2011 Saab Owners Convention – Parsippany, New Jersey

This has just been released via the Saab Club North America website:

The 29th annual SOC, SOC11, will take place on August 18-21 2011 at the Hilton Parsippany located at One Hilton Court, Parsippany, NJ in the heart of Morris County. The site is centrally located, including nearby access to the Meadowlands Sports Complex and FunPlex Family Fun Center, while complimentary shuttle service to the train station makes reaching the famous Broadway theatres, shopping, sporting venues and other New York City attractions easy.

Saab members from all over the United States and beyond will converge to talk Saabs and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Saab convertible. Conceived by former Saab president Bob Sinclair (known as “Uncle Bob” by his many friends), the convertible centric celebration will feature the unveiling of the Bob Sinclair Memorial Trophy. This annual recognition will showcase the SOC 2011 Saab owner who exemplifies the spirit of Bob Sinclair.

Details will be announced in NINES, the official magazine of the Saab Club of North America, and here, on the SCNA Web site.

So, who’ll be heading along?

Thanks to Steve C for the link!

State of Nine report on SOC 2010

The following is from Dan De Vlieger, owner of site sponsor, State of Nine. I’m looking forward to catching up with Dan myself in Boston later this month (more on that later).

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I’m happy to report that (after driving 1,644 miles in a Dodge Caravan – I really think there is a market for a cool European minivan – the Saab Convention in Aurora OH last month was a great success. The turnout for the event was great. The quality of classic Saabs was probably the best I’ve seen. And, to top it off, there were lots of special guests in attendance. Saab is back!

It was great meeting lots of you and sharing ideas on the kinds of things you want to see for your Saab. I even had some ‘Saab celebrity encounters’, and it was great to speak with Peter Backstrom (the Manager of Saab’s Car Museum in Sweden), “EggsnGrits” from SaabsUnited, and especially Victor Muller and Jan Ake Jonsson from Saab. We even had the New Saab 9-5 Sedan and a Spyker C8 Spyder on the show field.

This was my ninth Saab Convention and I can tell you that in the past, a Saab Execustive might swoop in and do the Saturday night dinner speech. But Peter, Victor, and Jan Ake were walking the area and talking to owners throughout the day. I kept seeing them zooming around in various classic Saabs. When I approached Victor and Jan Ake to say thanks for saving Saab, they were welcoming and spoke confidently about the future. These are car guys and they are loving the opportunity at hand to make Saab distinct again – it is obvious and inspiring.

Test drives of the new Saab 9-5 got rave reviews (I didn’t have time)! Regarding the Spyker C8 Spyder that made it to the show, I can only tell you that pictures don’t do the car justice. This car could go zero to sixty in twenty seconds and it would be the coolest modern car of its class that I’ve ever seen (it goes 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds though).

The finish, the details, the design, it was honestly breathtaking. This car seemed more like a modern creation of a historic Bugatti or 1939 Delahaye than a Ferrari type car that you might picture when hearing the term ‘supercar’. The bottom line, Spyker knows how to build a distinct, quality automobile and this attention to detail will surely contribute to Saab’s rejuvenation.

Click on our Customer Photo Gallery or on our Facebook Album to see photos and add your comments. Enjoy!

EnG Snippets – Content from SOC 2010 Edition

As you may guess from the title, there are a few photos and bits from the SOC in Aurora, Ohio from late last month still rattling around my hard drive, yet there are a couple of other items, too, so it’s a snippets entry.

Over this weekend I had the opportunity to witness first-hand the reason that Australians coined the term “whinging pom“. That’s another story for another day. (Bonus whingeing.)

First up, this is either the most positive Saab 9-3 Aero Convertible test ever conducted, or it’s the most tongue-in-cheek lampoon of the brand ever. I had to choke back the laughter with that hat. It’s like a coonskin cap, only bigger and more furry. To what animal did that skin belong? Translations (Kroum?) are welcome.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYOsPiPkVvk

Seriously, the video appears to document a great demonstration of the cold-weather capabilities of Saab convertibles.  It just looks a bit odd to us in the West.

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More New York Times print for Saab.  It’s just a short blog entry, but the New York Times is the New York Times.  We’ll take all that we can get.  The entry takes a little issue with the Muller-stated break-even point of 85,000 units per year.  Hey, there are no guarantees, everything is dependent upon execution, efficiency and economic climate.  The point remains that Mr. Muller, JAJ and company have a realistic target and a realistic chance for success.  They don’t have to be a 1,000,000-unit marque to survive.

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More (people) photos from the Saab Owners Convention 2010 after the jump.  Great to see everyone.

Read moreEnG Snippets – Content from SOC 2010 Edition

SOC Roundtable Q&A with VM, JAJ, Colleran, Libbos

Ladies (?) and Gentlemen, let me start with my normal tip of the hat to Saab’s new leadership. As I gathered my notes from my computer and looked at the photos, I again remembered the extraordinary nature of this roundtable discussion on Sunday morning at the end of the Saab Owner’s Convention for 2010. These up-close-and-personal interactions with the corporate brass really don’t happen in the everyday auto maker. In fact, I hesitate to call this group “corporate brass” because they have been so accessible. It certainly isn’t something that I take for granted, even a little bit. These men do not have to spend their summer weekends with a bunch of car geeks, but they do. I appreciate that a great deal.

Secondly, I must compliment my fellow Saab aficionados in attendance during this hour. All of the questions asked were important questions to answer There were no “whiny” questions about product failures, service glitches and the like, and the group was courteously attentive. Again, I do not take this good behavior for granted. We are Saab people, and Saab people are a different breed. We think. I like that.

Muller, Jonsson, Colleran and Libbos Q&A Roundtable SOC 2010

Once again, thanks, guys!!

My notes from this hour-long discussion are after the jump.

Read moreSOC Roundtable Q&A with VM, JAJ, Colleran, Libbos

Another SOC North America Story — the 16-valve Saab 99

UPDATED August 1 with information from the owner in comments.

I must say that I love stories like this one — a man with a plan. A plan that was complex enough to hold his attention and just absurd enough to make others scratch their heads about why he’d even attempt such a thing. On top of that, he actually had the patience to overcome some pretty difficult obstacles in the process.

So, here’s the premise: Starting with a relatively pedestrian 1973 Saab 99 four-door, upgrade it to a 16-valve power plant. Sounds reasonable, right? Just drop in a 16-valve B202 power plant (one of the “H” series engines) from a Saab 900 and you’re in business. Not so fast, my friend. Our friend Dave decided that he had to do it without cutting the firewall or any other structural piece of sheet metal; the notion that a minor repair such as a new belt would necessitate major disassembly simply left him cold.  His conclusion: the project had to use a “B” engine block and lower components and the head and upper components from the B202. He succeeded in doing just that — mating the “B” engine block and components with the 16-valve equipment from the newer engine.

By his own estimation, the project took about four years of fiddling and tweaking. The completed power plant uses the heads, ignition, controls from a 1984 Saab 900S and the wiring harness from a 1986 Saab 900 S. The alternator is a modified C900 component, but the water pump, oil pump and gear box are from the 99 (although the gear box was uprated to a 5-speed). Dave and a machinist friend created a completely new timing chain arrangement, and moved the belt-driven components to new positions as needed and created mounts as necessary. Finally, the timing chain cover was a true hybrid, combining the lower portion of the “B” engine cover and the top part of the “H” engine cover.

They say that variety is the spice of life. If so, this is pretty darned spicy.

More photos after the jump.

Read moreAnother SOC North America Story — the 16-valve Saab 99

More pics from SOC2010 Track Day

If you participated in the Saab Owners Convention track day last week, you might want to check out Johnny Del’s Flickr feed and see if your car is amongst the pics there. It’s a great collection and he tells me there’s more to be added some time around mid-week.

If you didn’t participate, then you still might want to check it out, see what you missed, or just dribble on your keyboard whilst you watch some great cars doing just one of the things they were made to do – fun!

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