Vintage Saab Racing

Those of you that have been hanging around this site for a little while know that I love seeing Saabs involved in Motorsport. The more the better and I can only only hope that it extends to a full factory team in a top-flight race series one day.

For the moment though, we have the passion of the part-timers.

I received an email from Len Schrader a few days ago. Len is the Executive Vice President of Reinertsen Motors Inc and thereby one of the guys running Reinersten Motors Racing.

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Thoughts of SAAB’s storied motorsports history mainly conjure up images of rally cars, but SAABs have also fared very well racing on the pavement.

Reinertsen Motors Racing has raced SAABs in pro and amateur road racing since the 1970’s, an era when Saab dominated SCCA showroom stock racing with the 99 and 99 Turbo. We expanded our effort in the 1980’s and had great success with 900s and 9000s that we campaigned in various endurance events, most notably, the IMSA Firehawk series. Unfortunately, the difficulty of enforcing rules regarding turbo charging resulted in a ban on forced induction, and viability of racing a competitive SAAB was significantly compromised. However, our passion and enthusiasm for racing SAABs never diminished

The passage of time has given our old cars and us a second life, VINTAGE RACING. Over the past five years we have begun to compile a stable of vintage or near vintage SAAB racecars. We currently have three – a 1973 99, a 1986 900, and a recently acquired 1967 V-4.

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The V-4 was originally driven and prepared by Willy Lewis, who later went on the win the Barber Saab Pro Series, and drive various cars in SCCA Pro Racing and IMSA. The car competed in SCCA’s GT3 class for heavily modified production cars, and is currently undergoing a rehab, as it has not raced since 1983. We are eager to get the car back on the track because its fiberglass body parts, wide racing slicks accommodated by flared fenders, and heavily tuned cross-flow engine will surely have this car near the front of the field.

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The 99 is a slightly modified streetcar, reminiscent of the early showroom stock car, that I have been driving in the SCCA Northeast Historic Racing Group for the past five seasons. The car has run without incident, and is a really great racecar that deserves all the attention it gets. In the paddock, everyone who passes by can’t resist saying how great it is to see the Saab in competition, brining back both memories of SAABs success in the 70’s and their own past ownership experiences (it seems as if everyone either had, or knew someone who had, an orange 99). Thanks to some competition parts from Trollspeed, we are in the process of building a stronger engine with the hope of beating some fast Volvos next year.

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The 900 is the youngest member of our fleet and it competes in SCCA’s Improved Touring B class. The 3-door competes against VWs, Volvos, BMWs, Audis, and an assortment of other cars. Our experience with this car on the track has been limited, but thus far it appears to run strong and handles really well.

Some highlight events we participated in this year included the Jefferson 500 at Summit Point Motorsports Park, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix at Beaver Run Motorsports Complex, the Rolex Vintage Festival at Lime Rock Park, and as a support race for the Bush North Series also at Lime Rock Park. The Rolex Vintage Festival is the premier track/show event in the Northeast and we are fortunate to have been invited each year to participate with the 99. With some luck we might be able to also bring the V4.

Be sure to check out www.rmisaab.com in the spring for Reinertsen Motors Racing’s tentative schedule.

-Len Schrader
Executive Vice President
Reinertsen Motors Inc.

2 Comments

  1. The 96 is still my favorite car, but there’s no car more beautiful sweeping through a high-speed turn than a Saab 99.

  2. Len-

    Do you know how I might get in touch with Willy Lewis? He was listed as a prior owner of the ’67 V-4 on your site.

    Thanks,

    Scott Hemauer

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