It’s our last day in Sweden and internet access in England for the next week might be sketchy (we’re staying at a home owned by extended family and I don’t know what access they have and they won’t be there to tell me). So I figured I’d better do a summary entry on things that transpired at the Saab Festival in 2010.
Before I do that, however, perhaps I should mention that this isn’t our last Saab event for this trip. That’ll be the Saab Owners Club GB annual get together in Bath on Saturday – hurrah!
This Festival was quite a bit different to the last one. Back in 2007, no-one really knew who I was and I could move around quietly, gather some info and report on it quite quickly.
Not so in 2010. I spent the lion’s share of my time meeting people, which was absolutely fantastic, but made any real productivity that bit harder.
There were numerous others as well, all of whom were great to talk to.
The Spyker presentation laid out one point that I thought was quite interesting and very appropriate for Saab. The presenter stated that there are certain things that customers will always get in a Spyker. These things are non-negotiable as they’re part of the Spyker experience. Things like only leather and metal facings inside the cabin, and the exhaust note when you drive the car.
Personally, until something better comes along, I think turbocharging should be present on every Saab and certain features should be standard as well. For instance, heated seats. Why do some markets have to option-up to get something that should be a standard-bearer for a Scandinavian brand?
There’s no doubt that older Saabs dominate the numbers at a Saab festival, but there were some great newer Saabs there, too. Not as many 9000s on show as I’d have liked, but still some good modern Saabs were there to be seen.
There are a lot of great things about a Saab Festival. The seminars you can attend are relevant and insightful. The people you can meet are enthusiastic and engaging and it’s possibly one of the few functions for a company of this nature where the enthusiasts can rub shoulders with the executives that run the company.
But the stars of a Saab Festival are without doubt the cars. Saab cars are what it’s all about and on Saturday, there was a fantastic exhibition of vehicles from all over Europe.
Unfortunately, the weather was poor in the morning. Those who had travelled significant distances, of course, came along and showed their cars anyway, but the morning rain quite possibly kept a few of the more local cars in their garages and numbers were down on the 2007 exhibition.
Below is a collection of some of the cars that I photographed. There were a number of interesting cars that I missed, but these were the ones that caught my eye.
Every Saab Festival has its fair share of fantastic cars and fantastic stories that go along with them. I’ll bring you more of the cars later, but for now, I wanted to share what is the story of the Saab Festival for me.
I envy those that are able to work on their own cars, and moreso those who are able to fully restore them. This is a restoration story with a difference, but it stood out to me for two reasons:
The end product was so eye-catching, and
The guy who restored the vehicle was just 19 years old when it was finished!
Jacob T started this project when he was just 17 years old and finished it last week, age 19 and just in time to bring the car from his family home in Denmark, to the Saab Festival in Trollhattan.
His father, Hans, has been kind enough to send through some photos of the build, as well as some details of how it was done. Hans gave Jacob a few hours in welding lessons, then let him loose on the restoration and I think you’ll agree that the results are fantastic.
The car is a Saab 92b, from 1953. Jacob bought the car in March 2009 in Östersund Sweden, from Jonas Leklem.
The car was a good candidate for restoration. The wings, bonnet and doors only had minor rust, max 100 hours work!
The structure of the bottom, front engine floor was 90 % OK, rear floor 60% OK, cabin 0% !!! so it had to be handmade, welded, sandblasted and zinc sprayed at 1200 degree celcius, then epoxy coated before paint.
Then all wings, bonnet and doors were mounted on the structure, and it took 200 hours to adjust, weld and straighten out the steel plate to the right shape – and the 3 mm. openings between door and wings – not 0-7 mm as was common at that time in 1953! Hand work was expensive- even back then.
Engine and gear repairs were done by the previous owner, so we just cleaned, painted and adjusted.
The suspension was worn out, so all bronze bushes had to be changed. They were produced by a local workshop. All Aluminum profile in the suspension was OK.
All bolts, nuts and splits to be cleaned and el.zinked, no mm. bolts used, only old types.
All casted steel suspensions parts had to be sandblasted, zinc sprayed at 1200 degree Celcius, and painted.
All brakes had to be restored, new rubber, linings, pipes, handbrake wires, mostly handmade.
All joints of steering and suspensions were taken apart, cleaned and adjusted.
All bumpers, and chrome parts – cleaned and re-chromed.
El.wire , el.motors 6V, contacts, all cleaned and repaired and greased.
All paint, underneath, inside in the cabin, engine booth and outside, to matching colors, brown and off-white, with a 6 mm. red line in between, all painted with two layers of epoxy, one black shiny paint, then the brown and off-white before the red line and two layers of transparent laquer.
The interior was replaced with ……. A Saab 9.3 grey leather interior, fitted to the original floor seat brackets 450 mm in distance! The seats fitted perfectly with only some customisation in the back seats required. A provocation maybe – but the whole car is 100% original in parts and welding repairs.
Jacob has used 1200-1500 hours from he was 17 to now 19 years old. And at the same time finishing his high school just 3 weeks ago! Only sandblasning, zinc and new bussing was not done by Jacob, all the rest was training and learning by doing!
The car left the family garage – Thursday at 17.00 – this week. The very same day the Saab festival started. then driving his restored Saab -750 km to Trollhättan to arrive at 02.00 Friday morning!.
Jacobs background is working in the small family garage, 30 square meters, with me (Hans, his father) doing repairs on all the family cars – mostly Saab and a single Volvo Valp – since he was able to stay on his feet!
This project is done mostly by supervision on the phone – while the father was away on Offshore work outside Denmark – and but local retired Saab mechanic who was able to advise Jacob when trouble time was there!
Even though there was no award in Trollhättan for Jacob, Erik Carlsson was able to recognize and appreciate the great work and the high quality of all of it. And many others Saab mechanics and enthusiasts recognised it as well and told the young Saab enthusiasts, and even it was transported on a trailer from Denmark!
Best regards form a happy Saab family. It was a pleasure to be there in Trollhättan – as it has been, since we came there to our first Saabfestival in 1992.
I think I’ve mentioned before that one of the great pleasures of the Saab Festival is that so many unexpected take place. You can’t prepare for it. All you can do is go with the flow.
Such an encounter happened to me today, when I was fortunate enough to meet Rony Lutz. That name might be familiar to some, but I’m sure all of you have seen some of Rony’s work through the years.
Stuff like this, for example:
Yes, Rony is the guy who did all the X-Ray Saab images. As I discovered today, though, he did a lot more than that. In fact, Rony did just about all of the illustrative work that appeared in Saab brochures through the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s and early 00’s.
See that cabinet to Rony’s right? It’s full of his drawings for different models through the years.
Rony is German by birth but has now been living in Sweden for 50 years. He started at Saab in 1969 and moved with the company from Linköping, to Södertälje and then to Trollhattan. He retired from work with Saab around 5 years ago but still does drawings – by hand – and is currently doing illustrative work for a book on aerodynamics.
Rony was kind enough to take me through a few images, showing me how they would begin them with photographs, sometime of real-life cutaways. All of the illustrations were done completely by hand, using watercolor paints. Doing fine details, such as the radiator in the image below, was paintstaking work, both mentally and physically.
You may not be able to see it on that photo, but the DI cassette was added to this engine drawing after it was already completed, simply by tracing the original area where the cassette would be added, doing the illustration of the cassette on another sheet and then sticking it over the original.
I was amazed as I looked through this cabinet, seeing full size illustrations that I’ve previously seen in old brochures for the Saab 99, and early 900.
I had no idea that the man responsible for the brilliant X-Ray images also did the brochure illustrations for Saab. His work was one of the reasons that the brochures were so engaging. They drew you in and helped you to learn more, which is why it was such a pleasure to meet Rony today.
Rony was selling prints of some of his drawings at the Car Boot Sale today, the final event of the festival. I wonder how many people realised the full extent of his work as they reviewed or purchased his work.
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