Archive for 'Orange, Connecticut'

Steven Rossi, Fmr. Saab USA PR Chief, Published in NY Times

Posted on 16. Nov, 2009 by .

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Steven Rossi, former Public Relations Director for Saab Cars USA, has recently written a great article about Saab’s History and the cars that people collect today in the New York Times..

Rossi who took over for Lennart Lonnegren in 1990 and continued this role as Public Relations Director up until the a few years after the move to Norcross Georgia in 1994, has a long history with Saab dating back to 1978 as young engineer.

In fact, one of his many humble accomplishments took place before this position. In the early eighties, he worked alongside former Saab-Scania of America President, Bob Sinclair to submit the engineering drawings for what became one of the most iconic products in Saab’s historical portfolio, the Saab Convertible.

As a proud member of the 60-consecutive months of sales led by Bob Sinclair and former national sales director, Sten Helling, Rossi saw not only the convertible but the launch of the Saab 9000 in which he participated in the press event at Talladega Speedway for the “Long Run” in 1986.

Throughout his time with Saab in the United States, he saw many aspects of the business inside and out from engineering to public relations.

Today, he continues to hold the torch as one of the original members of the team that worked in Orange, Connecticut. In fact, he has organized two Saab Reunions in the North East over the past five years for other former employees to gather and reminisce.

I highly suggest you read this piece by Steven Rossi beginning with his opening excerpt below.

SAAB is a relatively young and proudly offbeat automaker, and from the start it has appealed to those who appreciate the unconventional. For aficionados, “Find your own road” was more than a slogan.

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Saab History Interviews Sten Helling, Former Director Sales & Marketing Of Saab-Scania Of America

Posted on 24. Aug, 2009 by .

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At the 2009 Saab Owners Convention, I had the esteemed honor to interview Sten Helling, the former director of sales & marketing for Saab-Scania of America, Inc.

It was a pleasure to meet with him and I thank him for giving us the opportunity to learn about his work with Saab-Scania Of America in Orange, Connecticut from 1980 until 1991.

Below is the bio he has provided from when he worked with Saab-Scania of America.

“Sten Helling was born and educated in Gothenburg, Sweden.

He joined AB Volvo in Gothenburg in 1963, transferred to Volvo of America in 1965. He left Volvo in 1980, at that time National Sales Manager of Volvo of America, to join Saab Scania of America, as General Manager, Sales and Marketing.

Bob Sinclair, who became president of Saab-Scania of America in 1979, and Helling, had worked together as President and Manager, Sales and Marketing, respectively, developing Volvo’s business in the western half of the United States, from 1967 until 1979.

Helling progressed as Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Executive VP and President of Saab USA (formerly Saab-Scania of America).

When a GM/Saab board decision was made that Saab USA should relocate it’s head office from Orange, Connecticut to Norcross, Georgia, Helling did not agree with that decision and left Saab USA in 1991.”

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Sten Helling Provides Saab History A Dealer Development Video From 1985

Posted on 12. Jun, 2009 by .

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Saab History has recently received an incredible video from non other than Sten Helling himself this time, as a follow-up to the previous film I found at the Saabs @ Carlisle event.

This film unlike the previous film that discusses dealership support programs, focuses on the actual dealership development (ie.upgrading dealership facilities, having a consistent image, etc.).

In this film, Mr. Helling introduces you to the film directly from the Saab-Scania of America headquarters at 60 Marsh Hill Road in Orange, Connecticut, then invites you to see many Saab dealerships circa 1985 throughout the North East region of the United States.

I found this detailed yet brief film very nice and an impressive message sent to us today as to what the Saab dealership landscape was at that time, a year before the peak sales record spanning the “60 consecutive months of sales” (1982-1986).

A sincere thank you to Sten Helling for providing this video to Saab History. Here’s hoping he has many other videos, photographs and other information that will help illustrate the hard work that went into the successes here in the United States at that time.

This video is now the 474th film stored Permanently in the Saab History Video Archive.

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Saab-Scania Of America Dealer Support Promo Video With Sten Helling, National Director Sales & Marketing – 1987

Posted on 04. Jun, 2009 by .

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Sten Helling, former National Manager of Sales & Marketing for Saab-Scania of America, Inc. until he retired as President on October of 1991, significantly impacted Saab’s sales in the United States over that time.

Through a stellar effort along with former President of Saab-Scania of America, Bob Sinclair and their team in Orange, Connecticut, they ensured the historical “60 consecutive months of sales growth” from 1982 until 1986.

There were many aspects that contributed to this unprecedented time for Saab in the United States, but one of them was quite clear, dealership development.

In this video above received a the Saabs @ Carlisle event recently, Sten Helling describes all of the aspects that the Saab team prepared, in order to support the dealerships in the United States in 1987 for the following year.

You will find that this support is absolutely incredible, and it is my hope that this kind of organized, well thought out and planned approach can return again some day in the not-so-distant future for Saab in the United States.

I hope you enjoy watching this video whether you are a consumer, dealer or just plain all around enthusiast interested in seeing a turnaround for Saab Automobile.

* Stored Permanently in the Saab History Video Archive.

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Former Saab USA Employee Tom Letourneau Shares With Saab History His Restored & Modified 1979 Saab 99

Posted on 06. May, 2009 by .

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Photo Credits: Tom Letourneau

Tom Letourneau of Providence, Rhode Island, a former Saab-Scania of America employee worked for almost a decade as a district parts sales manager in Orange, Connecticut from 1980 to 1989, has kindly provided Saab History a nice account of his restored & heavily modified 1979 Saab 99 GL 2-door.

This Saab 99, had a color coordinated european air flow kit installed, then it was converted to a Saab 900S Twin Cam 16-Valve engine and 5-speed transmission in the mid nineties!

A sincere thank you to Tom Letourneau, your enthusiasm is evident and your kindness in providing this material is much appreciated.

Here is a writeup in the Providence Journal thanks again to Tom.

CUMBERLAND Tom Letourneau’s 1979 Saab 99 hardly looks its age.

In addition to its modest size and modernist design, the car is armed with a Euro AirFlow Kit that, with its lower body panels, front scoop and spoilers plus Shelby American Mag Wheels, gives it an updated tuner look.

But the AirFlow package dates back nearly 30 years when Letourneau, who worked for Saab at the time, said he and others convinced the company to import a show car.

However, Saab decided not to import the package and Letourneau acquired the car after it had done its turn as a demonstration and executive model.

Letourneau then took it a step further — after his son had blown out the engine — by installing a 16-valve twin-cam engine with a five-speed transmission that he picked up from a Saab dealer in Maine.

“George Siegmund of South County Motors helped me fabricate it,” he said in an interview at his house. “It’s the only one like it in the country.”
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Harriet Billing of Clyde Billing, Inc. Saab Dealership In Washington, Maine, Passes Away At 84

Posted on 23. Mar, 2009 by .

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billings Harriet Billing of Clyde Billing, Inc. Saab Dealership In Washington, Maine, Passes Away At 84

Photo Credit: Saab-Scania of America, Inc. / 60 Marsh Hill Road, Orange, Connecticut 1983
(L-to-R Bob Sinclair, Clyde Billing, Harriet Billing, Erik Carlsson)

Harriet Billings of Clyde Billing, Inc. that started a Saab dealership with her husband Clyde, in Washington, Maine that began back in 1958 and was sold in 2002, has passed away this weekend at 84.

Saab History has recently received a summary provided by her son, Bruce Billings this morning, more will be forthcoming.

I give my sincerest condolences to the Billing Family.

Harriett Billing passed away unexpectedly on Saturday March 21st at the age of 84.

She and her husband Clyde operated Clyde Billing Inc. , a SAAB dealership in Washington Maine and later Augusta Maine from 1958 until 2002.

She and Clyde were accomplished racers and ralliers during the 60′s. I’ve sent along a picture of them receiving an award from Bob Sinclair to mark their 25 years with SAAB taken in 1983.

Bruce

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Happy Holidays From Saab-Scania Of America – 1979

Posted on 24. Dec, 2008 by .

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sinclair Happy Holidays From Saab Scania Of America   1979

Photo Credit: Lavona Buchner / Saab-Scania of America Dec, 1979 (L-to-R Bob Sincalir, Lennart Lonnegren, Santa Claus, ?)

Here’s a nice blast from the past! This is holiday photo from fellow Saab History contributor and former Saab-Scania of America employee, Lavona Buchner.

This photo showcases Bob Sinclair, with Lennart Lonnegren right behind him, as he opens a present during the holiday party held in December of 1979, his first year on the job at Saab-Scania of America, Inc. – 60 Marsh Hill Road in Orange, Connecticut.

Here’s hoping that the folks at Saab Automobile AB find a new owner for their brand in their stocking this holiday season. Finding a new owner, would certainly given the remaining Saab Automobile employees, dealers, staff, etc. something to smile about this season!

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Saab-Scania Of America Corporate Photos – 1979

Posted on 23. Nov, 2008 by .

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Photo Credits: Lavona Buchner

Lavona Buchner, a former Saab-Scania Of America, Inc. employee has recently contacted me and let me borrow a wonderful photo album full of vintage photographs dating back to the 1979 era.

At this time, it was Bob Sinclair’s first year returning back to Saab-Scania Of America as president, since the early years with SAAB Motors, Inc.

The photos above include Bob Sinclair’s return along with some photos of Lennart Lonnegren as well as Lavona Buchner while working at 60 Marsh Hill Road in Orange, Connecticut.

I have been able to, thanks to her kind help, note the who, what, where and when in most cases here. A sincere thank you to Lavona who thoroughly enjoyed her years as an employee with Saab-Scania of America for bringing us this material for others to share for years to come!

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