About the Author

My name’s Swade.  Well, actually it’s Steven Wade, but there’s a lot of people out there that call me Swade, most notably my wife.

I had my first Saab experience at around age 21.  Until then I spent most of my time laughing at cars like Saabs, Citroens etc.  The only Euro car I ever liked (apart from the supercars) were Alfas. 

Around age 21, a friend of mine got a 1986 9000 Turbo.  It would have been about 5 years old at the time.  Being my usual Holden-bred self, I stirred him about having such a piece of Eurotrash.  Until he took me for a ride in it.

First there was the leather.  Then there was the climate control.  Then there was the stereo he’d installed.

Then he hit the go pedal with a heavy right foot!

My lasting memory of that car is travelling into Phillip Island.  His folks had a holiday house there and a bunch of us were going to stay for a weekend.  There we were, Nathan and I in the 9000 with a BMW sitting on our tail…..at 200km/h!!!

Needless to say I was sold.

I didn’t get my first Saab until many years later.  It was a 1972 99E, with a little Triumph motor and a 2-speed automatic.  We bought it from a wrecker for $1,000.  After getting it home we pulled the interior to pieces and cleaned the whole thing back up again.  A cut and polish later I had a beautiful, absolutely gleaming fire engine red Saab 99.  It was as slow as a wet week, but I was a happy camper.

Unfortunately my wife wrote the car off in a minor accident.  It didn’t take much to write off a car valued at so little and we just didn’t have the money at the time to fix it.  I should mention at this point that the wife that wrote this car off is not my wife anymore.  This isn’t why, but anyway.

My next Saab was my current 99 Turbo.  I bought it for $400 from a painter.  If I hadn’t purchased it then it was off to the wreckers in the next week.  I bought it knowing that it needed a new gearbox, but not knowing that it would take 3 gearboxes and 2 installations to get the right one.  As well as all this, we ended up having to get a new turbo too.  These were frustrating times, but in the end I had my first Saab turbo, and I couldn’t have been happier.

Why I sold it for a 1986 900 Turbo, I’m not quite sure.  The 900 became available and I’d always wanted one, so I took the bait.  Unfortunately, being single again at the time and sharing someone else’s house, I didn’t really have the room nor the funds to sustain 2 cars.  The 99 ended up selling to a kid in Launceston, who proceeded to thrash the crap out of it over the next 2 years and ended up having to replace the turbo, the gearbox, the head gasket, the exhaust, the windscreen and most likely several other bits and pieces that I don’t know about.

After a few years of replacing all these parts that he kept wearing out, he got sick of spending the money, so I bought it back from him.  The 900 was OK, but the 99 was the car I’d really become attached to so I jumped at the chance to buy it back again.  In the meantime I’d remarried to the wonderful PJ and she took ownership of the 900 when I got my 99 back.

Since then the 900’s gone and been replaced by our current 9000.  PJ really liked the 900 though, so I can see a time in the future when we’ll hunt down a really nice 900 Aero for her.  Probably when her kids are off our hands and the 3-door thing doesn’t present a problem like it would now.

I’ve also owned another 99 Turbo, albeit briefly.  I purchased it from a member of the Car Club here in Tasmania but again, space and finance dictated a sale was in order.  This car was in show condition and it was a shame to have to move it, but move it we did.

Along the way, I managed to play a hand in getting the Saab Car Club of Australia established here in Tasmania.  I first joined the Saab Car Club of Victoria somewhere  around 1999.  Soon after, the club went national and I got together with the few other Tasmanian members.  With the support of our local Saab dealer (the very supportive and generous Tony Breckenridge at Motors Saab), we put an ad in the newspaper and attracted a few more members.  In just a couple of years, the Tasmanian branch of the club has grown exponentially.  I spent the first year at the reins, but have since handed over the hard work to another, Drew, whose car(s) will no doubt get some airtime on these pages.

This site is envisioned as being a decent repository for all my Saab musings, all the news I can find, stories from club events and some techo stuff if I ever get it together, although I’m more likely to refer any queries people might have about tech stuff to the SCCA Forum.  I’ll also put a history section together as I get the time.  Basically it’s intended to be all the things I’d like to see in a Saab site.  Current, entertaining, historical and all of this in a well presented manner.

You may also like

27 Comments

  1. “My name’s Swade. Well, actually it’s Steven Wade, but there’s a lot of people out there that call me Swade, most notably my wife.”

    I always thought that ‘Swade’ was a word play on how Australians pronounce the word ‘Swede’!! Now I know better…

    Great blog. Nothing like the internet to bring you the news of the Saab world from the antipodes…

    Mike
    Nashville, Tennessee USA

  2. I like your blog… very informative. It’s very interesting to learn about Saab’s future cars.

    Keep up the good work

    Dan
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA

  3. Hi Dan,

    Thanks for dropping by and I’m glad you’ve been enjoying things here. A lot of changes coming up and a whole new site, so posting here has been a little light (luckily, news has been a bit thin on the ground).

    Hope all’s well in PA, home of my NBA favourite Chris Webber (I was very saddened by that trade!)

    Cheers,

    Swade

  4. I’m currently putting out a weekly newsclip service to our Qld Branch members. Covers much of what appears on your site, but less dialogue.

    Would you like to receive it?

    Murray Vincent

    Vice Chair

    Qld Branch

  5. Swade,

    fan of your work in general. Noticed this bit of trivia and thought you might be the man to take it up….

    I have been reading some old 900/9000 manuals from 1989/90 and the illustrations are signed “Lutz”. Surely this can’t be what I think it is? Can it? Bob the struggling artist?

    cheers

  6. PT,

    Can you scan it? If so, please email to me on swade99-at-dodo.com.au

    Sensational. For some reason I seem to recall seeing something like that too, but I cannot remember where at all.

    Cheers.

  7. Hello Swade:

    Any chance of a plug for the Saab Nationals at Easter 2006 (14-17 April). We have to lodge deposits by 19 August and so far have 12 (at last count). After that date we may not be able to hold the discount.

    And what about you coming up to Qld. We may be able to arrange a loan car for you.

    Anyway, here’s the open invite to Saabites.

    Regards

    Murray

    Dear SAAB club members and SAAB aficionados

    On behalf of the SAAB Car Club of Australia, the Queensland branch invites you to the SCCA 2006 Easter Nationals (Sunfest 06) April 14 – 17 to be held at the Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

    The Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove is a 5 star resort located 45 minutes drive from Brisbane and 25 minutes from Surfers Paradise. http://www.sanctuarycove.hyatt.com

    Sunfest 06 is based at the Hyatt over the three days with activities in and around the resort, including:

    · Concours / Show’n’Shine* – to display your pride and joy

    · Motorkhana – try your hand at an easy to learn and safe sport

    · Navigation Drive – enjoy some great country roads and scenery

    · Welcome Poolside BBQ – delicious buffet with drinks

    · Presentation Dinner – formal 3 course dinner in the “Grange Room”

    *On site car washing facilities

    When not involved in Sunfest 06 events the resort has many activities to while away the day such as:

    · Coomera’s Poolside Bar – overlooking a magnificent saltwater lagoon surrounded by a tropical sandy beach

    · Close proximity to restaurants, bars and boutiques at the Sanctuary Cove Marina Village

    · Championship golf courses

    · The Fireplace Restaurant – enjoy traditional cooking styles using a custom-made wood-fired oven

    · The Cove Café in The Great House – informal, relaxed atmosphere for dining, high tea or just coffee

    · A shuttle ride to Harbour Town (factory outlet shopping), Pacific Fair shopping centre, Surfers Paradise and the Jupiters Conrad Casino.

    If you are bringing the kids the major theme parks of Warner Bros. Movie World, Dreamworld, and Sea World are only minutes away. Camp Hyatt is also available for fully supervised day activities for children aged between 4 to 12 years of age. Babysitters can be organised for children outside the above age groups and or time periods.

    This year SAAB Australia subsidised the participant cost of the Tasmanian Ramble and we are hoping to negotiate a similar subsidy for Sunfest 06. We will keep you informed regarding the subsidy as it comes to hand.

    Included with this letter are: The Sunfest 06 registration form and Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove Resort registration form. Even though these are very similar in content, please complete both and send with your deposit cheque to SCCA QLD, c/o K Figge, PO Box 494 , Woodridge QLD 4114

    Please note registrations close on August 19th and bookings after this date cannot be guaranteed. A ‘teaser’ PowerPoint presentation is available at http://www.saabclub.org.au – follow the links to the forum page for your state. A CD copy will also be sent to State and Territory club chairpersons.

    Even if you don’t have time to drive your SAAB, why not consider flying and renting a car to join us at the event. Queensland Club members look forward to welcoming you to the Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove on April 14 for Sunfest 06.

    Sincerely

    Bernie Figge

    QLD Branch Chairman

    saabsaway@hotmail.com

  8. Hello Swade,

    I am a German.

    In an overview I read your comments,informations, descriptions and news about Saab for the first time. We started our living with Saab in 1973-1988, had a short interruption for 4 years and went on in 1992-2000. In 2004 we purchased a 9-3 II.

    The models were: 99L, 99GLE, 9000CD, 9000CSE, 9-5 and now the 9-3II. Mostly they were used cars.

    Of course we often had troubles and lost a lot of money for maintaining. But our interest for Saab was never stopped. I have read some books dealing with Saab to get more details on its history.

    But I never have seen such a critical enthusiasm for this brand like yours. Therefore my compliments.

    Sincerely

    saabaudi

  9. Saabaudi,

    Thanks for your kind words. It’s a labour sometimes, but a labour of love. As I mentioned in a post the other day, there’s only one other make of car I must own once in my lifetime and that’s a Porsche. Maybe I’ll get another Alfa for fun some time too, but other than those small dalliances, it’s Saab all the way.

    I never would have thought Saab to be popular in Germany, but I get quite a few referrals from German car sites and forums, which I’m pleased about.

    I’m actually part German myself, descending from the Stemmer family on my paternal Grandmother’s side. Her parents emigrated to Australia from Hanover in the late 1800’s. All English and Irish on my mother’s side. I hope to get to eEurope one day to explore a few of my roots (and to visit Trollhattan of course!).

    Cheers.

  10. Well I have known about Stephen’s site for some time but until today my memory about it’s whereabouts hadn’t been refreshed in many months! Thanks to Ryan Emge (aka ‘saabguy’ in alt.autos.saab) for reminding me!

    In order to redress the balance somewhat I have added a brand new link to this website on the reference links page of my site at this

    http://www.saab900classic.net/links.html#kewlstuff

    which already has links to my personal site, Ben Well’s Snaab.net, and some overseas personal Saab enthusiast sites too!

    It would good to meet a lot more SCCA members from other states so hopefully one day I can meet up wtih Stephen, Ben, etc. and natter about matters to do with trolls. 😎

    Regards,

    Craig.

  11. “Jay, I know that you’re the head guy for Saab in the USA. I live in Australia and I have no idea who your equivalent in Australia is (whoever you are, drop me a line and I’ll publish whatever you have to say). I’d imagine that nearly every other non-US Saab enthusiast that reads this blog would be in the same boat.”

    Hey Swade. Nice site. As a longtime Saab insider, I just want to say that it’s the fans that separates this brand from the others. Which is why I agree with you that GM needs to do a better job of staying in touch with this group. I suggest you write to the following two people who should still have authority over Asia. At least they did last time I talked to them a year ago:

    stephen.nicholls@gm.com (Asia Pacific)

    thomas.d.sundstrom@se.saab.com

    Good luck!

    A. Friend

  12. Hello Swade

    I was searching the Internet for new Saab 9-5 2006 models, and found your site by Google.

    Your site is a good one and informative.

    I’ll like to share my car experiance.

    My first car was a British sport: MGB 1800 (1965).
    It was nice convertible. But difficult to tune with it’s twin SU-carburators.

    Next one was a dream of the time: Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV (1970). Good looking sport car and so wonderfull to drive. Exellent engine of the era.

    Then I got married, had family and back to basics: Renault R4 (1975). Practical, low cost mover.

    Then my company provided a leasing car, as I was a travelling sales man. Saab 900. It was so wonderfull to drive. I live in Finland and we have hard winter wnow roads. Saab 900 was a smooth to drive in these hard road conditions. Other cars had problems, no problems with Saab 900 !!

    I had 5 different Saab 900’s and then I go the Saab 9000i. That was a new class. So elegant and well balanced. I still miss it.

    As I changed the company and they offered the Opel Vectra as the car (Opel from Germany, owned by GM). OK as looks, but small, and body was soft. You can hear the chassis noice in bumps.

    Then I got the Opel Vectra (new generation) and it was much stiffer but still smallish.

    Change of the company (now to Nokia) and I got the car I wanted: Saab 9-5 Wagon. Not Aero, but 2.3t (small turbo). It has been wonderfull. I just love it. (I’m engineer by profession, so you understand what I mean.)

    Today I have a problem. My 9-5 is more than 5 years old and I’m looking replacement. Have not foud any better. Just today I did see the first Saab 9-3 SportWagon. Looks OK, but not driven it yet. (But I know, it is based on the Opel Vectra 2nd generation.)

    Also the Saab dealer said, there is now new updated Saab 9-5 and showed the first pictures. I looked later the web (by Google) and found your site with even more pictures (now even interiors). I’m confused, what should I do now.

    So, better cool down and wait and see 🙂

    Br. Lauri from Finland

  13. Hi Lauri,

    I think your story is similar to many Saab drivers. They discover the car by indirect means and fall in love with it.

    About your choices, I don’t think you could go wrong with either one. Everybody is raving about the new 9-3 SportCombi. It certainly looks to be the model that will retain the greatest portion of Saab DNA over the next 2-3 years.

    If you’re not in a rush to replace it, I’d wait a little and have a look at the new 9-5 as well. It’s a different look for the 9-5, but I like the more aggressive front end and the tail-lights suit the wagon in my opinion. The big ‘if’ factor will be in the interior. It’s one thing to see some pictures but another thing altogether to get into the car and see how it suits you.

    Please let me know what you decide and whoever your local Saab dealer is, say hi to him for me!

  14. Not sure where to dump this comment so here it is. It’d be “fun” to see a new Saab in the Trollhattan banner. Maybe one of the official pics of the new 9-5 ? 9-3 SC ? My $0.25

    – Done. How’s that for service!!

  15. Hi Swade!

    Thank you for this informative and nice homepage! Could you please put a link to our homepage of the Saabclub of Switzerland (www.saabclub.ch) post near the other Saab Car Club-links?

    Thanks a lot!

    greetings from Switzerland
    andreas

  16. Hi Swade,

    Well done, what a great Saab site, I pop in most days to have look see….

    I have just sold my 2000 Viggen and 1996 900SE vert and purchased the new 93 Aero vert…what a car.

    Keep up the good work

    Regards

    Gregg from sunny South Africa

  17. Swade

    Love the site;read it daily. Here is my latest Saab (Sonnet)article at The Independent. Check out my old Saab 900 classic article on-line at -The Independent motoring on-line.
    Best wishes
    Lance Cole (Author: Saab 99&900 The Complete Story).

    The Independent Newspaper(London)

    Classic Cars: Saab Sonett
    Lance Cole recalls the Saab Sonett, a poem of a sporty coupé that never quite made it to epic status
    Published: 08 November 2005

    If you think the Saab Sonett is a late 1960s-to-1970s fibreglass-bodied coupé that embodies a forgotten, sportier side of Saab, think again. The Sonett actually started life in 1954 as one of the most revolutionary and advanced examples of post-war car design. It was a uniquely constructed open-topped two-seater that looked like a cross between an MG and an Alfa Romeo. Yet it was years before this stillborn wild child of a Scandinavian design group actually became the Saab Sonett.

    In Swedish “Sa natt” means “How nice”, which is what the legendary Swedish car-designer Sixten Sason is supposed to have said when his first body for the car was finished and mounted on its chassis with a smoky two-stroke engine.

    Unlike its 1950s contemporaries, the original Sonett did not have a tubular steel fabricated body nor a floppy monocoque with more shake than a jelly. Instead, the Sonett boasted a unique body made from a blend of aluminium sheets and plastic moulded panels weighing only 70kg, that were bonded together to form a stiff, aviation-style, stressed hull. It would be years later that Colin Chapman created the original Lotus Elite’s fibreglass unitary monocoque body, and decades before a car-maker made an aluminium car.

    The original Sonett 1 was dreamed up by Rolf Mellde – Saab’s suspension and engineering genius. Along with Sason, the Saab team included Lars Olov Olsson and Olle Lindkvist and Gosta Svensson. With them, Mellde created an alternative Saab to the firm’s teardrop-shaped 92-93 range of steel-bodied family saloons. They cooked the car up in a barn at Asaka, half an hour’s drive from Trollhattan, mostly in their own time. Saab management let the geniuses get on with it, without actually being officially involved. On seeing the Sonett, Saab whisked it off to become an official motor-show prototype of their new sports car: the ultra-light Sonett could do 130mph from 57bhp.

    Despite various plans and projections, and despite a great reception from press and public – including in America – Saab’s exquisite little car never made it to production life: At one stage Jensen were to build the bodies in the UK, but Saab faltered. Only 6 were made before the idea died.

    But, in 1966 the idea of a sporty Saab coupé came to the fore again. By this time Sason had designed another pretty, fibreglass, Italianate coupé – the Catherina – that showed the world a lift-out, stowable, targa-style roof for the first time. Saab decided to push a coupé into production, yet the Catherina design was not chosen: instead the work of Bjorn Karlstrom with another Swedish aircraft company named Malmo Flygindustri was taken up by Saab’s management. Karlstom’s car was called the MFI 13. Given that it had a plywood rear floor, the “MFI” tag seems apposite, but it became the Sonett II.

    Premiered at the 1966 Geneva motor show, the two-stroke-engined car had a steel chassis with conventional tubular reinforcements. Draped over the top was a delicate looking fibreglass shell with an early use of a large, wraparound, glazed rear window. From 1966 through to 1970 the pert little Sonett II evolved with typical Saab product-development. In 1968 it gained the V4 engine from the Saab 96.But, by 1970 the car was looking odd, with scoops, engine bulges and stylistic fiddlings: only 4,000 were sold.

    So Saab commissioned a revised Sonett. This Sonett III was a long-nosed coupé with overtones of Italian exotica – as penned by the Milanese designer Sergio Coggiola. Saab did however get its own in-house artist Gunnar Sjogren to style much of the new Sonett’s plastic body-details.

    The spec included moulded seat-pans, and trim items from the Saab 96 and 99 ranges – including the alloy wheels from the 99EMS. The Triumph-style flip-top bonnet of the Sonett II had gone, and, despite the addition of the new Saab corporate grille and US-style bumpers, the Sonett had an elegant style and sold well – notably in the eastern seaboard states of the USA. The Sonett III survived until 1974, with the final cars mostly being sold in racing colours; many remain in use and for sale at cheap prices in California today. In the USA Sonetts scooped up many sports-car racing wins in the 1980s, with Jack Lawrence and his tuned V4 injection Sonett proving that the it might not have rallied, but it could race. A one-off soft-top was also created.

    The Sonetts also had a strong following in Britain and Europe. Many enthusiasts dream of another Sonett – a sports coupé that would revitalise the company, yet most know that it would, in light of recent dictates from Saab’s owner, end up being a General Motors marketing lash-up.

    Ends
    Copyright (c) The Independent 2005

  18. Hey Swade,

    Have you wondered why the new Suzuki Vitara 4WD has a Saab-style clamshell bonnet and new generation 9-5 style front end?

    It’s simple, now that Subaru has gone, the Suzuki is the next new Saab 4WD – with some of those “lovely” styling tweaks we know GM for. And of course its an eco-friendly small 4WD not a people-masher.

    I really think we should bid for the remains of Saab and run it ourselves, then we could wow the world with a Saab badged and tweaked Daewoo/Chevrolet Lacetti (also sold as a Suzuki in the USA) as the new small Saab…

    Now that really would make us popular…..

    Lance Cole Saab Fanatic (1984 900 GLI)

  19. I like your site, especially the enthusiasm. I have owned 2 Saabs so far a 2001 9-5 Aero and currently a 2004 9-3 Aero, I really liked both cars for their exceptional acceleration and the 9-3 for it’s great handling as well. I hope GM keeps making the SAAB better and gets the word out about the car…they will sell more of them if they did. I think one of their main problems, at least here in Charleston, South Carolina is that fact that the dealer has very little inventory of the car at any given time, how can they sell a car if they have so little stock? perhaps they can’t produce enough of the car to keep up with the dealer network to make the brand profitable? My 9-3 Aero came to the dealer right from the SAAB Holding area at the port in Savannah, Georgia.

    Any way, great site! keep up the excellent work.

  20. Hey Swade.

    I chuckled at the part about “Holden bred self” and “Eurotrash” since as you undoubtebly know, the Holden is an Opel nowadays. GM, just like SAAB.

    The world is a strange place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *