Travel Notes – Day 7

Today was day 2 of the Saab Festival here in Trollhattan, Sweden, and it was a day full of unexpected pleasures.

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First, there was the rather noisy but fun wake-up call that filled the whole city. Around 6-8 trucks pulling trailers full of school graduates around the city streets, the kids singing and blowing horns full-on for around 3 hours. They’re all out again tonight, filling the streets and being pretty rowdy, but generally very well behaved. This really is a beautiful little city, one in which you don’t feel threatened at night, despite the alcohol-fuelled crowds wandering around. Everyone’s out to enjoy the summer nights.

Perhaps it’s a bit of an indictment on Hobart that I’m writing that, but so be it.

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The second surprise of the day was the chance meeting with Bjorn Envall, whom I think it would be fair to classify as the second father of Saab design, after Sixten Sason.

I’m still shaking my head over that one.

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I also did a little traffic watching with the video camera, which will posted sometime. It’s just amazing some of the stuff you see passing by. Whilst doing so I ran into Ryan from SaabHistory.com once again, as well as John from Elkparts.

Later in the museum itself I ran into Peter Gilbert, owner of the million mile Saab 900.

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Whilst I have covered my experience with Bjorn Envall, I neglected to mention that I also met another Saab guy at the same time. His name is Bjorn Berglof and he’s the Manager for Saab Motorsport.

I found it encouraging that there’s someone there with that title and position description. Saab’s motorsport activity is mainly in their domestic market, not including Per Eklund and his European RallyCross activities. I expressed my desire to see ‘more more more’, which was a sentiment I think Bjorn agreed with entirely.

His current motorsport activities aren’t the only string to his bow, however. Back in the day, Bjorn had responsibility, by himself, for the dashboard and seat design in the Saab 99. I think they probably have a team of about 40 people doing that now (and they still ended up with the GM radio!!).

I could not, under any other circumstances, envision meeting guys like this.

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Later, we went over to ANA to see what was without doubt the best of the seminars presented here at the festival.

I’m very pleased to say it was conducted by Bo Lindman, of Swede Team Motor. It gives me great disappointment, however, to tell you that I ran out of videotape only 20 minutes into it.

Bo’s presentation included an overview of Saabs in tarmac racing, a form of motorsport that’s often overlooked in deference to Saab’s rally history. I hope that the 20 minutes of footage that I did get proves to be informative nonetheless.

We had a good chat afterwards and I’m so pleased that Swede Team Motor are doing so well. Some of the plans for the future are very exciting, including a historic class run at LeMans next year, only the second Saab entry to LeMans in history (Bo started in historic racing before he got into modern endurance racing).

Film of his session will be uploaded soon. It really was sensational.

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Tomorrow we’re up early and off to Kinnekulle racetrack (which is pronounced nothing like how it’s spelled, a common Swedish phenomenon).

It should be awesome.

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4 Comments

  1. Swade. We all envy you of course. Must be quite absorbing, jaw dropping and amusing.
    If you meet Bjorn Berglof again, please ask him what he thinks of the new 9-3 dash with the silver lining that gives you the impression you have a cracked windshield every time you drive under a street light. SFGM!

  2. No.9: on that topic, I noticed that quite a few American GM automobiles have that chrome trim on the gauges. I wonder if this was an American styling choice forced upon the Swedes. Look at Pontiacs and Chevy cars. They all seem to have that chrome trim. Shame, really. You’d think that SAAB could have nixed it as being a safety hazard (the glare and reflection of the windshield being distracting).

  3. Swade: The is no doubt in my mind that this blunder is not from Saab as in Saab of Sweden. I can live with the GM radio because it makes economic Sen$ and it’s a good radio (which cannot me said of past Saab (Panasonic) units. But this reflection thing is an insult. Not correcting it after having been informed about it is total crap.
    Keep up the great work and cerefull for the Sun. It’s part of climate changes. I got sunburned a few years ago way up in James Bay in northern Québec in early May !

  4. Hello. Did you hear something about the percentage of produced Saab 9-3 and Cadillac? The guide at ANA told numbes, but I did not really hear the numbers. You heard also, that ANA will be sold this monhth?

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