underexposed Saabs of all time, possibly just behind the first-generation 9000”

Which is true, IMHO.

Carlsson nearly won a Monte Carlo in a Saab 95. Imagine one of the most prestigious rallies of the era being won by a guy in a stationwagon (even if it’s one of the only three-door wagons in the world).

Saab 95 – “Ol Blue” with Saabo in tow

It’s with great pleasure that I’m showing you these images today. These are from Swedish Car Day, which I was fortunate enough to attend a few weeks ago in Boston.

As with the Saab Sonett V4 that I showed last week, the Saab 95 below is owned by one of the technicians at Charles River Saab. His name is Peter Maitland, and once again, it’s nice to know your tech loves the brands as much (or more) than you do!

And just like Ralph’s V4, this Saab 95 and Saabo won an award at SCD – Best in Show! You’ll see why below.


Ol’ Blue is a 1968 Saab 95 purchased by Peter Maitland in 2002 in Butler PA, while Peter was working for Saab Cars USA. The previous owner had the car nine years and had only driven it 100 miles! Prior to that, it was owned by Jack Ashcraft in Oregon, where it had been driven since new. Under Ashcraft’s ownership, the 95 had been repainted once, the original Husar Blue, and the interior had been reupholstered.

1968 Saab 95

Improvements that Peter has made include installation of a Jack Lawrence high output motor and induction system (good for 120 bhp), Deluxe model dash and gauges, new wiring harness, wheels, rebuilt Sonett transmission (selected for its taller gearing), striping and decals on its flanks, front air dam and an XM radio tucked away in the glove box. Peter has driven the car 50,000 miles (true total mileage on the car is unknown), including to the 2004 Saab Owners Convention in Washington state. It was on the return trip east from that SOC that Peter stopped in Iowa to purchase his Saabo.

Read moreSaab 95 – “Ol Blue” with Saabo in tow

City Saab London bring retro 95 to attract buyers to new Saab 9-5

I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but I love it when Saab dealers get an older Saab into the showroom. This is the heritage of the brand and they’re such a curiosity that it’s an instant conversation starter for a prospective customer coming in off the street.

If I were king, I’d make it mandatory.

Salesdudes at City Saab in London can currently enjoy talking with customers about what is possibly the only 2-door, 7-seat wagon in history – the Saab 95.

It stands out like a beacon in its Sunset Orange paintwork. The car is owned by Simon C and is on loan to Saab City for the display.

The car is a credit to Simon and any previous custodians as it looks to be in absolutely immaculate condition.

You can check out this car out on Flickr. It really is outstanding.

Saab dealer goes vintage – 1968 Saab 95

How many times has a station wagon finished on the podium of a world class rally? Not often, I’d wager. Maybe not at all.

Erik Carlsson drove a Saab 95 wagon to fourth place in the 1961 Monte Carlo rally, and that might be as close as a wagon ever got in a big one. It’s just one of the reasons I love the Saab 95. Another is the fact that it’s the only wagon I’m aware of that had seven seats but only two doors!

John Carter, a Saab dealer at General Sales in West Chester, PA, has just purchased this very tidy 1968 Saab 95 as a weekender for he and his fiancée. It’s a little of a work in progress, but the basics are all there with probably just some paint repair needed to get it looking tip-top.

As you know, I love it when Saab dealers are so into the brand that they purchase an oldtimer. It shows an understanding of the heritage and a commitment to relating it customers and carrying it on.

Click to enlarge

Congratulations to John on the acquisition and I hope that on the days you bring it in to the office that it’s a great conversation starter.

All Saab dealers should have an old Saab

I’ve often thought that if I had a Saab dealership, one of the first things I’d want to do is get a classic Saab in the showroom. I know absolutely nothing about selling cars but to me it seems like a natural conversation starter and an exhibit that shows some connection and appreciation for the roots of the brand.
Being so rare here in Australia, I’d probably go for a Sonett III, but I guess the more natural car to make a connection with people would be a C900 Aero.
I know some dealers have them, but I don’t know why most dealers don’t. Maybe it’s a space issue?
Shaw Saab, in Norwell, MA, have recently taken their restored 1972 Saab 95 out of storage and added it to their showroom, and it looks absolutely magnificent in there. It’s a great link to the past and gives the place a nice splash of colour, too, IMHO.
More photos are availale on their Facebook page.
Click to enlarge.
Fred Shaw restored the car in the mid 1980s and it still runs beautifully. Presents pretty well, too, wouldn’t you agree?

Out front of the Saab Museum – Part 3

So far in the “out front” series, I’ve taken you for a drive in the Saab Museum’s own Saab 92, as well as their pristine Cardinal Red Saab 99Turbo.
Out front of the Saab Museum – Part 1 (Saab 92)
Out front of the Saab Museum – Part 2 (Saab 99T)
I’ve saved today’s instalment ’til last because it really was the eye-opener, and my favourite drive of the day. If you know how big a fan of the 99T I am, then you know that’s a pretty big call.
So what is this magical car? Is an early 1960’s Saab 95 wagon!
The green Saab 92 that I drove before this was a two-stroker with an old three-speed gearbox that had no synchro in 1st gear. It was a privilege to drive, of course, but boy was it difficult.
This Saab 95 was a two-stroke as well, but in driving it I could really see all the advances in technology between the late-40’s-early-50’s and the early 1960’s. That Saab 92 left me wondering how Saab survived with that car as its only offering.
This Saab 95 left me wondering why Saab ever stopped making two-strokes!!
I’m running from memory here (have lost my notes) but I believe this car was fitted with the 850cc three cylinder engine and a fully synchronised four speed gearbox and it was an absolute blast to drive!
Where the 92 seems quite hard and jumpy, the Saab 95 was actually quite smooth and racy by comparison. You just wanted to plant the foot and get the revs up again to hear that glorious sound (see the video of my ride in the Sonett for an example of that sound).
I’ve heard some of the old-timer Saab fans sing the praises of their old two-strokes and I’ve been in a few strokers before, but I have to say I never quite ‘got it’ before this ride.
Having driven a properly sorted stroker with good power and a good gearbox, I can now say that I finally understand the high regard they have for Saabs of this era.
You think turbos and hatchbacks are unique and distinctively Saab? I suggest you grab any opportunity you can to get a ride in a good stroker. It’ll give you a whole new level of appreciation of this very special little company from Sweden.
As you can see from the images, the car is in fantastic condition inside and out. Again, it’s a credit to the Saab Museum that they manage to keep all these cars so presentable, and keep them in running order. The Museum is blessed with the services of a few retired Saab engineers who keep the cars in as good a running order as possible.
Once again, I have to pay homage to Peter Backstrom and all the staff of the Saab Museum for an absolutely brilliant day.
I wasn’t sure how much was left for me to see of this company when I rolled up that Friday lunchtime. Over the course of an afternoon, however, it became very clear that there are plenty of great things still unexplored.
There’s a whole heap of Saab left to uncover – and I can’t wait to get back there and peel back a few more layers.

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