Please forgive me, but I’m going to indulge in not only a little bit of name-dropping, but also some trumpet blowing as well in the same post.
This happened. What can I do?
Today was perhaps the most prolific day in my Saab-life. It was only a short meeting that made it so, but it was quite special nonetheless.
Today I met Bjorn Envall just outside the Saab museum. I was standing around talking with Brendan and saw Saab Sweden’s Christer Nilsson chatting with a guy about 6 feet away. As they moved closer to us on their way inside, Christer introduced him to us.
Needless to say my jaw nearly hit the floor. I was totally unprepared. I knew Bjorn worked in the design area for Saab years ago but my head was racing – which cars did he do? Was it him or him and someone else? How recently? Don’t make a dickhead of yourself!!!!
In the end I just came out and asked him. My suspicion was that he had crafted the 99 and indeed he had under the wing of Sixten Sason. His last assignment was the NG900. So in effect he had a hand in the design of both my current car, the 9-3 Viggen, and my old favourite car, the Saab 99 Turbo.
We had a good chat. He sort of recognised me from the article that was in this morning’s newspaper (most. unphotogenic. ever.). That was nice, but what really floored me was when he said that he liked to check in on the website and hear the gossip about what was going on here in Trollhattan!!
His exact words elude me as I write this, but he basically said that he liked the spirit of the site, that it’s committed to Saab and Saab alone.
I was absolutely stunned, to say the least.
We had a good, albeit short chat. I got the impression that he still keeps his finger on the pulse at Saab and comes in to cast an eye over things. He was quite reassuring about the future, saying that as he sees it, GM is of a mind to have it’s freedom a little more after the recent exercise of cost control etc. He raised his arms, flexing them like a pre-Governator and said that Saab will be getting strong again and the designs and cars in two to three years will be great.
Bjorn Envall has been retired for a little while now, but still puts pen to paper and he’s recently done some sketching which was copied and will be given away to people at the Festival. I got a few of these and I also got him to sign one of my color-sample 96s.
An incredible experience that I’ll never forget.