SUHRT: Petroleum and straight pipes

SaabsUnited Historic Rally Team: Here we go again!

Tomorrow, Wednesday 13´th of July to the 17´th of July the Midnightsun Rally will take place in Västerås, Sweden.

In light of this and the fact that Rally cars are in my heart, I grew up when Saab still had a factory team, I went to Sundbyberg in Stockholm yesterday to meet a group of people with a passion for Saab, Rally and Performance.

I am talking of course about, The SaabsUnited Historic Rally Team, SUHRT.

Read moreSUHRT: Petroleum and straight pipes

New cars for the Saabs United Historic Rally Team

It’s been a little since we updated the SUHRT website but that doesn’t mean the team has been idle.

Far from it, in fact!

The last few months have seen the guys add two more cars to the garage. The question, now, is which historic rally cars these ones will made into replicas of.

First, to the two new cars.

Jörgen picked up this blue 99Turbo 2-door notchback:

Saab 99 Turbo 2-door

And Vladimir Antonov purchased this green 99Turbo, which is also a 2-door:

Saab 99 Turbo

Both cars will be rally-prepared eventually and the team is currently deciding which historic Saab rally cars to re-create.

The options are as follows:

1. Stig Blomqvist RAC 1979 Red
2. Stig Blomqvist Swedish Rally 1981 Blue
3. Stig Blomqvist Swedish Championships 1980 Black
4. Ola Strömberg Swedish Championships 1980 White

It’s definitely going to be a busy winter for the guys as they prepare these two cars.

Which ones would you choose?

Tuesday Snippets

The Jalopnik top blogger competition (they’re basically soliciting audition pieces for a new weekend editor) is turning up some interesting articles.

Here’s another Saab one, the second of the competition. Not as well written as the the one from yesterday IMHO, but a good tribute to the Saab 900 nonetheless. And here’s a good one about track day fever.


Someone at Volkswagen thought the new New Beetle needed to look more like a PT Cruiser?



More prominent Saab Billboardage – this time from Zurich, Switzerland.


Saab Ad Switzerland

Thanks to Nikolay for the pic!


Just to show the Saabs United Historic Rally Team moves in lofty circles…..

One of our major sponsors is a company called Mellowood Medical, a company run by SU regular and one of the most affable guys you can meet, Mark Marcon (otherwise known as North Toronto Punter). Mark’s company develops, supplies and supports software for use in In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) clinics.

Professor Bob Edwards, 85, has just been named as a Nobel Prize winner for his work in the IVF field, which has given hope to many aspiring parents since the first IVF birth back in 1978.

Here’s Mark with Professor Edwards, whom he’s met on a number of occasions. This photo was at a conference back in 2008. Mellowood Medical are very proud to say that Prof Edwards’ clinic has been a client of their for the last 10 years.

The SaabsUnited Historic Rally Team – bringing you lots of rally fun, and occasionally, babies!


I think this is taking the whole Park n Ride concept a little too far…..

Midnight Sun Rally update

The Midnight Sun rally is complete for 2010.

The Saabs United Historic Rally Team did well in that they simply managed to finish the event with both cars running. Remember, these were two brand new cars that were only completed in the days before the event and one of our drivers, Vladimir Antonov, was driving in his first rally event.

And then there’s the blown engine and all the drama of finding and installing a replacement overnight.

To the placings, then….

Our #1 Car, the black 99T, with Jörgen Trued driving and Bo Janzon navigating came in 21st position.

Our #2 car, the white 99T with Vladimir Antonov driving and Denis Giraudet navigating came in 23rd position.


A message from Jörgen:

The whole team thanks all the supporters around the globe in making it possible for us to pull off this project. The goal was to finish with both cars in Västerås and we did.

I am so relived now an now I will have a 3 week vacation with the family. There is not going to be any mechanical work during that time

Keep looking in on our website for future plans and updates. This was the finish of Midnattssolsrallyt, but it is also the start of many great things to happen…..

Thanks again and I am sure that i speak for the whole team Vladimir, Denis, Bo and myself!


Saab did well with good connections in other classes, too.

Jörgen’s uncle, Bertil Trued, won his class (Regularity, no tripmeter) in his Saab 96.

Stefan Helin came third in his class (Regularity, with tripmeter) in a Saab 99EMS.

The Historic Class (up to 1000cc) was won by Stefan Segerljung in a Saab 96 850 Monte Carlo

And finally, Kenneth Bäcklund from the Saab Performance Team won his 1600-2000cc D3 category in his Ford Escort RS.


Congratulations to all the competitors and well done to our guys in the Saabs United Historic Rally Team!

And thanks to Thilo for the image, above!

SUHRT update

Today is the start of the final day in the Midnight Sun rally.

I spoke to Jörgen on the phone last night and after the drama of the previous day, he was a very relieved man.

The great news is that both cars – including the #1 car with the transplanted engine – made it through Day 2 unscathed. Well, almost unscathed. There may be a few marks or even indentations here and there where the conservatism of the regularity class was overlooked 🙂 but both cars are running and will start the day looking to finish the event.

I’ll be posting the results to the site as soon as I hear that both cars are over the line.

Saab Festival Update #2

The best laid plans…….

Yes, that’s the SUHRT Car #1 on a trailer. And yes, it appears to be terminal. The first news I received about this was in a video that I posted to the SUHRT website. There was an oil pressure problem and at that stage, with the car stuck on the side of the road, we were all hoping that the car would come in for repairs overnight and get underway again in the morning.

Read moreSaab Festival Update #2

Tuesday Night Snippets – Antourage edition

Greetings all. We’re still in sightseeing mode at the moment, with Mrs Swade enjoying Sweden as much as I told her she would.

Last night we had a very pleasant dinner with Mr and Mrs Par Brandt. Par is one of the nicest blokes in automotive journalism and he was my first contact with the mainstream motoring press, around 4 years ago. I love Par so much that I even went vegetarian for a night at his invitation (and enjoyed it!).


This morning we saw the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace (OK, but missable if you had something urgent to do).

We then walked down to the Grand Hotel and waited for these guys to arrive….

That’s Jörgen from the Saabs United Historic Rally Team in the front and the Spyker LM85 in the rear was being driven by none other than Mr Vladimir Antonov himself.

They were meeting there for lunch and I was supposed to join them, but unfortunately we were running late for a long drive south.

I did get to meet Vladimir briefly, however, and he’s a very nice guy. I hope we get to chat some more in Trollhattan on Thursday.

After those two cars arrived, the rest of the Antonov entourage arrived (henceforth known as the Antourage 🙂 ). There were three more cars, IIRC, with guys connected with the motorsports interests that VA indulges in and other assorted gents.

One of our own, North Toronto Punter, was scheduled to be there as well because his company, Mellowood Medical, is a premium sponsor of the rally team. Unfortunately I didn’t get to meet NTP as we were really in a rush and I couldn’t hang around. But I look forward to seeing him at the Festival.


I think some media people turned up at the Grand Hotel later on. Bengt J has passed on the following, from TV4:

In an interview with Swedish TV4 Economy News, Vladimir Antonov says he plans to start a sub brand to SAAB in Russia. It will be a new brand that will use older SAAB parts.

It will be a budget alternative and will probably be built in Kaliningrad. They are targeting a production start in about a year and look to make 10,000 cars/year.

Antonov is also in talks with GM to be able to step in as an owner in SAAB.

This is a big story, and one that just won’t go away. Antonov has been talking about Russian production in one form or another for some time now.

He’s also very determined to iron out the whispering campaign that saw him removed from (from public identification in) the Saab deal in the first place.


From our brief “hello” to Mr Antonov, we picked up our rental car and headed south. I’m writing to you tonight from Malmo.

The only thing worse than renting a VW Passat for a two day drive is turning up to collect it and finding out that it’s morphed into a Toyota Avensis. I think they use the Passat as an illustration of the vehicle category just to get people comfortable with the class of car, then they hit them with the cheap stuff.

When I asked if I could have the VW I saw in the picture, the AVIS guy told me they’ve actually only got 2 or 3 of them in the entire Swedish fleet. Tricky.

On paper, the Avensis was actually pretty good. 6-speed 2-litre and seats five, carried our luggage OK. Auto windows, Cruise, dual-zone aircon, rain-sensing wipers, light-sensing interior lights, heated seats, etc etc.

On the road, it was smooth enough, but dead boring and after driving it for 6 or so hours today, I felt like I’d been a demonstration event at an origami school.

I loathe Toyotas.


I got to use our newly-purchased TomTom for the first time today and it pointed out an interesting thing with the Avensis.

I know most speedometers are a little less than accurate, but I wasn’t expecting a disparity of this size. Check the needle on the dash:

As you can see, it’s showing around 118 or 119 km/h.

Here’s a blow-up of the speed reading from the TomTom. Lower left corner.

Whilst the car was indicating 118 or 119, it was actually only doing 109 (and yes, officer, apparently someone was speeding whilst driving and taking this photo, but you can’t prove it was me).


I love brown Porsches. This was taken yesterday on the boat cruise around Stockholm.


I’m yet to see a 9-5 in the wild here, but I did see an AMG Mercedes SLS today.

My goodness.


Whilst I love Stockholm, it’s fair to say I’m not quite so fond of the E4 highway, which dominates most of the drive to Malmo.

This is what you see for 80% of the 600+ kms between the two cities:

Blacktop and treetops – non-stop.

I think there’s definitely scope to dress this highway up with some public artworks or something similar. One could almost say it’s a safety issue, with the road becoming so mind-numbingly boring so as to induce fatigue at various stages.


Tomorrow I have a special, special surprise to write about.

Very, very exciting for me personally, and I hope you’ll like it too.

SUHRT update – and then there were two

It’s been a little while since I’ve done an update from the guys over in Sweden, building up the two 99 Turbos for the Rally to the Midnight Sun.

The event itself is less than 2 weeks away now!

This video is a few weeks old, but as you’ll see the #2 car has been re-painted in Marble White and now has its decals on. The cars are getting closer and closer to being finished.



There are plenty of updates over on the Saabs United Historic Rally Team website, including the announcement of our new sponsorship with ConversGroup, a profile of our #2 Car navigator, WRC guy Denis Giraudet – and a whole bunch more stories surrounding the build of both our cars (check out the gas tanks!).

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