More elaborate notes from IntSaab 2011 :-)

Yesterday we had some brief notes from IntSaab 2011. Today I have access to my photos, so it’s time for some more elaborate postings…..

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If I had to pick one highlight from IntSaab this year, it was meeting this guy for the first time. If you don’t recognise him by sight, then you’re just like I was. If you recognise his name but know little about his extraordinary life/career, then you’re just like I was.

It’s a situation that I hope to rectify soon, for all of us.

This is Simo Lampinen, one of the original Flying Finns. He drove Saabs in rallies throughout the 1960s and 70s with multiple wins and podium finishes in rallies all over Europe. He has spent his retirement from competitive rallying as an administrator and clerk for the WRC circuit (amongst others) and if you’ve not been hit by a car whilst attending a competitive rally stage, you can probably thank Simo for your safety.

Simo did a presentation at IntSaab about Saab rallying and his career with both the Swedish and Finnish Saab rally teams. I missed that presentation as we were still on the road, on our way up to the event. Simo was kind enough to give me a personal encore on Sunday morning and I can’t be more grateful.

Simo has just passed his 68th birthday and still has the energy of a child. He loves a good story and I’m planning to get together with him again to record his story, from his perspective, for sharing here in Inside Saab in the future.

Two of Simo’s competition cars, which are now privately owned, were on display at IntSaab and still get a run regularly.

I can’t let this article pass by without thanking Marco H, who is the man primarily responsible for bringing Simo’s name and career to a higher place in my consciousness. Much appreciated, mate.

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I also learned yet another way that the Saab 900 was ahead of its time – it has an iPhone holder built in……

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The Saab Performance Team did their thing, albeit on a slightly smaller scale, on Saturday. Three shows were held during the afternoon at the Nokian Tyre Warehouse, in Nokia.

Kenneth fielding a question as to why they use cars with an automatic transmission…..

I’ve got a lot of video editing to do, but hopefully we should have something to show from the event in the next few days….

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Most attendees at IntSaab saw the 9-4x for the first time at the Nokian Tyre Warehouse. It was unveiled at the end of the Performance Team show and then parked, and opened for inspection.

We also had it at the IntSaab hotel venue and it attracted people every time the doors (or other parts) were opened…..

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I didn’t see this Saab 96 custom job at the main IntSaab venue, but it showed up at the Nokian Tyre Warehouse on Saturday afternoon.

The car has had its rooline chopped and many of the panels have been fabricated from fibreglass to get the custom look. A Ford V6 engine (the ‘Essex’ V6, if I understood correctly) has been fitted in the car.

It probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for the amount of work and dedication that’s gone into this, and for the superb quality result obtained, you have to respect it. Amazing stuff.

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If you’re lost whilst looking for next year’s IntSaab, which will be at Spa, in Belgium, then just look for the guy in the matte black Saab 96 and do as the sign says…..

The Belgians have hosted some wonderful Saab gatherings in the last few years and IntSaab 2012 will be a cracker, I’m sure.

I’ll be providing more details as soon as the whole package is ready for publication.

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5 Comments

  1. Swade, I really don’t know what I envy more on your job:

    Is it
    * Working for saab
    or
    * Meeting all these great people
    or
    * Going (on company cost) to these fabulous events…

    😉

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