Saab Camping – Saabo, Toppola & Tent

Posted on 30. Nov, 2006 by in 1960-1969, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2009, 9-3, 900, 96, 99, Saabo, Toppola, Trollhättan, Sweden

campingsign.jpg Saab owners and enthusiasts for a number of years have had some interesting options when it came to camping with their beloved Saab automobiles.

One of these items is known as the Saabo, another was the Topolla and of course we have always had the traditional tent.

It was not as clear to me that these options were still widely used today until my return to Sweden last summer during the 2005 Saab Festival in Trollhätten. Although I did not plan ahead to camp during this event, I did manage to visit the campsite when my friend from Iceland showed me around.

I think there could be a possibility that I will ditch the traditional accomodations altogether for an opportunity to camp amongst a great group of Saab owners and enthusiasts from all over the world.

I have provided descriptions and photos I took from the Saab Festival 2005 last summer in Trollhätten, Sweden. Enjoy and please let me know what your thoughts are by posting a comment!

Saabo

The Saabo which is a trailered camper that was available between 1960 and 1968.

The SAABO caravan (camper/travel trailer) was manufactured in Ljunga, outside Norrköping. The project was started by Bo Bjernekull of the Ljunga plant and Birger Lindberg at SAAB in Linköping.

Officially they were working on a project called MEFAN that was supposed to produce hovercrafts for the military.

Unofficially they made a camper caravan. The idea was to get a product to even out the worlkoad at the helicopter department, that at the time mainly assembled helicopters manufactured in France. After making a model in 1:10 scale they received the OK for production. A first prototype was made at Fisksätra boatyard and the pre-production prototypes at Marieholms Bruk. The first prototypes were made without brakes, but these were soon added. It was important to keep the weight down as the caravan would be used with automobiles with as little as 25 hp (19 kW, like the 38 hp (28 kW) two stroke Saab 96.

Despite the small size they were designed to accommodate a family of four (five with an extra bunk). The interior consisted of two sofas, a dining table, galley sink and two wardrobes. Liquified petroleum gas was used for cooking, heating and lighting. The design was made with two half shells of fibreglass enclosing an insulation of folded cardboard.

The SAABO had large, low set front and rear windows so the driver of the towing vehicle could look right through it in the rear view mirror.

At least 438 SAABOs were made.

For more information on the Saabo, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAABO

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Toppola

The Toppola on the other hand was a camper shell that began in 1982 originally for the Saab 99 Combi Coupe, then the 900, the Saab 9-3. They state that they are looking for another company to pickup the production, so an entrepreurial spirited business minded Saab Enthusiast has a great opportunity on their hands! Wouldn’t it be nice to see this in other countries as well as Sweden?

Here is the information from Wikpedia: Toppola is a brand of camper shell originally made for the Saab 99 combi coupé. By removing the hatch and putting on the Toppola you could easily convert your car to a campervan in about 15 to 30 minutes. It is also just as easy to lift the top off and reattach the hatch door when you want to use your car as normal again. Even if the unit looks small it features full standing height (2.0 m) and a 170 by 200 cm bed. It could be fitted with a complete kitchen and even a heater for use during winter. The total weight addition is about 115 kg so the unit is very light.

The Toppola was first made for the Saab 99, but later also Saab 900, Saab 9-3 and Ford Sierra and Scorpio.

As of writing (2006) production has stopped and SCANDO is looking for someone to take over production of the Toppola.

For more information on the Toppola, visit their home directly at http://hem.passagen.se/scarlot/toppola/ as well as Wikipedia source of this information below. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toppola

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Saab vs. The Tent

Lastly, we have the classic “Saab vs. The Tent” arrangement. As you can see, this is probably the most simplistic method for a good nights sleep in the wilderness. This 9-3 Convertible owner has managed to pitch the tent, but raising the convertible top is another story altogether.

For more information on a capable tent, visit http://www.rei.com or http://www.ems.com

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8 Responses to “Saab Camping – Saabo, Toppola & Tent”

  1. Andy Rupert

    24. Jan, 2007

    Your post made me think of my Cheapola camper for the Classic 900.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Ryan

    29. Jan, 2009

    Tom,

    There is someone in the United States that imported a SAABO and had it at the 2005 Saab Owners Convention in Vermont!

    Of course the Toppola works for any 900, NG900 or 9-3 with the hatch removed of course! 🙂

    Happy that you enjoy the site!

    Ryan

    Reply to this comment
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    13. Aug, 2009

    When l first opened my seo company l promised that when l had enough money, l was going to get a Saab

    Reply to this comment
  4. tony

    20. Jul, 2010

    Hi just fascinated by the toppola and now looking for one in UK if anyone has any ideas? thanks, Tony

    Reply to this comment
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    13. Dec, 2010

    I can gladly say l won a saab

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