I’m not normally given to this sort of thing, but this little excerpt was too good not to share.

I’m currently reading Rolf Bleeker’s The Spirit of Saab and as I read this part last night, I couldn’t help but think to myself how little had changed in 40 years….

During the introduction of the 99, 900 and 9000 in the USA, Saab had the same problem as with all Saabs right back to the Saab 96. Nobody believed the newest model was a true Saab. Above all there were complaints from the dealers. Just six months after the release of the 99, pleading letters with the following requests were arriving at Saab’s US headquarters: “Please tell the Swedes to send us the 96 again! Our customers want the 96 and not the 99.” Saab drivers believed in faithfulness and monogamy. Their love of ‘their’ car was strong, so strong in fact, that even the attractions of a new beauty could not persuade them otherwise. To this day the tradition still exists, and will no doubt carry forth with future Saabs to come.

You got that right!


Bleeker’s book is a collection of stories like this. Stories from both Sweden and the US that document what you’d best describe as the human side of Saab’s growth as a car company.

The Spirit of Saab is pretty expensive to pick up, as Eggs noted in a post here not so long ago. At that time it was $800 for a new copy. I’m pleased to report that Amazon have 7 used ones as I write this starting at a comparatively bargain-basement price of $314.

It’s a good read, but any price comprising three figures is more than a little excessive, I think. But a great read, nonetheless.

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  1. So you paid over $300+ USD for this book? How did you get it since you are now reading it if you did not pay the steep price? This is confusing.

  2. I answered my own question by reading your previous post comment.

    “got one handed to me in Sweden by Christer at Saab. Heโ€™s probably got a box of โ€˜em.”

    If you are reading this, please have Christer contact me.

  3. Stop teasing me with this book! You keep posting on how good it is and I can’t afford it! Seriously, it’s nice that you’re sharing, but it’s a little frustrating that I can’t read it myself.

    Is the book out of print or something to justify that price? Was it written solely for SAAB dealers and/or employees or something? Is it copyrighted so that if you were to scan it and make it available on the web some lawyer would send you a C&D letter? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. 1985 Gripen,

    It was made specifically for Saab, by a publisher. I wouldn’t advise scanning it though.

    You’ll find one soon enough. There were a number of these for sale at the Saab Owners Convention I heard this year.

    You may even see these again at the 2008 SOC in Massachusetts 1985 Gripen.

    – Ryan

  5. SG: I missed-out on the SAAB Festival in Sweden, didn’t know to look for the book at S.O.C., and doubt I’ll be at S.O.C. next year.

    Thanks for trying to hook me up with a copy though, SG.

    Also edited to comply with the previous comment – SW

  6. i think the tide is beginning to change, though. case in point: aero-x. it seems like the swell is for saab to change, to become more in tune with today’s styling–more definition; leave a bigger visual “footprint.” and dare i say, if the next-gen saab doesn’t make a huge design departure from the current fare, we’re doomed.

  7. saab9x, I have faith in what is going to happen with the next gen cars. Lot’s of rumours going around from sources within GM that the 9-5 interior is going to evolve into something very close to what we have seen in the Aero-X. A GOOD thing in my opinion, as while the current interior is a great design (yes, the materials could be better, but the ergonomics are fabulous), it will date. Even Audi are falling foul of this many people now commenting that all of their interiors look the same now and it is getting boring.

    Saab, I’m sure will impress.

    It just got me thinking about why the vast majority of us Saabisti love the brand and what it stands for.

    What does the brand say to me? It says that I am an individual. I have thoughts and an opinion that I will form from my own learnings. I do not wish to follow a crowd of bland, although admittedly worthwhile, product. Saab has culture, it has heritage, it speaks to the owner. And when Saab does speak, it’s telling me I’m safe, my family is safe, and my friends are safe. But it does so with a devilish smile, hinting that although the barriers are there to protect, they certainly will not be there to hinder.

    I’m also chuffed to see Saab as cool. Rebellious even, touching on what I mentioned earlier with regard to not following the crowd. Sometimes choice is too easy. Sometimes everyone has an opinion that one should buy something else. Until they experience that same feeling. One of enlightenment. The feeling that tells you, there is another choice. There is an alternative. And it isn’t bad.

    The first day I drove a Saab, it made me feel special. It made me smile. Heck, I was giggling. The TT I had a few months prior bored me. Yes it looked fabulous, and yes it had a fab interior. But it was also boring to drive.

    This is not a token thing to be taken lightly. Saab has always had a special place in my heart. Whenever I saw one, I always thought, ‘ahhh, bless, Saabs are great’. Tell me, which other brand is able to engender such a warm reception?

    Sit in a Saab and the seats hug and caress you. They provide a steely assurance that you will arrive as you left. Fresh, and perhaps even less stressed.

    I was driving in London once, it was sunny so had the hood down. There was a man who was pushing his dad in a wheelchair. He was staring at the car with a huge smile. I had stopped at the lights and he came up to me, with such a proud look.

    “I help make this car” he said, “It’s lovely, it is so nice to see so many Saabs here. It is almost like home”

    His dad meanwhile made the effort to raise a thumbs up as the lights turned green.

    The world has heroes, unfortunately, most are fictitious. I know a certain company in Trollhattan who are certainly not. Every person there is a hero, and deserves the brand to do well.

    I for one am gratious that I am given a choice, whenever I turn the key in that funny spot behind the gear lever.

  8. “I bought this book last year on Amazon and it was only about $15 or so. This crazy price increase doesnโ€™t make sense..”

    A Saab renaissance perhaps?

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