Gathered under stormy skies

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This weekend saw an impressive gathering of Saabs, new, old and rare for the 2017 Saab Owners Club SaabFest UK. The gathering took place in Hatton Country World, Warwickshire, which proved to be a pretty special location – plenty of space to really showcase our cars.

Sadly, being my disorganised self, I only found out about the event two days before so could only go for one day, I would have loved to get stuck in, chatted Saabs and drunk a few beers for the night, next year maybe.

Needless to say, it was an absolute delight to see so many cars, I’d say close to 500, including a handful of beautifully turned out Sonnetts a unique Saab Friction Test car, some super rare Carlssons and enough others to represent the entire Saab line up from beginning to end, even a spectacularly beautiful 9-3 Independence convertible turned up.

Even though I’ve owned some 15 Saabs and counting, I still feel inspired when I see how much love and attention goes in to keeping these cars on the road. In recent years many Saabs have been scrapped for various reasons, but there continues to be a loyal cult following with an unfading appetite to care for, customise and manufacture bespoke kit to keep the rest going for many, many more years to come – including myself.

Part of the pleasure of these events for me, is being able to take a few photos of other owner’s Saabs – collected to share, inspire and reference against on future projects, I usually over indulge, so will need to spread the love over a few posts.

Thanks to Saab Owners Club for organising such a great gathering, I’d suggest Hatton might be an ideal location for future events, with room for plenty more cars to join us.

p.s. If your Saab’s featured, I really hope you don’t mind, and congratulations, they’re all amazing cars, we should be massively proud of them.

 

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More photos to follow soon.

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Things take time

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It’s been a while since my last post, sadly, motivation has seemed to be rather low, but in the meantime, the 900 has been well and truly put through it’s paces. We’ve done almost 3,000 miles in it since it’s recovery, everything from driving lessons to road trips to Wales, it’s sat in heavy traffic, darted along winding country roads and cruised happily along motorways.

For the life of me I can’t understand why more people don’t embrace older cars as daily drivers, the 900 is ridiculously comfortable, it has electric windows and a quiet sunroof, it’s well mannered around town and has a gorgeously distinct burble when you put your foot down, it also commands quite a bit of attention. Young and old just can’t help giving it the thumbs up, from a bunch of hipster skateboarders to a very smart gentleman who couldn’t resist telling me how much he loved Saabs – he’d owned a few in the past and longed to own another.

The work continues though, the sunroof leaks when it rains heavily, the windscreen washer pipes have become brittle and keep falling off, and the new Turbo cluster still isn’t quite right, what I mean by that, is that smoke starts pouring out if I turn off the lights, and there’s no illumination at night.

We’ve also discovered the passenger side arch still has some rust that needs sorting, but lets face it, it doesn’t stop you driving and things just take time.

I’ve managed to source a set of roof bar towers and will be attempting to find some nice spotlights to keep the ‘Swedish Wilderness’ look on track.

The search also continues for something aptly unique to replace the 9-3 Aero convertible, although I’ve been wishing I hadn’t sold the 9-5 Hirsch, that was pretty rare.

Last of the Summer Drives

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I count each and every day with even a glimpse of blue sky a blessing, as Autumn approaches and the nights draw in, there will be less and less opportunity to get the roof down and go for a drive in the 9-3 convertible. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to shy away from four season topless driving, but let’s face it, you can’t beat a Saab convertible when the sun’s out and warming your soul.

Sunday welcomed us with vast blue skies and soft wispy clouds, so with the roof down we headed out for a drive through the surrounding countryside, it was warm enough to have the side windows down too and gave me the opportunity to appreciate the clean, timeless lines of the 9-3. It might be 15 years old now, but in my eyes, there really hasn’t been many new convertibles that surpass the Saab for it’s beauty, the Aero body kit by Ian Callum and lowered stance help of course, but even in their standard form, these cars have stood the test of time gracefully and are still ridiculously great value if you can find a good one.

Passing endless cornfields towering above our heads, it perfectly expressed what driving a convertible is all about – enjoying every little moment life has to offer.

Park Life

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Being a fully paid up petrolhead, any chance to get out and meet up with likeminded folk is always a pleasure. Luckily for me, there’s a local car and classic meet held nearby in a village called Earls Barton. It’s grown over the years and attracts a seriously varied collection of cars, including an unbadged 2016 Aston Martin work’s car, a stunningly beautiful 1960’s Nissan Skyline GT-R and a whole array of iconic Porsches, Ferraris and other exotics

Obviously what caught my eye, were a number of Saabs happily sitting alongside the great and good and holding their own very nicely. What’s so refreshing about car meets like this is that they appeal to all, from the old folks sitting in their picnic chairs next to an immaculate 99 to the slammed and anything but standard 9-3 with the biggest gold alloys I’ve ever seen squeezed on to a Saab.

A host of others from a beautiful classic 900 turbo, 9000 Aero and 9-3 convertible proved that our Saabs really do look great anywhere.

In the eyes of the beholder

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Sometimes I catch a glimpse of the Saab and think ‘wow’ – it’s usually when I’m not expecting it either. I stand for a while and admire the shape, I can’t help thinking just how amazing these still look, it feels absolutely timeless. It really is a privilege to be able to own and maintain such an iconic Saab.

Right, time to go for a quick drive I think.

Parisian Style

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We had the pleasure of staying in St Germain and exploring the 6/7th Arrondissements last week – I now know why Paris in the Springtime is such an inspirational experience. The light is absolutely beautiful, café culture intoxicating and the timeless elegance of the architecture literally surrounds you.

Enough about that though, this is a blog dedicated to Saabs, and I’m happy to say, Paris is full of them. Just like the city itself, none where perfect, they had an air of bohemian style, loved and used, an extension of their owners – statements of style.

Saabs need no justification, no comparison, they look at home just about anywhere. I was reminded of how much they become part of our lifestyles, now all I need is a cosy Parisian pied-à-terre to go with our Saabs.

The 11ft Christmas Tree & the Saab Convertible

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This year’s annual festive dash to collect the Christmas Tree was a little late this year; just 5 days before Christmas.

As usual, my son and I drove to a nearby country estate to choose the perfect tree, all the regular sized trees had gone, leaving only 10ft+ trees. After a great conversation with the farmer and some festive bartering, we ended up with a rather lovely 11ft Christmas tree.

It’s part of the tradition to get one a little too tall but we persevered, dropped the hood on the Aero convertible, lowered the passenger seat, and in it went, ok, so it may have been hanging over the boot slightly, but this is England, it’s ok to be eccentric.

Heater and seats on full, we triumphantly returned home, the smell of the pine needles and crisp blue sky adding to the joy of a topless Winter’s drive – perfect.

Happy Christmas everyone.