1950 Saab 92 (hopefully) rallying this weekend

1950 Saab 92 Dash Tim Winkler is looking for someone to turn this key on the weekend.

Tim was originally planning to run this original Saab 92, from 1950 and the oldest Saab in America, in an re-enactment rally in Wisconsin this weekend.

I’ve just heard from Tim via email that the driver, Jon Davis, has had to pull out, so Tim’s looking for either a driver or navigator so that the 92 can still make the start line and fly the flag.

Here’s the original press release as received from SaabUSA a few days ago. After that, some great references with regard to the car.

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A rare 1950 SAAB 92 is set to compete in a re-enactment rally in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, home of Road America Raceway. The driver/navigator team is nearly as historic as the car. Jon Davis of Houghton, Michigan, will be behind the wheel, while Tim Winker of Twig, Minnesota, will try to keep the team on time. The 2007 Elkhart Lake Historic Rallye celebrates the 55th anniversary of the SCCA sponsored Monte Carlo style rallies held in conjunction with open road sports car races during 1951 and 1952. The rally will be held on October 5 and 6, 2007, and includes a tour of the original Elkhart Lake race course that used public roads.

1950 was the first year that SAAB produced cars, and this is the earliest 92 known in the U.S, the 218th of only 1246 Saabs to roll off the production line in Trollhattan that year. SAAB did not begin importing cars to the U.S. until the introduction of the model 93 in 1956. This 92 was imported to the U.S. by a private owner. When it was purchased by Saab enthusiast Larry Williams of Waterloo, Iowa, it bore a small dash plaque from the 1952 Elkhart Lake Rallye.

Williams found the rusty 92 at Trio Motors in Flint, Michigan, where it had been sitting for over 25 years. He acquired it in 1991 and dragged it home. He was able to get the car’s 750cc, two-cylinder engine unstuck and even running, then went on to hand fabricate many floor and body pieces that had rusted out. The car had been repainted grey at some time in its life, and much of that was flaking off. Williams was able to get down to the original green paint on much of the car, but bare metal was sprayed with black primer. That is how the body still appears today.
Once it was safe to drive on the street, he drove it to a Saab Owner Convention in Wisconsin, a 500 mile round trip. In a true test of faith in the 92, Williams ran it around the autocross course at the convention.

After Williams passed away in 1998, the SAAB 92 went to Tom Donney, another Iowa Saab collector. He, too, has driven the 92 to Saab events, including Saab Owners Conventions in Hilton Head, SC (1998) and Troy, Michigan (2007). On a recent trip to Sweden, Donney acquired many parts to do a restoration of the 92, and intends to bring the car closer to original condition over the next few years.

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JON DAVIS – Former SCCA ProRally Champion Jon Davis ran his first rally in 1959 in a Triumph TR3. He later switched to the more robust SAABs and took many trophies in both two-stroke and V4 SAAB 96s. When SCCA instituted the ProRally Championship in the 1970s, Davis was one of the first to get involved. He ran a very competitive Saab 99 for many years, but the car suffered regular engine problems due to aftermarket parts. Davis was one of the first to compete in the Production Class, driving a Saab 99, and captured the National Championship in 1980 and 1981, with Harry Ward as his co-driver.

TIM WINKER – Tim Winker’s rally career began when he was a student at the University of Minnesota in 1969. He competed locally for many years, and occasionally ventured across the country for a National Rally. Over the years he has also raced cars on the ice and road race courses, driven and co-driven on stage rallies, and navigated on several prestigious endurance rallies such as One Lap of America, Alcan 5000 and Targa Newfoundland.
Winker was also part of a Saab factory organized team of journalists that drove a Saab 900 to a world speed record at Talladega International Speedway in 1996, and set the fastest lap during his stint at the wheel.

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Here’s the car. Visitors to various SOC’s over the years will no doubt be familiar with it:

1950 Saab 92

Now, if that looks a little tardy to you, consider the condition it was in when the previous owner, Larry Williams, bought the car in the early 1990s….

Saab 92

These photos have been sourced from Tom Donney’s Saab website and a considerable amount of this car’s history can be found there too. There’s also a few more pictures and some video of the car in action.

I hope Tim can find someone suitable for driving or navigating the car this weekend. It’d be great to see it go round again.

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4 Comments

  1. I forgot to add that if I were halfway experienced, I would have dropped everything to fill in. Huge opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    Ted Y: You’re more the man for this job.

  2. I wish I’d known earlier. There were some people at the Minnesota Saab Club meeting last night who would have been eminently qualified replacements.

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