Tag Archives: New England Saab Association

2008 Saab Owners Convention – Saturday

Posted on 26. Aug, 2008 by .

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7.jpgOn Saturday, August 23rd, I arrived promptly by 9am to thankfully continue selling Saab literature in the shade this time around, but also to sign up for the people’s choice lawn event. The people’s choice event involved just that, showing your car to the people, and the people can cast their vote all any Saab based on any factor, whether that be appearance, interesting approach or any other subjective reason.

While the judging continued, I met up with Liam of Okemo Mountain Resort, who hosted Saab History this past March during the Aero-X Ski test drive in Ludlow, Vermont. 8.jpgLiam brought with him, his Saab 9-5 Aero which made had its first encounter with a dynometer, an instrument used to test the torque, horsepower and a number of other performance features of automobiles. Evidently, the statistics report produced after the experience, were right in line with the manufacturers specs, so that was comforting!

At noon, the New England Saab Association made their renewed and strong presence felt as they decided to do another bar-b-que in parallel to the boxed lunch activity.9.jpg This allowed for those day trippers, whom far outweighted full convention registrations, a chance to eat at the vendor & field area, a good 1/2 mile from the hotel. Even Felix Bosshard, former owner of Gaston-Andrey of Boston, mentioned in the book “In Quest Of A Company Soul”, who made a surprise appearance at the Saab Owners Convention, went directly to the bar-b-que! Way to go NESA!

The majority of Saturday involved lawn events from the Concours and aforementioned People’s Choice to a rescheduled group photo at about 2pm.
10.jpg The group photo, in my opinion, should be one of the most critical activities because it visually communicates attendance figures, and while this year’s group shot looked nice, with the green grass and blue sky backdrop, the number of vehicles continues to be dramatically down. With that said, there were probably twice as many remaining Saabs not in the group shot in the adjacent parking lot as well as back on the hill near the hotel. The group shot is said to be open to anyone, day passers, registrants or even guests of visitors, so why can’t we get more vehicles in the photo? Do we need more time to prepare, more advertising and communication to encourage more participation?

As schedules changed over the course of the day from the original schedule on the program guide, I ended up missing a bunch of seminars including the curator of the Saab Museum, Peter Backström’s presentation on the Saab facilities in Trollhättan, Sweden.

11.jpgFollowing the group photo and attemps to attend the rescheduled seminars, the banquet was next. This time, I made my way just in time not to miss this activity (hope it too was not rescheduled), I began to head towards the hall where the dinner was held and I noticed that the GM Heritage Collection was getting prepared for departure. One of the vehicles that I made my way over to, with a much anticipated photo opportunity, was the none other than the Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concept car alongside my 1992 Saab 900 Turbo! The most hiliarious part of this visit & photo op included seeing the biohybrid run out of gas, yes gas. Since this 9-X BioHybrid Concept has a rooftop solar panel setup designed to power the battery hybrid system, I suggested that they just switch the car to the other energy system and power it that way. I was told, not surprisingly, that none of that works on the car and that it is just a gas driven traditional engine underneath. As unfortunate as that was, at least I tried to help get the car back on the trailer and safely home with my suggestion. I know these concept cars are theoretical design exercises, but you can’t blame me for my optimism, right?

13.jpgThe final chapter of the evening was Saab Automobile USA President, Steve Shannon’s “State of Saab 2008” presentation at 8pm. Momemts before the presentation was to begin, I was happily surprised to see Saab Automobile USA’s PR chief, Jan-Willem Vester, a die-hard Saab fan for years, owns a 1984 900 since new as well as others, showed me a tie he was proud to wear that evening. The tie had some historical significance, it was given to him when back when he was a journalist in 1988 while he attended the Saab 9000 CD launch in Nice, France. At this event, you will see that it is also the same event where Bob Sinclair met with Jan-Willem early in his career, and little did Sinclair know that Jan-Willem would end up becoming head of PR for Saab Automobile USA years later.

12.jpgThe 2008 State of Saab began with a follow-up to GM CEO Rick Wagoner’s comments a week earlier. He said that this statement was interpreted as positive, indicating that Saab Automobile AB in Sweden is a strong European brand in order to communicate that they are actually in the black opposed to what some media outlets have been speculating lately. As for the United States, Steve Shannon said we still have some work to do. Following this response he focused on communicating on new products, from the Saab 9-4x, new 9-5 (sedan to be introduced prior to the combi) as well as mentions of even the 2nd generations of the Saab 9-4x, new 9-5 and new 9-3! There were no mentions of the Saab 9-3x Cross-Combi however, but I suppose that’s due to that product being a natural extension of the existing 9-3 cross-wheel drive equipped lineup we have today. The other areas that were discussed included advertising, which consisted of their first ad from McCann-Erickson featuring the Saab 9-3 Convertible “Recycle” Ad that has been out for a good month and a half now, as well as another ad that is a “work in progress” that Saab USA may be seeking comments on at this time which is to be their first ever, XWD ad in the United States. Unfortunately, due to technical issues, we were unable to see those ads that evening and had to wait until the following morning at 8:55am. The spirit of the presentation was upbeat, but realistic and certainly sent some messages to the participants that Saab USA is doing all they can including working even more efficiently with their european counterparts at GM Europe.

Prevous Day, Friday
Final Day, Sunday

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2008 Saab Owners Convention – Friday

Posted on 26. Aug, 2008 by .

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On Friday, August 22nd, I arrived at the 2008 Saab Owners Convention in Devens, Massachusetts in my 1992 Saab 900 Turbo Project completed the week before.

Upon arrival, I registered at the main lobby of the hotel and then proceeded towards the parts vendor field, nearly a half a mile away from the convention center in order to unload some Saab literature and materials along with Granite Embedded Systems of New Hampshire.1.jpg

Fortunately, the weather was quite good, a bit on the hot side but with the nearly three solid months of rain this summer, I think everyone accepted the high heat index compared to torrential downpours, especially with other nearby vendors with an abundance of water, something that was not present at the 2007 Saab Festival in Sweden.

There was a lot of activities I was looking forward to participating in with my fiancee, especially today beginning with the test drives and vintage drives, but unfortunately, neither took place this year for some reason. I was also hopeful that the Saab Performance Team would make a surprise visit to the nearby air strip according to the rumors, but that also did not hold true.

3.jpgIn lieu of these activities, I did get in the doors of the “parts tent” which opened promptly at 10am, where there where numerous Saab owners and enthusiasts alike acting in a shopping frenzy to seek out any part, accessory, t-shirt, tire, wheel or you name it before anyone else. I must say that there were a lot of people in the room of the hotel where this activity took place, but it was not as insane as doors opened to the SDCC parts sale again, at the 2007 Saab Festival in Sweden last year. I walked away with a $5 engine block heater now that I live in Northern New England, which almost broke my budget.

As lunchtime arrived, I managed to drive back to the “other” camp, again about a 1/2 mile away to the hotel to pickup lunch, then turn right around to bring my other colleagues their lunch as well as they sweltered on the tarmac where the parts vendors were positioned on that day.

2.jpgBy 2:00, I raced back up to the hotel to attend the John Moss seminar on Swedish Air Conditioning. I was initially prepared to sit down in an air-conditioned room, to learn about why all of my Saab’s air conditioning systems fail and never work, but all of us attending that seminar were hit by a nice dose of humor as John Moss introduced a unique Saab heating system from the 1968-1969 era! A great surprise, comical delivery, but an entertaining seminar nonetheless.

As I made my way out of the seminar room, I met up with some folks from the GM Next and surprisingly saw two of them filming the convention! I asked them where they got the budgets to film this year as everyone I asked, did not have the budgets as I mentioned a few weeks ago here on Saab History. They indicated that due to the 100 year anniversary taking place on September 16th, 2008, there was some remaining expenditures, so they might as well film some of this event. Thankfully they did, so it’s great to hear that they got the budget last minute! A thank you to whomever authorized this expenditure at the GM Social Media Team!

5.jpgThe heat finally started to take its toll, and as the day started to come to a close, we began closing up our setup in the “other” camp, and headed back to the hotel region to walk around and see the GM Heritage Collection, namely that 1978 Saab 99 Turbo as well as the Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concept car. I asked around as I was hoping to see both the former Saab-Scania of America President, Bob Sinclair as well as legendary Saab rally champion, Erik Carlsson, but I was informed that both were unable to attend this year.

4.jpgThe speaker for the evening was none other than Sten Wennlo, former Saab Automobile AB VP & Chief of Public Relations from 1968 until 1989, effectively the entirely Saab-Scania Saab Car Division Era. Sten Wennlo began his presentation about how he first got a job with Saab Cars in Sweden in Nyköping, and helped to sell the SAAB 96 due to getting younger drivers behind the wheel thanks to Erik Carlsson as well as how he managed to work with Per Gillbrand & the Scania truck division in Södertälje, Sweden. to create the first Saab Turbo in late 1977 as a 1978 99 model year. On a surprising note, Mr. Wennlo ended his presentation about what he believes will answer the demands of the public with a 1 liter Saab 9-X BioHybrid stating explicitly that just GM should not be hesitant in building a car like this and that if it is built, no one should be loosing their job as a result. I guess there’s more politics behind why GM is still on the fence about building a small car that the public needs.

The evening came to a close and many of us retired to the outdoor bar-b-que that the friendly folks at the New England Saab Association who have been running the grill in parallel to the dinner for those that chose to go for day-passes instead of registering for the entire convention.. A significant amount of donations to the club that were donated to the Kyle & Tim Crisman Foundation (Springtime in Sweden) as a result, and a nice wrap-up to the day.

2nd Day, Saturday

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A Film By Saab Sweden on Erik Carlsson’s Rally History

Posted on 29. Jul, 2008 by .

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film.jpg I have just received another film from the former New England Saab Association secretary, this time a bit longer than the previous film .
 
This film, complete with narration and produced by SAAB SWEDEN in 1964, features Erik Carlsson in the entire Monte-Carlo Rally, footage of the SAAB ANA testing and competition facility as well as brief clips of the Safari, Tulip, Polish and RAC Rallies.
 
Erik Carlsson as well as his co-pilot, Gunnar Palm, were both present at the 2007 60th Anniversary Saab Festival dinner that took place in Trollhättan, Sweden last summer.
 
If you are interested Saab’s world rewknowned rally legend Erik Carlsson or Saab Rallying in general, please sit back, relax and enjoy the nearly 45 minutes worth of vintage rally footage in none other than the legendary SAAB 96.
 

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Saab History Receives Three 1971 Saab 99 TV Ads

Posted on 28. Jul, 2008 by .

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Saab History Receives Three 1971 SAAB Motors, Inc. Saab 99 Television advertisements

I have just received a number of vintage Saab films over the weekend from the former New England Saab Association secretary including three extremely rare 1971 SAAB 99 television advertisements titled “Now You Need Us”. These last films of the contract were done by the advertising agency, J.M. Mathes & Co. who worked with SAAB Motors, Inc. from November 1967 – 1971 as part of the “SAAB, The Well-Build Swede” campaign.

I am extremely happy to finally have some Saab USA television ads that will compliment the 1970’s section of the Saab Film Archive.

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New England Saab Association Met This Past Weekend

Posted on 28. Jul, 2008 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab History

I have attended my first New England Saab Association meeting this past weekend in Portsmouth, New Hampshire which was my first since November of 2001. I should tell you that this heavily attended meeting was by far quite remarkable for a number of reasons.

I should start by stating that the representation at the meeting included former NESA members from the early days in addition to a number of new members.

Secondly, it appears that the NESA presence at the 2008 Saab Owners Convention will be a critical opportunity for the club to really make their presence felt for new and existing members in their local region.

Lastly, I am really seeing a lot of new energy and drive with this club and I’m very proud of everyone who’s been continuing the legacy, this time in a new and more directed and efficient way.

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Saab History On The 2008 Saab Owners Convention

Posted on 23. Jul, 2008 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab History

The 2008 Saab Owners Convention is just 29 days away, and takes place at Devens Commons, now a partially-retired United States Army base approximately 1 hour West of Boston, Massachusetts on August 21st through the 24th.

I find this year’s event an appropriate location taking place on such a milestone year for the Saab Automobile brand, Saab USA, the Saab Owners Conventions as well as for me and my family:

The following are some notables reflecting these milestones:

* The first SAABs imported into the United States in 1956, took place at an old Navy port in Hingham, Massachusetts.

* Massachusetts, within New England, is the largest market for Saab Automobile USA to this day.

* This year marks the 30th anniversary since the debut of the 1978 Saab 99 Turbo for Saab Automobile, which is why you will see this Saab Owners Convention maintaining this theme throughout the weekend.

* I started the New England Saab Association in Massachusetts almost 10 years ago, and this year they are helping to plan the 2008 Saab Owners Convention.

* The highest performing Saab 9-3 Turbo-X had its North American debut in Boston, Massachusetts in November which also included a sequel this past May in Boston, Massachusetts again for a Turbo-X test drive.

* As for me, I grew up in Massachusetts, and quite interestingly enough, my family all owned our first Saabs here since the early 1970’s including the Ninety Nine EMS, a Ninety Six as well as a number of Nine Hundreds and Nine Thousands. This will be my first Saab Owners Convention in Massachusetts, so this is an important pilgrimage to make.

* This is the 10th year since meeting my fiancee in 1998 in none other than a 1987 Saab 900 S 3-door in cirrus white. This year I am pleased to say that we’ll both be attending this convention in none other than an upgraded throwback to our first date, a 1992 Saab 900 Turbo 3-door 5-speed, again in “cirrus white”.

* This year is not only the 18th year of ownership of General Motors of the Saab Automobile brand, but it’s also 18 years since the last time there was a Saab Owners Convention in Massachusetts (1990 – Sturbridge, MA).

As you can see, there is a lot to reflect on at a global, national and local level at this year’s 2008 Saab Owners Convention, so “find your own road” to Devens, Massachusetts this August!

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Vintage Saab Club of North America Meet July 12th, NY

Posted on 28. Jun, 2008 by .

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The Vintage Saab Club of North America will be having a meeting on July 12th in New York. They are encouraging not only other members from other clubs, but enthusiasts and owners to attend as well! It sounds like a great time, read below!

VSCNA Meeting Notice

vscna.jpgThe next meeting of the Vintage Saab Club of North America will be held on July 12th 2008 at the home of Bruce and Lori Turk in Walden, NY, rain or shine. This will be a social gathering of like-minded individuals where we will discuss pressing issues such as, but not limited to, when the hamburgers are ready to come off the grill.

New for this years picnic is an indoor banquet facility (A.K.A. “The new barn”) that can easily accommodate all of us in the case of inclement weather. The picnic will start at 11:00am with lunch around 12:30pm. Early arrivals are always welcome if you don’t mind helping to set up!

The Turk’s will provide unlimited parking “on the green” for all make and model cars, a gas BBQ for your cooking pleasure, paper plates, utensils, cups, condiments, soda, macaroni salad, tossed salad and fruit salad. You will bring your own food, beverages and folding chairs.

The V.S.C.N.A. will hold its annual election of officers at the picnic. Only members in good standing will be allowed to vote.

Please sign up in advance so we know how many people are coming. Use his link to sign up: http://www.nysoc. com/cgi-bin/signup/index.cgi

We are also inviting the members of the New York Saab Owners Club (NYSOC) http://www.nysoc.com/ and Adirondack Motor Enthusiasts Club (AMEC) http://www.icerace.com/ and New England Saab Association (NESA) http://nesaab.org/site/ to join us. Inviting additional clubs insures a large turnout and that’s what we want, the more the
merrier. As always, you do not need to be a member of the VSCNA to participate in one of our events. Everyone is invited, all makes and
model cars are welcome. We do ask that non-VSCNA members make a $5.00 per person donation to our club; a donation jar will be on site.

Directions to the Turk house:

From Route 87 (New York State Thruway) Take exit 17 (Newburgh) Follow sign after toll to route 17K. Make
right at traffic light on to 17K West. Go 3.2 miles on 17K West to traffic light. Make a right at light on to Rock Cut Road (Cumberland Farms gas station on corner). See “Directions from Rock Cut road”.

From Route 84 Take exit 6 (Montgomery- Newburgh) Get on 17K West. Take 17K West 1/2 mile to traffic light. Make a right at light on to Rock Cut road (Cumberland Farms gas station on corner). See “Directions from Rock Cut Road”.

Directions from Rock Cut road. Take Rock Cut Road for one mile to traffic light. Make a left at light toward Walden. Go 1 mile and make a right on Saint Andrews Road. Go .9 miles on Saint Andrews Road; The Turk home is on the left. There is a telephone pole on the left at the end of their driveway. The number 333 is nailed to the telephone pole, which is hidden behind a big tree so go SLOW.

Bruce Turk
333 Saint Andrews Rd.
Walden, NY 12586
(845) 778-2469

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Saab History Enjoys A “State Of Independence”

Posted on 07. Jun, 2008 by .

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“Welcome to Saab History, the State Of Independence”

In a similiar approach to the Saab USA advertising slogan circa 2003 until the summer of 2005, “Welcome To The State of Independence“, I feel it is important to indicate that Saab History is an independent, enthusiast owned and managed blog with a sole purpose, to communicate everything Saab in an organized and educational manner through writing, photography and video.

As a Saab owner and enthusiast who has grown up and lived in the New England region of the United States as well as Sweden, I have owned nothing but Saabs and have been bitten by the Saab bug many times over the years.

Since the first year of Saab ownership, I have sincerely felt, especially by living in New England, that this ownership was much more than just the material possession of a machine, but more of a lifestyle itself. Over the years, I can recall meeting other Saab owners and enthusiasts, especially from the more Northern regions of New England, such as Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine that really seemed to have that independent spirit and mindset who were totally against the conventional. From the trips to the beaches, to the weekends at the ski areas and all of the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and LL’Bean visits one can encounter, I can recall a distinct ideal that has forever resinated in my mind. This ideal seemed to be omnipresent whenever surrounded by these Saab owners as being some of the most unique, intelligent and independently minded people in my life. This is one of the key reasons behind my founding of the New England Saab Association back in 1997, the 50th Anniversary year for Saab Automobile which held their Saab Owners Convention in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.

Was there one word to describe the feeling of being surrounded by the quintessential Saab owner in New England, no, but the word “independent” still seems to resinate in the back of my mind being a word I would describe both the driver and the car itself. Perhaps independence is part of that old Yankee independent mindset, and perhaps that is what I see this website as, although, independent in terms of direct corporate influence by Saab Automobile.

In February of 2007, I was first invited by Saab Automobile USA as a member of the media to attend the 60th Anniversary event in San Diego, California. Since that time, I now participated in the Saab 9-3 Drive Event in Washington, D.C., the Saab 9-3 Turbo-X North American Launch at the Boston Auto Show, the Saab 9-4x BioPower Concept North American Debut in Detroit, Michigan, the Saab 9-X BioHybrid Reflective in NYC and now, the most recently, the Saab 9-3 Turbo-X test drive back in Boston, Massachusetts. I think it’s important that I cover these activities as a Saab owner and a passionate enthusiast, so that we can see what Saab Automobile are doing these days. It is my intention to maintain this independence so that I continue my ability to write from an objective perspective.

The objective of Saab History and my efforts are simple: To ensure that Saab Automobile builds the most appropriate products at the right time, with the right technology, communicating these products with the right type of advertising while being consistent with everything, in order to succeed.

I believe that being an independent blogger who is not only just a lifelong Saab owner and enthusiast, but one who has grown up completely surrounded by nearly 45% of Saab’s present customer base in the United States, I can be an influential asset to the success of not only Saab Automobile in the United States, but Saab Automobile in a global sense as well.

It is an honor and priviledge to be able to communicate my passion and level of enthusiasm to a large and growing audience and I hope that this trend will continue in this independent fashion for the forseeable future. While I may continue to be taking on sponsors, I hope to never loose sight of the objective for Saab, a product that I firmly believe in.

Happy Saabing!

– Ryan

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