Saab Festival – Sunday Display

Today was the last day of the Saab Festival, which saw the big car display in the car park surrounding the Saab Car Museum. I don’t know how many cars were in attendance but I can tell you it was a LOT.


There was a special tribute to mark the recent passing of Erik Carlsson and that’s as good a place as any to start. A stage was set up near the entrance to the museum and the museum director, Peter Backstrom, conducted a number of interviews with Erik’s friends and co-conspirators.


Erik loved his food and the photo of Peter Backstrom on the stage, above, was taken from behind the sausage stand set up by Orio. Free hot dogs were given out to the crowd (and they were good – why do you think I was standing in the Orio area taking photos? 🙂 )

Erik lived a long life and he lived it well. A minute’s silence is nice, but it wasn’t really Erik’s kind of thing. Instead, some two-stroke owners got their cars together and put on a two or three minute tva-takt tribute of their own. Here’s a sample….

To the display, then…..

Unicorn Saabs

This looks like a regular old line of NG Saab 9-5s, doesn’t it?


It’s not a regular line of 9-5’s at all, though.

A small number of Saab 9-5 SportCombis were sold by the administrators when Saab went bankrupt. These cars were considered to be un-registerable but a tenacious bunch of owners tiptoed through the red tape and actually managed to get their cars road legal. That there were 7 of them attending this year’s Festival is a tribute to their dedication.



A couple of Saab 9-4x’s were spotted in the crowd, too. Here’s one of them…..


And parked behind the 9-4x was one of the most unloved ‘Saabs’ of all time – normally prone to rust but this one was in outstanding condition. It’s a Saab-Lancia 600.




Saab 9-3

I should apologise to Saab 9-3 owners this year, because I didn’t really take much time looking over your cars at all. 9-5 owners, too.

A Viggen always catches my eye, though, and this three-door in Lighting Blue was just perfect…..



This convertible in Monte Carlo Yellow looked the business, too…..


The Turbo-X’s were out in force. It almost looked like a Star Wars convention 🙂




Classic Saab 900

It’s getting harder and harder to find a classic Saab 900 in good condition – even in Sweden. And when you look at the magnificent 900s present here at the Saab Festival, you know why. Nobody in their right mind would ever want to sell one, would they?

Click to enlarge.


Saab 96

The Saab 96s were the stars of today’s display for me. I’ve developed a big soft spot for the old V4s and the two-strokes sounded glorious all day. What really got me, though, is just the sheer base-level character of the car, which lends itself to all sorts of custom presentations.

It’s probably be the rally heritage that makes this OK on the 96. More than OK, actually. It’s perfect.


Saab 99

The 9-3 Viggen and the Saab 99 Turbo remain as my two favourite Saabs of all time. There were plenty of nice 99s in attendance this year, including some excellent turbos.

This Cardinal Red turbo was said to be in 100% original condition. It was incredibly clean and so popular that it was hard to get a clear photo of, as you can see.



Some more 99s…..

My first turbocharged Saab was a 99 Turbo 3-door in Marble White. This 99 Turbo 2-door in Marble White was for sale and it’s mighty, mighty tempting…..





Bo’s Stig Blomqvist replica 99 Turbo looked superb.





All three generations of Saab Sonett were on display today….


Saab 9000

The Saab 9000 was this year’s feature car for the Festival and there were plenty of excellent examples on display.

Saab designer Bjorn Envall once referred to the Saab 9000 as the most complete Saab in his eyes. I’ve had three of them in my driveway and it’s hard to disagree. The 9000 is exceptional value if you can find a good one. It’s a car that looks incredibly smart, is supremely comfortable, practical and quick.


NG Saab 9-5

There might have been comparatively few of them sold, but the NG Saab 9-5 was prominent all weekend at the Saab Festival. This little gallery doesn’t do them justice.

This first car had a pearl white finish – a wrap, I think – that looked absolutely superb.


Note the little front spoiler on this one. A nice touch…..


I saw a write-up on this ‘Saab 9-5x’ a few months ago. It was nice to see it in person.




The Oddities And Others

It wouldn’t surprise me if this Saab 99 turned out to be the most photographed car of the day. It’s hard to miss. Earlier in the Festival, it was seen towing a trailer with another (pristine) Saab 99 loaded on the back.



A rolling nightclub? I call it FrankenSaab 🙂

I’m not quite sure what was going on with this Saab 99. The 16V engine was pushed waaaay back.



I thought this Saab 9-3 might have been wrapped, too, but on closer inspection it looked like actual paint.


This Saab 9-5 looked pretty special. I had to look twice to figure out what was going on and finally got an explanation from a friend of the owner. It’s had some extensive re-working to make it a 9-5 widebody. The level of finish was outstanding. A look inside the back door shows you just how wide the arches have been flared.






Saab 95 wagon in motion….


Saab 92 with patina….


Saab 92 and 93s….


And I couldn’t resist a shot of this early Saab 96 in MCY….



And there are my picks from the Sunday display at the Saab Festival. 100-odd photos means that probably missed about 600 or so cars. Apologies to those owners but there’s only so much time to write things up.

Thanks to the organisers and participants for what was yet another memorable Saab Festival in 2015.


Saab Festival – NEVS Tour: Technical Development

NEVS opened (some of) their doors on day 1 of the Saab Festival with a great tour of the Technical Development building on offer. It was a short tour. It only covered about 2% of the facility but it was a GOOD tour and a wonderful gesture by NEVS to get the fans involved with the company.

NEVS did not allow photos during the tour and I can understand why. You don’t want 50 people in a tour group with all of them snapping pictures at will. It’s not a look that your clients will appreciate and contrary to popular belief, NEVS have been doing a lot of development/engineering work for other car companies over the last year or so, even during the bankruptcy.

If there were no photos, however, there wouldn’t be a story. And this tour was enjoyed so much by people who participated that it was a story worth the telling. So I had a chat with some NEVS people and they agreed that photos wouldn’t be such a bad thing 🙂

As mentioned, the tour was short. It was intended to give people a small insight into the detailed work that goes into designing and building a car.

The first stop was at one of the electrical workshops. The test bench we saw is known as an A-frame and it basically lays out all the electrical components of the car on a horseshoe shaped bench. The operator can test any electrical functions on the car.

I wrote about this at length on Inside Saab back in 2011. Check it out here.



This frame holds all the electrical components that go into the car. Want to try something new, or modify something? You rig it up on the frame and see how it works.


A lot of the tour took in the various acoustics labs on site.

These are mostly comprised of ‘dead rooms’ that absorb all ambient noise so that the instruments can isolate and measure any noise coming from the vehicle.




The images below show an interesting process. The body-in-white you can see here is actually acting like the membrane from a loudspeaker. It’s sitting on some air cushions to isolate it from the floor and it’s connected to an ‘exciter’ from underneath. Basically, the whole car vibrates like a speaker membrane, though the vibrations are not visible like they might be on a speaker.

They were playing a song called Rise Of The Phoenix 🙂



Cars are subject to constant vibration when you drive. This is a way of simulating that and seeing how the body-in-white copes with such vibrations. Body-in-white is a term for the basic body structure before you start attaching things to it. It’s important to get that basic structure sorted before you start building cars so this test will be done while the vehicle’s in development.


Here you can see a microphone attached to a rotor arm in a hard-surfaced room. What you can’t see are the reflective panels hanging at various angles from the roof. Those panels make sure that noise is distributed evenly around the room and the rotor arm lets the microphone swing around so that it can measure the sound distribution.

On the back wall, you can see a red panel with a hole in it, which opens up to another ‘dead room’ behind.


That red panel is used to mount various components of a car (e.g. doors, dash panels, etc) so that noise can be made in the ‘loud room’ and measured in the ‘dead room’. This tests how much sound leaks from those components. The red panel can hold certain items, or can be removed completely. Engineers find a solution for mounting the component that’s being tested at the time.


This guy gets used for measuring sound sometimes…..



This is another dead room, although it’s one with a full dyno in the floor. They can run a car in here at up to 200km/h for testing. The box at the front of the car provides cooling and hoses trail out from the exhaust for extraction.



You saw the micro-vibration testing on the body-in-white, above. But what about testing the whole vehicle’s tolerance for rough roads?

This machine performs some gruelling tests over prolonged periods to simulate some pretty rough living on the part of the car.

The car being tested will stay on this machine for 8 days straight, 24 hours a day. It’ll then be taken to the test track and driven to listen for rattles and squeaks, etc. Then the process is repeated for a second time. Then, for a third time!! After the third cycle, the car is completely dismantled to see how individual parts have fared throughout the process.

The sound of rushing air that you can hear?

They have to pump air over some of the suspension components, particularly the shock absorbers, to keep them cool.


We saw various robots that are set up to test components, like cupholders…..


Door windows……


Electric seats…… the robotic arm is moving the seat switches mounted on a table and the seats on the floor move accordingly


And door opening/closing



This is one of the early generation battery packs that NEVS were testing. It’s not going to be used in their electric vehicle as it’s too big and too heavy.



Saab installed this brake dyno a few years ago and it’s one of only a few of its type in Europe.




That’s just a quick look at the tour, which was itself just a quick look at a small part of the testing and development that gets done inside a car company. Most cars companies have this stuff spread out over very large areas, even spread around different cities or countries. Saab was always unique in that everything needed to develop a vehicle was on site at the same facility.

NEVS ought to be congratulated for allowing such access to Saab Festival visitors and personally speaking, I want to thank them for allowing me back inside with my camera so that I could share the experience with you.

The stuff that we saw was quite old – the bulk of testing for the 9-3 Sportcombi would have been done well over 10 years ago – but that’s NEVS protecting the interests of customers they’re performing engineering services for right now. Smart move.

Thanks again, NEVS, for the insight.


Saab Festival – Day 1 Dispatch

At any other time, this would be an extraordinary photo. This weekend, it’s just another day in Sweden 🙂


Congratulations to the graduates, too. Every time I’m here I seem to wake up to this Swedish tradition – students on trucks making lots and lots of noise now that their basic schooling is over. Time for the real world, kids.


It’s Saab Festival time once again. The sun is shining (mostly), the people are smiling and a convoy of two-strokes screaming down the street is no longer unusual.

As usual, there are all manner of Saabs here. As I sit here in the foyer of the Scandic Swania (without a camera!) I’ve seen a NG Saab 9-5 Combi and that most disregarded unicorn of all cars to ever wear a Saab badge – a Saab-Lancia 600!! That’s the Saab Festival for ya.

The feature events for yesterday were the open day at NEVS, the parts sale and various events at the Saab Museum. The open day at NEVS was the real feature and I’ll do a separate article about the tour at Technical Development later, but first…..

The visit to NEVS

It was a bittersweet experience going back to the Saab factory. Sweet because it really is the heart of the company. Bitter because…. well….. you know.

But I have to say I was heartened by the visit with NEVS yesterday. I missed the speech by Matthias Bergman about the future of the company, but I’m not overly fussed by that. From what I heard, it was a presentation that nearly anyone even remotely familiar with the situation could have written. i.e. it didn’t really give away much and I got basically the same information chatting with a few people in private.

The news is that we can all expect a significant press conference this coming week. Probably Wednesday. The word is that new partners/investors are on board and progress will continue.

The news behind the news is more interesting (to me).

I met at least one key recruit who has only recently come back after leaving Trollhattan at the end of 2011. This is a recruiting coup straight from the top drawer, a man in the prime of his career who could pretty much work anywhere he wants.

You can have all the PR-vetted speeches you like, but the fact that this gentleman has bought what NEVS is selling tells me they’ve got something real to sell.

The other news from the day, not completely new but nice to have confirmed, is that NEVS is shifting its focus back to electric propulsion and range-extended hybrids; away from internal combustion cars. Now, I’m an internal combustion guy so this leaves me with mixed feelings, but it’s somewhat of a relief that they’re re-focusing on their original plan after the spanner thrown in the works by their recalcitrant Chinese investor.

What I took away from yesterday: I feel quite confident that NEVS will come out their recent troubles and build cars. Whether they build cars that either you or I find interesting is another question. But they’re going to build something. They may or may not be able to call it a Saab but cars will roll out of Trollhattan (and China) in the future and if they stay here, that’s a good thing for the city.

NEVS allowed people to tour some of the technical development area at Stallbacka. I’ve got exclusive photos and video from the tour, which I’ll share shortly.


The Parts Sale

The parts sale kicked off in earnest at 9am yesterday. It was smaller than last time, which was smaller than the time before. I guess that’s the nature of selling parts of finite supply. It’s always good, though.

This year the punters had the added fun of being able to strip a number of wrecks mounted out in the yard. That looked like fun. They even had a few old V4’s out there.

Click any of the photos to enlarge….


Rony Lutz

Saab’s wonderful in-house artist, Rony Lutz, has an exhibition at a gallery near the Saab Museum. Rony made a presentation about his work at 2pm yesterday but I can’t tell you much about it. I was there, but it was all in Swedish 🙂



In The Car Park

The two biggest attractions at any Saab Festival are the cars and the people. Accordingly, I spend much of my time chatting with friends that I almost only see at events like this, and with my camera out in the car park.

The cars here are always amazing. It’s a rich collection spanning all of Saab’s near-70 years.

Click to enlarge and enjoy.

Vale Erik Carlsson

Ironic that this should happen just a few hours after NEVS’s positive news……. but it’s turned into a sad day for Trollhattan and Saab fans in general.

It’s with great sadness that I report today on the passing of a Saab legend, perhaps the biggest Saab legend of all – Mr Erik Carlsson. Erik passed away in his adopted England today after a short illness. He was surrounded by family.

“Mr Saab” was born in Trollhattan, Sweden, in March 1929 and the story of his life is inextricably bound to the city and the car company that was based there.

Erik drove his first rally victory in a Saab in 1955 when the company was less than 10 years old. That was a two-cylinder Saab 92 and he went on to experience rally success with the Saab 93, Saab 95 and the Saab 96 with both two-stroke and V4 engines.

Saab fans will be well aware of his successes. While Erik won various events between 1955 and 1959, it was his winning of the RAC Rally of 1960, the first year of the Saab 96, that cemented both he and Saab on the motorsport map. Erik’s legend goes hand-in-hand with the Saab 96, which he took to first place in the famous Monte Carlo Rally in 1962 and 1963. He also won the RAC Rally two more times in 1961 and 1962. The 1000 Lakes Rally, the Acropolis Rally, the Swedish Rally, the San Remo Rally, the Czech Rally – all of them have Erik Carlsson’s name in their history books under “Winner” and many more have him as being placed on the podium.

Erik even drove the heavier Saab 95 estate vehicle at Monte Carlo, finishing in 4th position in 1961. I’m not sure that a two-door, 7-seat station wagon has ever been so close to glory, either before or since!


After his retirement from rallying, Erik became Saab’s most prominent ambassador. The amount of frequent flyer miles he would have accumulated travelling for Saab to events around the world would have broken most airline computers, I’m sure.

It must be said, however, that Erik’s days as an ambassador for the company took shape even when he was still rallying. When accepting victory trophies in his Saab 96, Erik always insisted that the car was cleaned before it was presented. He and his co-driver would always show up in dress suits rather than racing suits to accept the trophy. Presentation was paramount.

Erik famously promoted the Saab 900 at events around the world, driving it at speed over a large blade that would puncture the front tyre. At the time of the puncture, Erik would raise his hands out from the sunroof to show how well balanced the Saab was even under pressure.

Erik’s longevity as a Saab ambassador – a role he played well into his Eighties – can be attributed to his personal charm. Erik loved the role and he played it well. He had a cheeky smile, plenty of stories to tell and a willingness to engage anyone in conversation. And so prominent was Erik as an identity at Saab that they released three Carlsson edition vehicles in his honour – a Saab 900, a Saab 9000 and a Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan.

There would barely be a Saab fan that’s travelled to a prominent Saab event that didn’t get a handshake, a photograph or an autograph from the great man. He had time for everyone, even in his later years.

I had the good fortune to spend an afternoon with Mr Saab back in 2012. The day was organised by mutual good friends Mike and Hilary, who have spent a lot of time with the great man in the last 20 years. I encourage you to read that story as it says a lot about him outside of the spotlight.

That day taught me a lot about Erik Carlsson. It showed me the way he cared for the company, talking about it in an educated fashion like a man who still had his finger on the pulse, even in his advanced years and at such a distance. It showed me the way he loved his RAC replica Saab 96 (see video, below), which he drove with such exuberance on the day. More than that, though, it showed me his warmth as a man. He was deeply charming, extremely generous with his time and compliments, and he loved his family deeply.

Erik Carlsson married Pat Moss, the sister of Sir Sterling Moss, in 1963 and like his heritage from Trollhattan, this partnership shaped the rest of his life. Pat Moss was an accomplished driver in her own right and they wrote a book about the art of driving together. The couple settled in England, where Pat indulged her other passion – horses – which she passed on to their daughter Susie. Erik still lived just down the road from his daughter right up until his passing.

Erik Carlsson lived a full life, passing away at the age of 86. It was a life worth celebrating, a life to be remembered with fondness.

He was, and always will be remembered as Mr Saab.

Vale Erik Carlsson.

NEVS Take On Two NEW Chinese Owners/Partners

Here’s the press release, and there’s a little more to read below it.

Nevs grows with two Chinese strategic part owners

Together with two new Chinese part owners Nevs will establish its second global factory with focus on electric vehicles and a second global research and development center in the city of Tianjin, neighboring Beijing City and Hebei Province, three highly-integrated economic regions with a population over 100 million.

With the new part owners, Tianjin city’s Tianjin Binhai Hi-tech industrial Development Area (THT), and the Beijing State Research Information Technology Co., Ltd. (SRIT), Nevs has got two new strategic partners.

Tianjin is one of the biggest coastal cities in China and has significantly promoted new energy vehicles both in the form of consumer subsidies and official procurements.

The Tianjin city’s fast growing national level demonstration zone THT embraces a long history of automotive industry. Here is where the joint venture production plant will be built. This will give Nevs a strong foothold on the increasing EV market in the area and China, as well as provide Nevs access to the existing automotive supplier base in the region.

SRIT is a pioneering IT service provider owned by China’s Research Development Center of the State Council, and the telecommunications giant China Unicom.

As software services and connectivity as well as new energy vehicles are the major and increasing trend within the automotive industry, the cooperation with SRIT and its owners will give Nevs a unique possibility to place itself at the forefront of connectivity for the future. SRIT as a partner will also open up more opportunities for Nevs.

The first car that will be produced in the plant in Tianjin is an electric vehicle based on Nevs’ technology, followed by a diversified EV and portfolio of battery electric vehicles and EVs based on Nevs’ new developed vehicle architecture.

“Nevs’ focus is to produce high quality electric vehicles with China as its initial main market. The long-term cooperation with the development area THT in Tianjin and the IT pioneer SRIT will help us achieve our vision and our goal of a global strategic presence and is an important addition to the resources we have in Trollhättan”, says Nevs president Mattias Bergman.


Additional info gleaned from TTELA, Saabtala, Pingu in comments (who should really have his own author account on this site, he’s so far ahead of me on this) and other impeccable sources such as mates on Facebook…..

The full buy-in for these partners is apparently around $200 million and they’re minority shareholders at this point. More deals are supposedly in the pipe. The first tranche of $40m has hit the bank, which is why NEVS made the announcement. That’s a wise move, but it doesn’t necessarily fill you with confidence.

As pointed out by the mate on Facebook, the $200m doesn’t limit the money NEVS might have to play with. It’s just the buy-in price that reinvigorates Kai Johan Jiang’s wardrobe after he nearly lost his shirt. The total investment these new partners make could be anything at all. They could be a bunch of whatever-it-takes types. They could be scrooges. All we know is that it looks like NEVS are heading back to focusing on EVs once again and for the sake of their business plan, that’s probably a good thing.

There’s no mention of the Saab name and there’s no mention of Mahindra, which makes me think the Saab name is now finally, completely off-limits. That’ll reduce the level of interest for some people on its own.

Of course, the whole scenario is less interesting to many, anyway. I count myself in that lot. I keep saying “this’ll be the last time I write about Saab cars” and then I keep on writing about NEVS. I think it’s just a habit now. Truth be told, my main interest is in older Saabs – the V4s, the 900 and 9000. Maybe add the first 9-3 in there as well because of the Viggen.

From what I can tell, the cars that NEVS produce will have little, if anything, in common with those vehicles that first caught the imagination of thousands around the world. There will be design and engineering activities in Trollhattan, I’m sure, but the gradual movement to a base in Tianjin feels inevitable.

As someone who’s invested a little bit of life in Trollhattan, I’m glad that this is happening for the city. If it keeps Mama Mia’s and O’Learys open so I can get some pasta or ribs when I visit, I’m all for it.

As a Saab fan…. meh. It’s still wait and see but it doesn’t feel particularly interesting at this point.

NEVS Press Conference at 11am Swedish Time

This, via Pingu, in comments…..

NEVS just announced a press conference at 11 AM CEST (90 minutes from now), where they will present their plan to be “successful manufacturer of electric cars” and two new Chinese partners.

No Mahindra then (something I suspected long ago)… Will be interesting to see if this is the final deal.

No Mahindra could mean the use of the Saab name has been denied. If that’s the case, it’ll reduce interest for a lot of observers.

We wait and see……

Video: Saab 96 on For The Love Of Cars

I’ve just finished watching this episode of For The Love Of Cars and I just had to share it here. It’s a great story, but even more than that, it’s a great little Saab 96.

There’s a bit of a story to this. The program you’re about to see was aired on Channel 4 in Britain last Sunday. The auction you see in the video was actually conducted back in January, but the day before the show went on TV (i.e. last Saturday), the car was auctioned once again.

The reasons behind all this back-and-forth become clear at the end of the show and it’s a touching story. I haven’t been able to find the price from last weekend’s auction but hopefully it’ll become public soon.

About the car – it’s a basic Saab 96 from the early 70’s but it wins the boys over completely with its engineering and its charm. It made my want to go hunt one down, actually.

The program goes for 50 minutes. Enjoy.

2015 Picnic At Ross

Every year on the third Sunday in May, there’s a car show called the Picnic At Ross. Ross is a lovely little town, 120km north of Hobart. It’s full of character with its shops and cafes, all of them old buildings made of timber or sandstone.

The car show is held at the sports grounds on the outskirts of town. Ross is a more central town in geographic terms, and that means it attracts cars from both the north and the south of the state, which is great for hermits like me who don’t travel north very often.


The meet was probably 50% Ford and Holden but as usual, you won’t see many of those here. OK, maybe a few Fords. For some reason, I ended up shooting mostly Citroens today. Maybe it’s because they’re so damn interesting.

To the photos!

If I showed you a big Maserati V6……


….followed by a series of green spheres……


….you’d probably know what model car I was talking about…. IF you’re a car person.

Yes, it’s a Citroen with a Maserati engine, the mighty Citroen SM.


I didn’t even know we had a Citroen SM in Tasmania and to my surprise, this one lives in the south of the state. Apparently it’s the only one in Tassie.

This SM is one of 300 made for the British market, all of which were LHD. Its current fine state reflects a wonderful restoration done some years ago. It had presence to die for, both inside and out.

I loved the gear change setup. It’s almost as sexy as the traditional steel-gate setup from the days when Ferraris had manual shifters.


The previous owner had an engine fire shortly after a rebuild was completed. He installed an under-bonnet fire system, operated by this eye-opener of a button.



I’m not sure what was going on with this early 1960’s Ford Falcon but it was interesting, to say the least.




It was nice to see this Porsche 924 Turbo at the show. It’s the first one I’ve seen in Tasmania. The 931 and 932 are slowly, slowly creeping up in value.




This BMW 2800CS lives in the south. I’ve photographed it a few times at Classics but even so, I couldn’t walk away from it today. Its lines are so beautiful. Sadly, like a LOT of cars today, its windows were closed and I couldn’t get a good shot of the interior.





The Citroen guys love to show off their hydraulics. This DS had the jack inserted underneath and the rear guard removed, simulating a rear wheel change. It was just for effect, though.



One of my mates from Club Motori Italia had his new-to-him Citroen CX Pallas at the picnic today. It’s a great story, too. The car owes him about $400 – in total – and as you can see it doesn’t look too shabby at all. It had been sitting idle for years when he picked it up for a pittance but with a fresh battery and some fresh fuel, it started right up. The hydraulics are fine, too.

I sat inside the car to take a few of these photos and the seats are soooooo cushy. I’d love to take it for a drive one day.


I have another shot of this Ferrari Testarossa – a shot where I’m not getting photobombed – but I couldn’t resist this one.

Well played, Sir.


And a few detail shots, for fun…..





Some detail shots of (what I think is) a delightful Citroen Traction Avant. There are a few photographic sins present in these shots. Please forgive.






A couple of the Lotuses present at the show today……




OK, I photographed one Holden today. But only one 🙂

I’m actually somewhat partial to these early Commodores. This VC model from 1980-81 has got some livery from HDT, which was Holden’s hot version back in the day.



The Leyland P76 is a car with a chequered history. It won the Australian Car Of The Year award when it was released as a rival to family cars from Ford, Holden and Valiant in 1973. Reliability problems and the 70’s oil crisis meant it had a short life but it still has a very loyal band of devotees today. One of my uncles has 3 or 4 of them stowed away in a shed.


Check the funky upholstery….


One of the P76’s claims to fame was a boot so big it could accommodate a 44-gallon drum (with room to spare) – something ably demonstrated by one owner at the show today…..



Another Citroen study….. this time a very cute 2CV Dolly.


I love these early Porsches. This one’s a 911T with the 2.2 litre flat-six.




Cars on show at the Picnic at Ross are supposed to be at least 20 years old. I don’t think anyone could conceive of turning away a sexy new F-Type Jaguar, though.


The F-Type was parked amongst the main group of cars. The Jaguar owners club didn’t want to be seen with the riff-raff, however. They parked about 100 meters away from the main group.

Given this silly level of snobbery, I limited myself to only one photo from their group – shot of my favourite classic Jag from their collection – a Series 1 XJ.






Porsche Spyder replica…..





And a couple more Fords…..

There were a LOT of Mustangs here today. They’re exciting to look at, but I have a feeling they’d be a bit of a pig to drive.



There were quite a few small Fords there today, too. The early Cortinas are always a favourite and I have a feeling this would be more fun to drive than the big Mustang.



Friday Night Snippets – NEVS, Spyker, Prices, Fiat Parkour

It’s been exactly one month since NEVS exited bankruptcy protection in Sweden. I expected that we would have heard something about a new majority shareholder by now. But no. Not a peep.

I have no news. I just want to mark the one-month anniversary. How long can they keep …. doing nothing?


Speaking of bankruptcy….

There’s news out of Holland saying that Spyker has reached an agreement with creditors that might see the company exit it’s stint in bankruptcy protection.

Spyker, which applied for voluntary financial restructuring last year, is proposing to pay each creditor the first €12,000 ($13,681) of what it owes plus just 10% of the remainder.

Creditors have agreed to the proposal, which must have hurt but it’s better than getting nothing at all.

That’ll be one hurdle overcome. The next hurdle will be securing enough funding to actually start building cars again. I’d still love to see that B6 Venator get built. It was a beautiful looking car.

Good luck, Vic.


Speaking of Spyker….

A story popped up on my news feed through the week about a Koenigsegg Agera up for sale in China.

I was drawn to the photo because of the Agera, of course, but then I looked at the car to the left, in the reflection. And I smiled.



For the Love of Cars is a TV show about cars on Channel 4 in the UK. They restore cars and then sell them on at auction.

This Sunday, if you’ve got access to Channel 4, you can see them restore the Saab 96, below.

Saab 96 For The Love Of Cars.

They estimate a sale price between £12,000 and £18,000. That seems a little steep to me but I hope they get it. The car was first sold back in January and the buyer has decided to sell it on, with the proceeds to be donated to charity. A fine gesture.

The car will be auctioned on Saturday 16th May and the program showing its restoration will be shown at 8pm in Sunday 17th May.

More details here.


Back when the GFC started taking hold, the Aussie dollar rose sharply against the greenback and actually stayed around parity for a considerable time. Carmakers took several years to drop their prices here in Australia, however.

Now that the Aussie dollar has fallen a bit, they’re wasting no time in raising their prices again.

The Australian dollar’s continued downward spiral relative to the greenback has forced Fiat Chrysler Australia to raise the price of six models in its stable, delivering increases of up to 4.9 per cent.

The price rises, officially introduced in March, affect the Abarth 595, Alfa Romeo MiTo, Dodge Journey, Fiat Freemont, and Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee line-ups, with increases ranging from $500 to $2000.


Software companies.

And now carmakers.

Bastards, the lot of them!


I don’t know what this is selling – Fiat 500’s or the physical jerks* otherwise known as Parkour.

Whatever it is, I like it.


Thanks to all for your advice/thoughts about photography gear. As a quick follow-up…..

I recently bought both a 70-200mm VR II and a 105mm Macro to go with my existing 50mm f1.8 and my 16-35mm f2.8. I got them from sellers on Ebay, both lenses are in great condition and I paid about half of retail.

My new kit will get a decent first workout at the end of next week. It should be a truckload of fun!


* “physical jerks” was my Dad’s phrase for Aerobics back in the 80’s. My Mum used to do three classes a night.

Me: “Where’s Mum?”

Dad: “Off doing her physical jerks”

I still love that term.

#Auspol – Budget Schmudget

Hey Australia!

For the last couple of years we’ve had a budget emergency. We’ve been living amongst a debt and deficit disaster – we know this because Tony and Joe told us – and if you didn’t agree with Sweaty Joe’s plans to fix it, then you were stealing from your children. You heartless bastards!

But hey, that was 2014. It’s 2015 now. Relax. Have a cigar. There’s nothing to worry about. Tony and Joe told us so. The 2014 budget fixed everything (even though most of it is still stuck in the Senate 12 months later).

Abbott HockeyLook how relaxed they are…..

Red vs Blue

Last night’s federal budget was a soft, toasty marshmallow of a document that was designed to do one thing, and one thing only – protect the jobs of the men who constructed it. It was a document designed to offend no-one (that matters) and postpone any real decisions until after the next election, an election that many are now predicting will come early given that Sweaty Joe and Tony The Smirk have buttered up their base with this financial fig leaf.

If you’re a Lefty, like me, then you’re likely to be completely nonplussed by last night’s mini-drama. The outrage from 2014 remains. The Coalition still wants to Americanise our higher education sector. They maintain their abandonment of the Gonski reforms. The reduction in pensions might have been stared down, along with the Medicare co-payment, but don’t fool yourself into thinking these are done and dusted. They’re merely on hold until the coalition wins the next election.

It’s a positive that they want to boost childcare but note that this measure, which will primarily benefit wealthier families, is meant to be propped up by taking Family Tax Benefits away from lower-income families. It’s the same old story – belt the little guys in order to prop up the big end of town and disguise it with words like ‘incentive’ and ‘aspiration’.

If you’re a right-winger then you should be more concerned than I am.

Tony and Joe have done more flips and twists in the last 12 months than Greg Louganis did in his whole career and this budget might just be the biggest yet. The iron-clad commitment to fiscal consolidation and budget repair is out the window. The gilt-edged PPL scheme that Tony didn’t believe in, then believed in fiercely through two election campaigns, then abandoned, is now a target for savings. The Minister For Women is no longer offering ladies $75,000 a year to look after their sprogs. Now he’s ripping money away from them and accusing them of double dipping if they argue!

But all’s not lost for the tax-averse.

Like Peter Costello in the Howard, era, Tony and Joe are still looking for ways to feather their voters’ nests. Costello gave the people capital gains relief and the baby bonus. Tony and Joe are offering $20K in open-slather business writeoffs and no meaningful action on tax reform at the top end of the scale – despite it being the topic of plenty of conversation.

You think that $20K business writeoff isn’t going to be rorted? Check it out:


Cars, vans, utes, trailers, motorbikes, lawnmowers, ovens, fridges, coffee machines, other machinery, kitchens, tables and chairs, carpets, printers, photocopiers, tools, welding equipment, saws, generators, pumps, solar panels, heating, hot water units, water tanks, airconditioning units, sound and security systems, computers – any item used for running the business – will be 100 per cent tax deductible.

I think PJ Paintings might need a welder and a new sound system, actually…..

Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong

As mentioned at the opening, an $18billion deficit was considered to be a budget emergency by this mob back in 2013. Since then, the deficit has more than doubled under Sweaty Joe and this tough-talking Treasurer has effectively pushed his credible path back to surplus out another year – and even that is based on some very optimistic assumptions about future economic growth.

The truth is that this budget, like this government, is all about optics. It’s all about the message. The spin doctors haven’t worked so hard since Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong. It’s all there for you to see. From Tony Abbott’s Real Solutions booklet to his three-word slogans. The Coalition spent all of the last parliament creating a narrative about a fictitious problem that only they could fix. It worked like a charm, too, which is why they’ll do it again before the next election.

Spin examples?

The pillaging of a tertiary education system that works very well for the vast majority of people is OK if it’s presented as ‘opening up our universities to be more internationally competitive’. Providing a great and affordable education to everyone at home is less important than providing the best possible education to anyone who can afford to pay. Educating the masses is effective, but boring. Educating at the highest possible level? That’s something you can pin streamers and balloons to.

Climate change is another area the right wing should be angry about. Why on earth is the Coalition spending a couple of billion in taxpayer dollars to prop up a Direct Action plan when no-one in the Coalition actually believes in the science of climate change? It’s the ultimate appeasement measure.

And by-the-by, the true right-wing denialist approach to climate change is the ultimate form of intergenerational theft, a buzzphrase the righties are so fond of using.

The Sad Truth

Sadly, all this spin, posturing and feather-bedding is likely to work.


It’ll work because two-thirds of our country’s newspapers are owned by News Ltd, which effectively means most of the electorate is reading the Liberal Party Newsletter everyday.

It’ll work because Labor became so self-obsessed in the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years that the Greens were able to insert themselves as a credible voting option for the progressive lefty.

It’ll work because Labor’s current messages are only half defined and rendered ineffective by their poor delivery.

Most of all, it’ll work because the Labor Party has a lettuce leaf of a leader who seems incapable of landing a meaningful blow against even the easiest and most obvious of targets.