The Saab Festival 2007 – TS plans

I’m leaving Australia in just a few days from now to travel to Trollhattan for the Saab Festival. It’s approaching D-Day, people, and I’m getting excited!!

Planning has been reasonably smooth. I’m no seasoned international traveller, so I’m navigating a reasonable amount of unknown territory here. I think I’ve got the basics covered though. I downloaded a couple of B52s songs on iTunes tonight and I reckon that was just about the icing on the cake ๐Ÿ˜‰

A couple of notes from the planning experience:

1) When you think you’ve put aside enough money, put aside some more. The Swedes charge 25% VAT on stuff. Twenty-five-freakin-percent!! You can claim the VAT back on some items you purchase and take back home with you, but of course that doesn’t apply to travel, accommodation or food – all of which you use up in-country.

2) I’ve always been impressed by the language skills of the Swedes that comment here, and that impression has only been enhanced speaking to a few Swedes on the phone. Some of that 25% tax is obviously invested in a pretty good education system.

3) If you see discount accommodation anywhere – grab it!! I thought I’d done OK with a 740SEK tariff on a room in central Stockholm until I shopped around for another room for the bookend leg of the journey. 740SEK was an absolute steal! The cheapest decent place (with an essential internet connection) was 1575SEK.

4) When you’re choosing to get either a Mac laptop or desktop for home, get the laptop. They’re very expensive to rent. I’m now going to be processing video on my Windows laptop and I know I’ll be missing iMovie. Very much.

—–

I’ll be in Sweden for 10 days in total and eight of those will be in Trollhattan. As I’ve been telling my wife (who’ll be staying home and holding the fort) – this isn’t a holiday.

There’s a lot of people from this website who contributed toward the cost of my airfare to get to this event and I intend to repay each and every one of you with the fullest coverage I can possibly provide. There’ll be daily video and text postings here, covering everything I come across.

In case you haven’t been over to the Festival website and checked out the program, here’s what’s on and a few extras that I’m hoping to cover. You can expect to see at least 90% of this on site in the next two weeks as the trip unfolds:

– tour of the Saab Museum
– tour of ANA, the biggest Saab Ultimate dealership in the world
– thoughts on a tour of the Saab factory (no cameras allowed)
– all the bargains from the SDCC centre. New-old-stock going for a song!
– a look over the Trollspeed workshop
– a really close look at Trollhattan itself
– all the cars of the Festival
– all the activity from the track at Kinekulle
– some time with Swede Team Motor
– a look over P A Johansson’s incredible 850hp 9-3
– the Saab Performance Team
– the anniversary dinner
– a look over “Saab Pearl” – the Saab 96 from La Carrera Panamericana
– a look over all the classic Saabs that people will let me get close to
– the big parade
– the big unveiling of the 2008 9-3
– I’m hoping for some face time with Erik Carlsson (I have my object d’autograph ready)
– I’m hoping for some face time with Per Eklund (ditto)
– I’m hoping for some face time with Stig Blomqvist (ditto)
– I’m hoping for some face time with Jan-Ake Jonsson
– I’m hoping for some face time with Carl-Peter Forster
– I’m hoping for some face time with Anthony Lo (don’t know if he’s going)
– I’m hoping for some face time with Alex Daniel (ditto)
– I’m hoping for some face time with Steve Shannon (ditto)
– Thoughts on driving the Saab Biopower in it’s native land
– Thoughts on driving the new 2008 Saab 9-3
– Thoughts on driving the Volvo V50
– And of course, I can’t wait to meet up with all the people I’ve got to know through this site who will be attending

It’s going to be one heck of a busy couple of weeks!!

The face time is all unplanned. I don’t know how much time these very busy men will have during the course of the Festival (or even if all of them will be there), but whatever I can get I’ll bring back to the site.

—–

If you see me wandering around with a concerned or even grumpy look on my face, don’t be deterred from coming up and saying “Hi”. I always look like that.

—–

I’d like to take one more opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to jelp make this trip a reality.

I literally would not have got there without your help. You are all champions and I owe you plenty.

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25 Comments

  1. Exciting times, right? I hope you get to make most of those face-to-face meetings. Those could really be some great inside contacts in the future, once they get to really know you.

  2. “I’ve always been impressed by the language skills of the Swedes”

    Sweden is basically the 51 state of the U.S. ๐Ÿ™‚ Between 1830-1930 almost 1/3 of the population (about 1.3 Million) left Sweden, and a Million of them ended up in the U.S. About 5 Million people in the U.S. claim to have a Swedish heritage. So there has been a very strong cultural tie between Sweden and U.S.

    Swedish TV-channels and cinemas never used dubbing of program with foreing languages. And since almost all media that is not of Swedish origion are either British or American, that has been a very good way for people to learn English. English has also been the first foreign laguage ot learn for decades, starting in third grade at the age of 9 (earlier, don’t know exact how it is today).

    As I said before, it’s probably easier find someone to speak English with in Sweden, than in Miami or Los Angeles… ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. big question….. are you with or with out beard!!!!!! looking forward to meeting you. my car gets the final look over this sunday and polish on tuesday, getting ever closer.

  4. My top tip:
    Remember to bring and then put a cleaning cloth in the glove box of the car when you get there. Why? because you are use to Right hand drives you will walk up to the now passengers side of the car out of habit and to stop you looking like a fool all you have to do then is open the glove box remove the cloth and walk round to the front of the car and clean the headlamps and then get back in driver side of the car. But remember to put the cloth back into the glove box when you are finished so it will be there the next time you need it.

  5. Robin, I’m pretty sure I’ll be hirsute but I may have a change of heart and shave. I only grow it when I can’t be bothered shaving for a while.

    CAM – top tip, that one. Will add a cleaning cloth to the case.

  6. Hey buddy, I’ll be sure to catch up with you at some point on the trip. I too will be doing a bit of videotaping, but I’ll wait to get back to the states to process it into iMovie.

    Skรถl!
    CL

  7. Ted,
    a very nice old card. Stuff like that is something that exist in almost every Swedish family. Memories och stories about relatives going “over there” to the promised land. Do you know any Swedish or meet with other people of Swedish heritage?

  8. ctm,
    No, I don’t know any Swedish, but I’ve bought a whole collection of dictionaries and study guides to learn it. However, there’s one Spanish word that I know that keeps holding me up: maรฑana.
    I was communicating with a guy in Sweden (Lasse Bengt I believe) from whom I’d bought a wood model of a 92. He translated a few of the postcards for me. He had asked where my mother’s family was from and I had told him it must be Brefkort because all the post cards were from Brefkort. I asked if he knew where Brefkort was because I couldn’t find it on any maps. He answered back that brefkort was old Swedish for “post card”:-)

  9. ctm,
    I forgot to mention: I have hundreds of these post cards from Sweden that came to Carlson/Carlsson/Karlson in Ridgeway, Pennsylvania. Someone in Sweden might have the hundreds that went back the other way. I wish I knew who they were:-(

  10. I’ll be there (hopefully) so If you’ll feel grumpy just find a blue viggen with slovak license plate and after seeing my wheels you’ll laugh ๐Ÿ˜‰ … yes they are so bad.

    For swedish folks: is it still allowed to camp on unrestricted areas outside of cities without any fines or so ? Thats my plan B for last first&night (rest is covered) ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. Ted.

    Haha! Brefkort! ๐Ÿ˜€ But such an easy mistake to make. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You know, one of the good thing with having ancestors in Sweden is all the old Swedish church books with all info on Swedes dating back several hundred years. I think that lot’s of that is available on the Internet today. Earlier, lots of Americans used to come to Sweden to visit librarys to search for relatives and trace their history.

    Here are to basic links to start with:
    http://www.utvandrarnashus.se/eng/
    http://www.genline.com/

  12. I’m seriously considering grabbing a ferry and driving down now the dates are getting closer.

    Can someone please re-post a link for the details of the event?

    Would be an interesting drive through Sweden from the coast ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Papluh, yes you are still allowed to camp on unrestricted areas outside cities.
    It is a traditional right, and has been for more than 1000 years. Nowdays this right is even protected by law, it is a constitutional right in Sweden.
    Though, you have to stay out of sight and hearing distance from inhabited house.

  14. Hi Swade,

    You lucky bugger. I’m going there in August but will obviously miss the festival.

    Can you get some pics of the Trollhatten area, near the massive lake (can’t remember the name).

    For me its as much about checking out Sweden as it will be the SAAB factory. Interesting place, pity it’s so expensive.

  15. Maybe it is time to give you a warning Swade. I dont know if you have give it any thoughts but in Sweden Saab has around 15 percent of the car stock.
    So you better be prepared ๐Ÿ™‚

    Probably is that share even higher around Trollhรคttan

  16. ebbot, I was about to tell him that… 20-25% Volvo, 10-15% Saab (and as you say, probably higher in that area). He must stay away from the usual behaviour he learned during the years when driving on public roads, i.e. break, U-turn and follow the car whenever he meet a Saab…

    ;P

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