Old 96 goes racing!!

Here’s one to get ted’s heart pumping!!

Good for the soul, this sort of news. GM’s press release follows:

DETROIT – A classic 1960 Saab 96 rally car has left its homeland, Sweden, headed for Southern Mexico to compete in the grueling 19th La Carrera Panamericana (The Mexican Road Race), which runs from Veracruz to Monterrey, Mexico, November 10-16. Inspired by the heroic victories of factory Saab rally driver Erik Carlsson. Driver Nicolina Hϋbert of Gothenburg and co-driver/navigator Anna Sörensson of Stockholm form the team nicknamed “The Pearl.”

Nearly 100 vintage cars attend the annual race, which begins in southern Mexico and races north nearly 2,000 miles to the Mexico – Texas border. The modern race is a revival of the original La Carrera Panamericana that was conducted from 1950 – 1954. The race was outlawed after a number of accidents. To find out more of the modern-day incarnation visit www.panamrace.com.

With start number 296, The Pearl team is revved-up to conquer Mexico – well, that is to say, conquer the roads, charm the country. Earlier this year, the team participated in the classic Swedish Midnight Sun Rally. Participating in this classic rally inspired the team to travel from Europe to North America and participate in the Mexican road race.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a Saab will participate in La Carrera Panamericana,” Hϋbert explained. “Competing in and completing Sweden’s Midnight Sun Rally really motivated us to make the journey to Mexico and be part of a living legend.”

Hϋbert and Sörensson are joined by Niklas Enander and Johan Josefsson, both of Gothenburg, who form the service and communications team. To join the team in cyberspace, or simply contribute to their efforts, visit www.saabpearl.se or e-mail the team at support@saabpearl.se.

The Saab 96 was introduced in 1960 as an evolution of the model 93. Among other things, it had an engine that had increased in size by nearly 15 percent. With its legendary handling, front-wheel-drive, light-weight and rock solid rigidity now joined by this new engine, the Saab 96 became an international success in road rallying in the 1960s, consistently beating higher-powered cars with its agility and poor-weather capability.

In the hands of rally superstar Erik Carlsson, this car won the prestigious 1960 RAC Rally in Great Britain. The model 96 went on to win the RAC Rally three more times, not to mention capturing the overall victory in the famous Monte Carlo rally in 1962 and 1963. As a result of these accomplishments, the Sport model of the Saab 96 was named the “Saab Monte Carlo” in 1965-1968 to recognize its amazing feat.

Technical details of the 1960 Saab 96 include:

* Wheelbase: 98 inches
* Weight: 1,792 lbs.
* Engine: 3-cyliner; 2-stroke; 841cc; 38hp @ 5,000rpm
* Transmission: 4-speed, manual transmission, front-wheel-drive

The SaabPearl 96 in action:


And the press release pic. Click to enlarge.



  1. It’s a good thing the 96 handles well, because it ain’t gonna’ win any straightaway races with that “thrust-to-weight ratio”. 😉

    1,792 lbs., 38 hp? That works out to 47 lbs per horsepower. Compare that to 13 lbs per horesepower (3,285 lbs/250 hp) in the 9-3 Aero SportCombi. You’ve come a long way, baby!

  2. I dunno. Nothing sounds as good as one of the old popcorn poppers under load. But how will the girls ever make it without AWD and cellphones? Best of luck.

  3. Swade,
    Thanks, I’ve been keeping an eye on this. I really wish them well, but they don’t stand much of a chance against my other favorite marque, Studebaker. They’ve totally dominated this event in recent years, beating Corvettes, Porsches, Alfas, BMWs, etc. Look at the recent winners from:

    Winners Carrera Panamericana (Modern Edition)

    2005 Juan Carlos Sarmiento – Raúl Villareal (Studebaker)
    2004 Juan Carlos Sarmiento – Raúl Villareal (Studebaker)
    2003 Pierre de Thoisy – Pierre Schockaert (Studebaker)
    2002 Doug Mockett – Alan Baillie (Oldsmobile)
    2001 Pierre de Thoisy – Carlos Macaya (Studebaker)
    2000 Pierre de Thoisy – Jacques Tropenat (Studebaker)
    1999 Pierre de Thoisy – Jean Pierre Gontier (Studebaker)
    1998 Pierre de Thoisy – Phillipe Lemoine (Studebaker)
    1997 Pierre de Thoisy – Phillipe Lemoine(Studebaker)
    1996Carlos Anaya – Eduardo Rodríguez (Studebaker)
    1995 Kevin Ward – Kimberly Elsnier (Studebaker)
    1994 Carlos Anaya – Eduardo Rodríguez (Studebaker)
    1993 Carlos Anaya – Eduardo Rodríguez (Studebaker)
    1992 Peter Frank – Mark Williams (Mercury)
    1991 John Ward – Shirley Ward (Kurtis)
    1990 Alan de Cadenet – Gordon Currie (Jaguar)
    1989 Guillermo Rojas – Alberto Rojas Jr. (Mercury)
    1988 Eduardo Morales – Gael Rodríguez (Ford)

Leave a Reply

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