Right now, as I sit in my office typing this stuff up, a regular at this site, 1985Gripen, is in San Diego enjoying some Saab hospitality at the 60th Anniversary media event there.
He’s surrounded by historic Saabs from GM’s Heritage Collection and will be hanging with all the Saab USA people as well as Mr Saab himself – Erik Carlsson.
I asked Gripen to take this on as a Trollhattan Saab representative for a few reasons. First and foremost, as a thankyou for his efforts documenting the LA Auto Show recently. Second, he’s a regular Saab guy but without an intimate knowledge of the company’s past and I thought this would be of real benefit to him as a passionate Saab fan. Third, he’s never been afraid to voice his opinion on issues here and I thought this would give him a great insight into the company from a first-hand perspective. Finally, he lives relatively close so it wasn’t an impost on him to get there.
Gripen’s just arrived, checked into his accommodation and written this. It wasn’t meant to be a blog post, but it was sooooo good I asked his permission to publish it.
The excitement and enthusiasm of a regular Saab guy getting to check out what the motoring press take for granted is literally palpable.
I feel like freakin’ James Bond! Valet parking, then I’m in the hotel and I get my room (after a scare that my reservation had been cancelled – turns out they accidentally booked me twice, once with my name spelled “McGill” and once with it spelled “Mc Gill”. The woman was looking at the wrong one…).
This place looks like something straight out of a James Bond movie. I’m thinking “Diamonds are Forever” (with my favorite architect, the late John Lautner’s beautiful modernist house in Palm Springs, California doubling for “Willard White’s” house in Las Vegas in the film). It’s very modernist and minimal (very Swedish, actually). There’s an LCD flat panel TV in the room (currently running a trippy psychadelic screensaver and weird music) and all the furniture looks like it was bought at IKEA, but more upscale. The shower door is all clear glass and there are sliding partitions in the room with exposed stainless steel tracks.
Check it out online: http://www.tower23hotel.com
They gave me a silver on gloss black SAAB gift bag at the front counter which includes my ID badge. The ID badge is silver plastic with both the current Griffin SAAB logo on it as well as the old “airplane” logo. It says, “Mike Mc Gill Trollhattan SAAB Weblog”.
Inside the gift bag is a copy of “Mr. SAAB” (can you believe I just spent $65 to buy a copy and have it shipped via expedited shipment!?!?), a hardcover book detailing the 60th Anniversary Special Editions, a SAAB ballpoint pen, a spiralbound notebook style presentation with those 60 SAAB facts you had on your site about a week ago, and… a die cast replica of the Monte Carlo Rally SAAB 96!
I’m paging through the 60th Anniversary book and it has some nice sections with beautiful pictures of the history of SAAB, and there’s a section (with absolutely beautiful photos) of the SAAB USA “Heritage Collection”. Included in the collection are:
1952 SAAB 92
1956 SAAB Sonett “Super Sport”
1960 SAAB 93F GT 750
1960 SAAB 96 RAC Rally Car
1966 SAAB Quantum IV
1967 SAAB Sonett II Two-Stroke
1970 SAAB 99
1970 SAAB Sonett III
1978 SAAB 99 Turbo
1986 SAAB 900 Turbo Convertible
1987 SAAB 9000 Turbo “Talladega – The Long Run”
1990 SAAB 900 SPG
1995 SAAB 900 SE “Pikes Peak”
1997 SAAB 900 SE “Talladega Challenge”
2005 SAAB 9-2X Aero
2006 SAAB 9-3 Aero V-6 Convertible “20 Years Edition”
I have no idea which of these cars from the collection will be out in the desert tomorrow for us to drive! I’m such a dork. I’m practically in tears. I can’t let anyone see me for fear they’ll figure I’m a freak and kick me out!!!
I just noticed, this book has an included CD-ROM. What’s on it?
It looks like a ton of high and lo res photos, probably the same as available on the 60th Anniversary Micro Site. The files are WAY too big for me to e-mail you. Maybe when I get home I can make a copy somehow to ship to you.
I’ll let you know how everything else goes later.