Archive for July, 2009
Posted on 31. Jul, 2009 by Ryan.
Photo Credit: Saab Automobile AB
I just heard that some people have been receiving e-mails from Saab Automobile USA about the 2009 Saab Owners Convention that is just 2 weeks away.
I am most excited to see the 2010 Saab 9-3x though, perhaps there will even be test drive opportunities?
As we weave our way through 2009, we anxiously await the one weekend where we can get together and celebrate all things Saab. The Saab Club of North
America’s annual Saab Owners Convention is coming. And we’d love for you to join us.
Held at Copper Mountain Resort – among the twisting, turning roads carved into the Rockies – this year’s convention takes place August 13-16. Highlights include a rare gathering of Saab heritage vehicles – a ’64 Wagon, a ’52 92, a ’56 Sonett I, a ’78 99 Turbo and a ’99 92 Viggen. These classics will also be joined by the 2010 9-3X, which is destined to join the ranks of the cherished. The festivities will conclude with a five-day road rally touring four national parks. Get the details.
Hope you can make it. See you in the Rockies.
Thanks for your continued interest in Saab,
Saab Automobile USA
Posted on 31. Jul, 2009 by Ryan.
Kjell-Ã…ke Eriksson, who Saab History interviewed back in January of 2008 in Detroit at the NAIAS, has now been appointed as General Manager for Saab Automobile in Sweden. I would highly suggest you watch my interview to learn more about him, the interview is just over a year old now, but very relevant to learning about him and his background.
His previous position involved managing Saab in Germany for just about a year, so now he returns to Sweden to continue his long and incredible career with Saab once again in his native land.
Kjell-Ã…ke Eriksson has been appointed General Manager for Saab in Sweden with an effective date of August 17.
In this role Kjell-Ã…ke is replacing Patrik Riese, who has elected to pursue a career outside General Motors.
We would like to thank Patrik for his drive and dedicated work during the years he has been with Saab and General Motors.
Kjell-Ã…ke – currently Managing Director Saab Deautschland – has served in several senior positions and brings a wealth of experience:
Purchasing Manager, Saab-Scania
Chief Engineer, Saab Automobile
Director, Parts & Service, Saab Automobile
Vehicle Line Executive – covering several Saab products
Kjell-Ã…ke has served many years in Sweden, but also in the US and Germany.
The appointment of Kjell-Ã…ke demonstrates our commitment to the Swedish Organization and the importance of the Swedish Market.
We wish him much success in his new assignment and trust on your full support.
In the interim period – until Kjell-Ã…ke is in place on August 17 – all business matters previously requiring the attention of Patrik Riese should be referred to Ralph Gonsalves.
From August 17 there will be a split of responsibilities:
– Business matters related to the Opel and Chevrolet will be handled by Ralph and dedicated Brand Teams.
– Business matters related to the Saab Brand will be handled by Kjell-Ã…ke and a dedicated Brand Team.
This is in line with the organizational steps planned for the three Brands in Sweden.
Jan Ã…ke Jonsson
Saab Automobile AB
Regional Executive Director Nordic
Posted on 30. Jul, 2009 by Ryan.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that longtime Saab rally drivers, Luke Sorenson and Geoff Clark of the Saab Rally team will be competing in the New England Forest Rally this year.
The team participated at the rally on both Friday, July 17th as well as Saturday, July 18th in Bethel, Maine near Sunday River Ski resort.
I unfortunately, was unable to make it, however, fellow Saab Enthusiast Zach of New Hampshire, managed to get to the event and took some stunning photography as well as video footage as well as you see above.
I have also been in touch with both Luke & Geoff and hopefully they will be providing a summary of their rally in the not-so-distant future. I am hoping that they have some good stories to tell about their experience combined with material about on their rally statistics.
I think it’s so special to have folks this dedicated to continue rally sport with a legendary Saab 99. Those that manage to do this such as these two have, should get some sort of official acknowledgment from Saab Automobile because they are, far and few between, but inspirational nonetheless with all of the time and effort they have contributed over the years to what put Saab on the map back in the 1960’s.
Update: Geoff has just submitted their recap below!
A quick summary (before I go home):
We arrived to the rally late on Thursday evening but managed to get registered and through tech inspection which made things easier for Friday morning.
Friday we started around 9:00 AM with a parc expose (spectators get to walk around, look at cars, talk to the competitiors)
That was followed by a short 1/2 mile Super Special stage through the Sunday River facility. It was a good spot for spectators because it was only a few hundred feet from the parc expose.
Unfortunately for us the car was running poorly with only about 80hp. The lack of power and the slippery surface made us think the clutch was slipping.
From there we went to the Recreation Park in Mexico, Maine where there was a service and another parc expose. A service after only 1/2 mile of competition is fairly pointless but it was done so that the spectators at Mexico could see servicing. We then ran another 1/2 mile Super Special stage through the Mexico Recreation Park where we thought the clutch was still slipping. Fortunately these two Super Special stages are short so we didn’t lose much time.
After running that Super Special we went to a “regrouping control” (essentially to re-order the cars but worked as another parc expose). We talked with our crew and they started looking for a replacement clutch. We finally located two clutches that other SAAB enthusiasts and service team members could bring with them when they arrived to the rally on Friday night (thanks to Mike White and Seth Strait!). We weren’t excited about changing the clutch late at night but knew it could be done in well under an hour.After the regrouping control we went to two real rally stages, multiple miles long each. Unfortunately the medical crew didn’t show up and the organizers had to cancel those stages for safety. So back to Mexico we went for another service.
We then went to the last stage of the day on Friday, the famous and exciting Concord Pond stage. Just the transit there was exciting with locals and fans waving, sitting on their porches or standing on their lawns cheering us as we slowly drove by. There were even little girls doing coordinated dances! We got to the stage and had a good time going as fast as we could with an underpowered car. That stage helped prove to us that we had a power issue, not a clutch issue so we wouldn’t be changing clutches at midnight.
Friday counted as one regional rally which only ended up being two 1/2 mile Super Special stages and the 5 mile Concord Pond stage.
Saturday started early with a one hour transit to Berlin, NH to the site of the former Fraser Paper Mill. The mill was torn down a few years ago and a biomass plant is scheduled to be put in. For the mean time we had a service there. We had figured out that the power issue with the car might be due to a faulty intake air temperature sensor and possibly a bad ECU map. We were late heading to service so our crew stopped at a few auto parts stores looking for a sensor, which they found, but we didn’t have enough time to change it in that service.
On the way to service we discovered that the wipers wouldn’t self-cancel and kept running. I pulled the fuse out and taped it to the dash and would stick it in when we needed wipers (the fuse box is on the dash within reach of the codriver).
We ran a 0.9 mile Super Special through the Fraser Paper Mill and hit a muddy puddle on the first corner. I had to try to plug the fuse in as we were bouncing around and couldn’t read the route book. At one point in the stage there is a hard right turn and if you were to go straight you’d end up going over a large waterfall. When I saw where we were I yelled “TURN RIGHT!!!!!”
We then ran two long (~8 mile?) stages just east of the paper mill before coming back to service. We did as best we could with an underpowered car on these stages but Luke wasn’t having much fun because once we hit around 4000rpms the car would stop accelerating.
When we got back to service Seth installed the temperature sensor, Luke re-mapped the ECU, I made some long pigtails to plug into the fuse box so I could cross the wires when we needed wipers, and the rest of the crew went wild fixing and checking everything else.
We then drove another hour north to the final five stages of the day. We had been scheduled to run four stages that afternoon but the organizers worked hard to get us another due to the two that were cancelled on Friday.
We also now had a lot more power (maybe 300+hp? Luke can better estimate)
The final five stages went really well and we set some fast times. There were some rough sections in two of the stages but we managed to get the car through with only some minor Knicks in the skidplate and some minor damage to the tires. The only scary moment was when an empty water bottle that I hadn’t properly stowed got loose and got in Luke’s way. I was able to grab it and hold it for the rest of the stage.
Our good performance on the last five stages moved us into 6th place (out of 32 starters) in Saturday’s regional rally and second in class (Group 5). We also did well enough to come in 4th in the two-wheel drive championship known as “Max Attack!” (www.max-attack.com). Max Attack combines the results from both days (Friday and Saturday) to come up with the winners, so our power troubles from Friday and Saturday morning played into our finish. Even though we had power issues, the car that came in 3rd in two-wheel drive was a lower powered car and was driven very well. I think we would have had a real tight battle with them had our car had full power the whole weekend.
OK, so that summary wasn’t that quick….
Posted on 29. Jul, 2009 by Ryan.
Photo Credit: Saab Automobile Belgium
Saab Automobile Belgium have recently had a Saab event where the Saab Performance Team was present and did what they do best on the circuit of Spa, Francorchamps during the 24 hour (3-day) high performance race car event.
In parallel to this event, there was a ride and drive of 60 Saab 9-3 convertibles for 60 couples. That sounds like a great time, although I understand there was some rain for although they seem to have managed to pull it off. The Saab Performance team however, well that’s another story.
Here’s a brief writeup to accompany the photographs of the event.
From Wednesday July22nd until Saturday July25th, our company had the honnour to welcome the Saab Performance Team at the circuit of Spa, Francorchamps. http://www.total24hours.com/ During those days, there were several races (differents classes).
On Saturday, we invited about 60 couples. You can see the program of that day on the picture with the badges/lanyards.
They came to Spa with their Saab 9-3 Convertible. We did the welcome at an abbay in Stavelot, close to Spa. Afterwards all 60 convertibles drove behind each other (with a police squad before the 1st and after the last) to the lunch place and afterwards they drove to the circuit. There, the drivers of the race jumped in the open top convertibles (3 per car in the back), to give a salute at the crowd sitting in the bleachers. Short before this, the Saab Performance Team performed!
Posted on 29. Jul, 2009 by Ryan.
The Saab 99 Combi Coupe (1974-1978)
The first Saab hatchback came into production as a 1974 model year Saab 99, known as the “Combi Coupe “. The Saab 99 Combi Coupe or Wagonback as it was initially referred to in the U.S., arrived in 1974 following the Saab 98 prototype while it took on the additional characteristics of the 99. The Saab 99 Combi Coupe was designed by Bjorn Envall and was produced in Uusikaupunki, Finland as well as Trollhattan, Sweden. The Saab 99 Combi Coupe” was a hatchback and also known as the Wagonback in the U.S. and was Saab’s first designer, Sixton Sason’s, final project. The hatch system, when open, had a platform that had a flush continuation right to the bumper. This model set the history books as the first true “hatchback” for Saab and the first model is on display today at the Saab Car Museum. This model had a five year run until it was transitioned into the next model in the lineage.
The Saab 900 Hatchback (1979-1993)
The classic Saab 900 or C900 as it is also known, was that next model in the lineage which not only took on similar design characteristics of the 99’s hatchback, it also came in two variations of the hatchback, one being a 3-door coupe, the other being a 5-door sedan. The hatch system was identical to that of the 99, where the platform was flush to the bumper and the seats folded back for a large storage compartment. It did have an optional wiper arm to be affixed to the hatch on certain years. It was the C900 that became the highest selling Saab of all time, and the hatchback itself outselling every other model to this very day. The Saab 900 continued in hatchback form until 1993, when it was replaced with its successor.
The Saab 9000 Hatchback (1985-1992)
The Saab 9000 was a jointly developed project with Fiat & Saab allowed and was the first ever premium mid-sized sedan that was ever produced for the company. The first variant of this model range was the hatchback, which had a three piece glass frame effect, initially with a wrap-around spoiler for the first year. Then the following year, the spoiler was reduced to single spoiler. Beneath the spoiler the rear panel was clean with no lights except for those that illuminated the license plate. Unlike the 900, when the hatch system was open, there was no flush platform to the bumper, it was raised and added depth to the hatch opening. The seats in the Saab 9000 included the ability to fold down completely flat with two twist out brackets and stay clips for a flush platform, without the need for the rear seat rests to be removed. This model’s hatchback system was almost identical for 8 solid years.
The Saab NG900 (1994-1998)
The new generation 900, sometimes referred to as NG or GM 900, replaced the previous model maintaining a hatchback although in a new form. This model in both 3-door and 5-door configurations once again like the C900, however it’s hatchback system was a continuation of what was exhibited in the non-flush platform as depicted in the 9000. The seats could fold down as well, although they would not lie completely flat. The addition of a wiper arm was also standard on both variants of this model. The NG900 was in production for 5 years much like the first hatchback from 1994 until 1998 when it was replaced.
The Saab 9000 CS Hatchback (1993-1998)
In 1993, the previous Saab 9000 was updated to the 9000 CS body style and with that update, its hatchback was also redesigned which included almost a wrap-around rear window including the addition of a wiper arm and continuous tail light cluster as well. The seats in the Saab 9000 included the ability to fold down completely flat with two twist out brackets for a flush platform, however the retaining clips to hold them were removed, and unlike the previous 9000, the head rests were larger and therefore needed to be removed before folding down. This model continued for 6 years. 1998 was the last year the Saab 9000 hatchback.
The Saab 9-3 (1999-2002)
The Saab 9-3 was the last Saab to this very day to have been designed and ultimately produced in a hatchback form, again continuing both variations of a 3-door coupe as well as a 5-door hatchback. This model looked similar to the predecessor, although it had much more refinements. The seats could fold down just as well as the NG900 model, and they too would not lie completely flat. This model concluded in 2002, effectively ending 28 years of hatchbacks for Saab Automobile.
The Saab NG 9-3 (2012- ? )
The next generation Saab 9-3, touted as the “93” harkening back to Saab’s second model introduction back in 1955 is indicated to offer a hatchback. This model will effectively pick up where Saab left off in 2002 when the hatchback was ended, a decade earlier.
Posted on 28. Jul, 2009 by Ryan.
The 2009 Saab Owners Convention is just over 2 weeks away now, I can’t believe it’s almost here!
At the convention, we will be recognizing former Saab USA employees in attendance. As the new Koenigsegg owned Saab Automobile will be moving fast to regroup their regional importers including Saab USA this fall, this is the perfect time at the end of summer to reflect on the past, enjoy the present and ponder the future.
Here’s the piece that just went to the publishers for the SOC booklet that will be printed Thursday.
Saab USA Former Employee Recognition Reunion – 2009 SOC
It is the work that many of you did that has contributed to Saabâ€™s presence here over the years in the United States and that is why itâ€™s important to recognize each and every one of your accomplishments.
As a way for everyone to say thank you for your hard work, the 2009 Saab Owners Convention are welcoming any Saab USA former employees to the convention, at Copper Mountain Resort, Colorado just two hours from Denver, Colorado this August 13th-16th. As a former employee registered for the convention, you will be identified with your lanyard and as part of the recognition there will be a toast to you at the banquet as well as a group photo of all of you taken immediately after the group car shot on Saturday.
This is a pivotal year for Saab Automobile in the United States. It will be this year’s convention where we think it’s important to recognize you, but also give you an opportunity to reflect on Saab in the United States, meet old friends, make new friends and have a good time, which is what this effort is all about.
Saab History – Past, Present & Future & SOC 2009 Contributor
Posted on 28. Jul, 2009 by Ryan.
Photo Credit: Saab History
This past week I noticed a beautiful Saab 9000 CS here in Maine with Colorado plates. The car was immaculate and reminded me of the same model and color that budget rent-a-car had 10 years ago that many rented for the 1999 Saab Owners Convention in Keystone, Colorado.
I suspect that there won’t be any Saab’s to rent this year, however but I do hear from the convention folks that if you are renting a car, they will be providing you a nice Saab emblem with double-sided tape for you to place on your rental car during your stay!
I wish the owner of this Saab 9000 a safe travel back to Colorado, perhaps we may see this Saab again at the convention next month?
Posted on 27. Jul, 2009 by Ryan.
The 2009 Saab Owners Convention is just around the corner next month and as part of the convention, there will be a live auction that has already started.
The live auction includes many vehicles in pristine order including the last of the SPG’s, a 1991 model year in Talladega Red as shown above!
Here’s the writeup about this auction with all associated hyperlinks for the various vehicles including a direct link to the bid site itself.
Hey Gang… just wanted everyone to know that the Catalog of SOC09 Live Auction Items is posted today on Proxibid …. exactly 4 weeks ahead of the Live SAAB Auction at Copper Mountain. But you can start the bidding now, and bid until the Auctioneer drops the hammer real time on August 14th during the Live Auction.
Your SOC09/RMSC Auction Committee has been working hard to get the consignments and donations all listed, but there is a lot more stuff to come. We decided to go online with the initial nine (9) vintage & classic SAAB cars and nine (9) items of Parts and Memorabilia. Check back often for new items that will be added. All the dozens of items that don’t make it to the Live Auction will go in the Silent Auction and the John Moss Sunday Charity Auction. Those event are only open to registered SOC attendees.
The initial Live Auction listing of cars has a couple Sonetts, an MC850, a V4 Vintage Racer, and 2 really primo C900 Convertibles. The Parts & Memorabilia Auction has some interesting and somewhat rare items …. Talledaga Wheels, a beautiful original Saab painting, Diecast model “Sadie,” 95/96 ribbed dash pad, a Halda Speedpilot, and more. And there will be more items added before the Saab Convention in August. But please register to bid, and you can start bidding today even if you will be at the Convention for the Live Auction finale.
We, of course, wish everyone in the Saab Community could be with us at Copper Mountain but the next best thing if you can’t be there is to register to view the live video webcast on Proxibid.com. You will get to see the cars and other items with live streaming video and see, plus hear, the auctioneer live also ……….. but, best of all, you can BID!!
The Auction Catalog can be found at http://www.proxibid.com/asp/Catalog.asp?aid=21109
The cars will also be featured individually on YouTube with 2 minute videos. So far the first 5 Saabs are posted, with more to come as video becomes available. See the Auction Cars on YouTube at my “Elkmtnman” Channel. The links for the 5 are listed below.
Please forward this message to everyone you know in the worldwide Saab Community. And of course there’s still time to register and attend the Saab Convention in Colorado Aug 13-16. It’s going to be great!
Thanks for helping to spread the word. All net revenue from the Live Auction Commissions and Fees will go to help defray expenses of hosting the Saab Owners Convention.
Comments and questions invited.
RMSC/SOC09 Auction Chairman
94 (Sonett I) (14)
Formula Junior (3)
Quantum IV (10)
97 (Sonett II & III) (47)
600 Lancia (4)
900 NG (33)
9-3 SS (182)
9-5 NG (131)
9-3 NG (8)
92001 (Ursaab) (5)
Quantum I (2)
Quantum II (3)
Quantum III (5)
Quantum V (3)
900 Cabriolet Prototype (1)
900 SPG Prototype (1)
900 Concept Coupe (2)
Bertone Novanta (1)
9-3 Sport-Hatch (5)
9-3 BioPower Hybrid (10)
9-7X Aero (1)
9-5 BioPower 100 (9)
9-4X BioPower (58)
9-X BioHybrid (50)
9-X Air (12)
210 Draken (1)
J 29 (Tunnan) (2)
J 32 (Lansen) (3)
J 35 (Draken) (8)
JA 37 (Viggen) (17)
JAS 39 (Gripen) (9)
Wind Turbines (2)
Saab Clubs (32)