Finland! What a place. The language is from another planet, but the countryside and the people are magnificent and I’m soooooo very happy that I’ve finally made it to an IntSaab event.
IntSaab is the gathering of international Saab fans, hosted in a different country in Europe every year and organised by the various Saab clubs in the region. You don’t need to be a club member to attend, but of course supporting your local Saab Club is a good thing and when you see what these clubs put together for IntSaab, you’ll be quite amazed.
This year’s event is Ellivouri, around 200km northwest of Helsinki. The Hotel Ellivouri is situated on a big lake, there’s plenty of parking (as you’ll see below) and the atmosphere and surroundings are just magical.
I’m here as part of a small Saab contingent, five people, lending a little corporate presence to the event. The feature of this presence is a show by Kenneth and Kent from the Saab Performance Team tomorrow afternoon. We have a few surprises in store for that, so I’ll keep it short on that subject, but it should be a whole lot of fun and IS readers will get to see it all.
I’ve met a number of old friends here already and I’m sure I’ll meet more tomorrow. I was especially excited to meet former Saab works driver and Finnish rally legend Simo Lampinen. I’m going to be chatting some more with Simo in the next couple of days (this is not a challenge – the man loves a story!) and plan on sharing a lot of that here at Inside Saab in the near future.
We got here a little late today as we called into a few dealerships along the way. Therefore we missed the presentation by Hanny Berger about Saab’s manufacturing history in Finland (I’ve owned several Finnish Saabs, another reason why it’s so great to finally visit here). We also missed a presentation by Simo Lampinen on his rallying history with Saab.
Tomorrow’s program will feature a tour around the countryside surrounding Ellivuori, including a stop at the Nokian tyre warehouse, where the Saab Performance Team will do their thing. The drive will finish in the afternoon, followed by the awards dinner and (yes, really) a magic show!
Sunday sees the daily parts market continue as well as a big closing lunch.
Catching up with people is one of the great things about IntSaab, but of course, it’s a car event and I thought I’d kick off the car coverage with a look at some of the more non-standard sights in the carpark.
Some people add driving lights to their bumpers. Others build them right in. It’s a curious look, but you can’t look away from this Saab 96…..
Click any of the images to enlarge
Saab 96 with custom stripes and a custom garden on the rear parcel shelf……
There is every likelihood that I’ve seen a rear window louvre on a Saab 96 before, but I had to photograph it again.
One of the great things about IntSaab is that all attendees get a goodie-bag, including one of these magnetic rally-style signs for their car, to commemorate their attendance. Many attendees also did a “pre-tour” in Finland on their way to the event, and their signs are marked accordingly…..
Old-school kiddie seat…..
First generation Saab with second generation wheels……
…..and third generation badging…..
Interesting roof apparel part 1….
Interesting roof apparel, part 2….
Aussie Aussie Aussie!!! I had the good fortune to meet the other Aussie at the event, John G from Brisbane. John’s in Scandinavia on a family holiday, fortuitously timed to coincide with IntSaab.
I hope these aren’t like notches on a cowboy’s belt……
This is not a standard colour….. in fact it’s anything but standard, it’s literally outstanding!
There is lots of camping and caravanning going on this weekend. More campers, below….
Inside one of the Saab 95s. Signatures on the door panel include that of Erik Carlsson….
Toppolas are popular again this year…..
….. and whilst I’ve seen plenty of Toppolas on 900s before, I can’t recall seeing a 99 with one on it. From Holland…..
And a curious detail on the 99….. click to enlarge….
I spoke with the owner, Tom, and whilst he has a couple of Saabs imported from the US, this isn’t one of them. A previous owner found the badge somewhere and stuck it on the car.
IntSaab 2012 is already being advertised at the 2011 event. Next year’s IntSaab will be held in Belgium and knowing how crazy the Belgians are about their Saabs, this is going to be one cracker of an event. Start making plans now…..
Our final series of images for today involve this modified Saab 96. You could change the name from Ninety Six to Nine-V-Six if you felt like it…..
Stay tuned for more from IntSaab 2011 tomorrow……