Selfie Snippets – NEW CAR, Shannons Show, Alfa Sprint @ Hemmings

Forgive the self-indulgent nature of this post, but I have a few localised and personal updates to share here.


Shannons Car Show THIS SUNDAY

This Sunday is the first Sunday in a new month and as such, I’d normally be at Classics By The Beach in Sandy Bay.

However, this Sunday is also the date for the Shannons classic car show on the lawns adjoining Rosny College, on Hobart’s eastern shore. So if you’re in Tasmania and planning to go to Classics on Sunday, bear in mind that attendance there is likely to be lower than normal as a lot of the usual suspects will head over the river for the Shannons Show.

X marks the spot….



Alfa Sprint @ Hemmings

My cup of gratitude overflows for the kindness shown to me by the people at Hemmings in accepting an article I submitted on my Alfa Romeo Sprint. It’s been published on the Hemmings Blog today and I hope you have some time to check it out at the following link:

Driving a slow car fast: The Alfa Romeo Sprint and the “Top Gear Theory”

Many thanks to Mark M for the introduction and advice along the way. It was a wonderful exercise.


My thanks also to Stu the Lens Genius for making that photo what it is.


Porsche 928 S

Yes, I’ve done it again. My latest acquisition is a 1985 Porsche 928S in navy blue.



I spent last weekend (and a few days more) flying to Queensland and then driving the car some 2500kms back to Tasmania.

I’d hoped to do an epic article about the trip home, but Mother Nature interfered and drowned my plans. Just as I was flying into Queensland, a cat-5 tropical cyclone named Marcia was making landfall about 500kms north of Brisbane. The resulting rainfall was widespread and constant. The following photo sums up about 70% of my drive:


Now that the car is home, I’ll get it registered here and then cleaned up for some beauty shots. Articles will follow, natch….

NEVS News – Proposal For Debt Reduction

I’m about to jump on a plane and into the eye of a storm – beware women named Marcia! – but I have to post the following, which came out just a few hours ago. Thanks to Pingu for posting it in comments and to those who emailed it to me:


A composition to get Nevs out of reorganisation

National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, Nevs, provides unsecured creditors a composition proposal in order to exit the reorganisation. It creates the conditions for completion of ongoing negotiations with two major OEMs and the implementation of a new business plan together with partners and owners. Nevs’ owners and management has noted the difficulty of completing this type of complex negotiations during a reorganisation and the risk premium it implies. The current negotiations, together with two major OEMs, are mainly focused on two tracks that are complementing each other. One is to form a technical joint venture company in Trollhättan and the other is to introduce a new majority owner in Nevs, with the plan of making Saab cars a global premium product.

– The negotiations are progressing but we also see the complication of reaching an agreement when we are in a state of reorganisation. Our main owner has single-handedly financed the reorganisation and intends to get us out of it. In order for this to be possible financially, we need to reach a composition arrangement with the creditors, says Nevs CEO, Mattias Bergman.

The composition proposal includes a composition of 50 percent for unsecured creditors on claims over 500’000 SEK. Meaning that from a total of 573 creditors 469 will get their full claim paid, and 104 creditors will have their claims above 500’000 SEK reduced by 50 percent.

– Provided that Nevs’ composition proposal is accepted, it is my judgment that the prerequisites are favorable to also reach an agreement with a financially strong OEM, and thereby enabling a continued business potential for the creditors. With this said, it is my opinion that accepting the composition proposal is advantageous for the creditors. The alternative of a liquidation would likely result in a lower dividend several years later, says the Administrator, Attorney Lars Eric Gustafsson, Hamilton Law Firm.

All creditors are invited to an information meeting at Nevs in Trollhättan on 26 February.


Good news, yes?

Commentary will have to wait. Marcia’s expecting me….

Nissan FulviaSilvia

I think I’ve just found the Japanese version of the Lancia Fulvia!!

Spotted via Bring-A-Trailer, this is a Nissan Silvia from 1965. Just 554 of these were hand-made over a four year period. It was powered by a 1.6 litre, inline 4-cylinder engine making just 96hp.

The car is for sale in Japan for around $20,000 (which is reasonable value for a pretty little car, I reckon).

It’s been said that Asian carmakers don’t mind imitating designs by other manufacturers and that’s arguably been the case when these companies are just starting to break into western markets. It’s one less hurdle for a new player to jump over.

So did Nissan pinch a few cues from Lancia’s little Italian coupe from the 1960’s?

I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, but the similarities are right here for you to see. The twin headlamps and horizontal grille are similar, but punctuated by a sharper point in the middle on the Nissan.

Nissan Silvia 1


What’s most striking is the roofline and the B-pillar, which are remarkably similar. The rear is quite different.

Nissan Silvia 2


The reason I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt?

The Silvia was made from the mid-1960’s. The Series 2 Fulvia, which bears the closest resemblance, arrived about 5 years later. Nissan might have copied the B-pillar design but were ahead on the front end.

Maybe the designers at Lancia copied the Silvia for the Series 2 front end??? :-)

High Milers – Porsche 928GT

Here are a couple of questions for you…..

What’s the highest mileage car you’ve ever bought?

And would you take a high-mile classic car over a garage queen? At what price?

I check a lot of different vehicles online and I was struck by this one earlier today. It’s a Porsche 928 GT from 1990.



Is the 928 a classic?

….. I hear you ask.

Well, it depends on your opinion of the 928, but it’s definitely old enough to be considered as a young classic. Bear in mind that it’s nearly 40 years since the 928 was first shown at Geneva Motor Show in 1977 and it went on sale later the same year.

This 928GT is for sale for the princely sum of A$35,000 and you’re probably thinking that’s a very optimistic price. BUT….. a good 928S from the mid-80’s can sell for up to $20K here, a good 928S4 can sell for up to $30K so it’s not totally unreasonable to see a 928GT going for $35,000.

This particular 928GT, however, has over 400,000kms on it. So while the GT is a higher spec model and $35K isn’t beyond the realms of possibility, you’d normally expect to see half that number of kilometers on it.

But that brings me back to the question – would you take a high mileage classic car over a garage queen?

In the 928’s case, I would. The 928’s V8 is almost military grade in terms of build quality. You don’t have to search far on the 928 forums to find examples with significantly more than 500,000kms with no signs of ageing when their engines have been opened up. If the maintenance has been done on time, there should be no problems with a car like this.

On the other hand, a garage queen that gets driven once every three months (if you count “driven” to mean driving on to a trailer to get towed to a car show) is more likely to give you all sorts of issues due to seals and gaskets being dried up.

I guess it all comes down to whether you like to drive your interesting car, or have it pristine for people to appreciate. Neither option is right or wrong. They’re just options.

What’s the highest mileage car you’ve ever bought?

And would you take a high-mile classic car over a garage queen? At what price?

Saab Snippets – 100 Cars and Saab = ANA

Saab and ANA

Well, hasn’t there been some hoo-haa in the last few days, eh?

There was an article posted at Saabs United, written by Jorgen Trued, with a sensational headline saying “ANA Group Takes Down The Saab Flag!” (now changed) and it caused a reasonable sized storm in a teacup.

The claim – based on unlinked stories at TTELA and Swedish Radio – was that ANA were letting a number of people go (true) and the inference in the headline, and the included editorial, was that ANA would let their Saab business die (untrue).

“Today, the ANA Group’s connection to Saab is over”, it said.

Thankfully, a few other websites actually sought comment from ANA’s Joachim Lind and published the real story. I contacted Joachim tonight, to ask some questions myself and he simply pointed me to, which was carrying his key quote.

ANA will keep the SAAB flag high for as long as there is a single SAAB left on the face of this planet. ANA is SAAB

Saabtala also did the right thing and sought a direct comment:

We have not taken down any SAAB flags but are infact in talks to buy some of the newly completed SAAB 9-3 Aeros from NEVS

ANA’s Saab business is less than what it was. We all know that. ANA is selling other brands now and quite appropriately, they’re giving marketing resources, showroom space and service space to those brands. That’s business. That Saab might be taking a back seat is perfectly understandable. To suggest they’re going to stop servicing the Saabs in their considerable local market(s) is more than just a little stretch of the truth, however. It always smelled a bit fishy.

So what’s the lesson here?

I editorialised plenty in my days writing about Saab. Editorials should be confined to opinions, however. If you’re going to include facts, confirm them. If you’re going to include a statement as definitive as “Today, the ANA Group’s connection to Saab is over”, make sure you get your story straight. If it means you’ve got to delay publishing your article while you wait for someone to call back, so be it.

The choice is pretty simple – confirm the facts and print the right story, or go out on a limb and look like a hero (if you’re right) or a knob (if you’re wrong).

Saabs United is a good website. Stuff like this is beneath them.

And well done to Saabtala and!


Those 100 cars NEVS are ‘building’

Time for my own mea culpa

My opinion on NEVS has been pretty harsh for some time now, so when I read that they were completing 100 cars on the production line, I wondered why. And I wondered why in no uncertain terms:

I’m a little perplexed as to why they’ll spend money and time building more cars that are highly unlikely to sell.

The source stories online were a little mischievous in that they led readers to believe that production lines would be rolling again, etc. This was my main beef – why spend money on production staff to build 100 cars that were likely to be a very tough sell?

I’ve since had some contact with NEVS and found out the following in relation to this story:

  • It’s not a production re-start. The 100 cars are simply those that were completed and remained at NEVS. They were intended for China, but stayed in Sweden because the Qingdao deal fell through.
  • There will be a little work needed before they can sell them in Sweden (the cars were made for the Chinese market) but the work does not mean a production line re-start in any way.
  • As you can see from the quote from Joachim Lind, dealers in Sweden are already interested in taking the cars on.
  • The sales will raise some cash, which can go to reduce finance obligations and interest payments.
  • The cars will be sold as MY2014 vehicles but will carry a suitable discount to reflect this.

So there you go. It makes more sense than I first thought as there’s already interest in them and far less work involved in preparing them than was first hinted at.

Mea Culpa.

Australia Will Be At Eurovision 2015!!!!!!!!!!!!


It’s just been announced that Australia has been awarded a wildcard entry into Eurovision 2015!!!!

How did this happen, you ask?


We’re going to Eurovision, baby!

Eurovision has grown in popularity every year here in Australia and we send a TV crew to Europe every year to cover the event. Last year, we were invited to provide a non-competitive performer for the contest. A little light entertainment. Jessica Mauboy took on that role and did well.

But now we’re actually in the contest itself. AND we get to vote!!!

All this begs the question – who will represent Australia at Eurovision?

Sadly, it seems that we don’t get a public vote on the matter. SBS Television are going to pick the artist themselves.

For what it’s worth, however, here are my nominations. You can figure out for yourself which ones are tongue in cheek and which ones are real (if any).

Douze points

Akka Dakka playing pretty much anything!!

Australia should get the CSIRO working on a way to reanimate Bon Scott so that he can strut the stage in Austria and bring the contest back to Festival Hall in Melbourne.

What would be better than a zombie Bon Scott singing If You Want Blood – or anything, really – at Eurovision?

Nothing. That’s what.

Dix points

Painters & Dockers – Nude School

From 1987. Pigs and nudity. It’d probably be more appropriate if Eurovision was being held in France, but Austria will have to do.

Huit points

Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know

Gotye would make a decent representative, though he’d have to come up with something new – and quick. If he can do something that went this big, it’d be huge.

Sept points

Midnight Oil – Power & The Passion

OK, so the Oils might be a little too serious for something as fun as Eurovision, but Peter Garrett’s dancing would go down a treat for the theatrics.

Six points

Joe Dolce – Shaddap You Face

Maybe it’s time Australia gave something back to Europe? This actually went to #1 in 15 countries around the world. Believe it or not.

Cinq points

Kylie Minogue – Spinning Around

The singing budgie is an Australian icon. Even if we can’t get her to do a reunion gig with Jason Donovan, a Kylie solo gig should be enough to secure the win.

Quatre points

Paul Kelly – Every F’n City

It’s way too melancholy for Eurovision, but why not share every 20-something Aussie tourist’s recollection of their gap year in Europe?

Language warning…..

Trois points

Men At Work – Land Downunder

Re-releasing this for Eurovision would be an obvious choice if you’re after Australian kitsch, but I’ll let you in on a secret…… most Aussies are really, really sick of it. The exceptions are few – when you’re overseas and a little homesick, when you’re drunk at a party (also preferably overseas), or in celebration of an Australian win at some big international contest.

Eurovision would fit this list of exceptions perfectly.

Deux points

Olivia Newton-John – Physical

Admit it, you’d love to see this re-created. You just would.

Un point

Sia – Chandelier

The sensible choice for being current, for musical quality and theatrics. But who wants sensible?

With apologies to Cold Chisel, Farnesy, Guy Sebastian, Dennis Walter and a re-animated Peter Allen, the last of whom would simply be too big, even for a contest like Eurovision.

#Auspol – The Ballad Of Tony Abbott

Politically speaking, our Prime Minister is now regarded as a dead man walking. There was a motion to spill the top leadership positions in the Liberals’ party room on Monday. It was moved by a couple of disaffected backbenchers sick to the mayhem at the top levels of the government.

40% of Tony Abbott’s party voted against his leadership – and that was without an alternative leader being nominated. It was Tony vs no-one and no-one got 40% of the vote. And given that his ministers were more-or-less bound by tradition to support him, that number actually rises to 67% disapproval amongst those who had a ‘free’ vote.

Nobody believes that he can recover from this. The next federal election is in 18 months time. Abbott’s approval rating is a deep minus and the party faithful who elected him as leader are all scared of losing their seats. They want a leader that doesn’t treat them like poop and a leader that won’t make them so unappealing that they’ll lose their seats. That leader is no longer considered to be Tony Abbott and the sooner they replace him, the sooner a new leader can build a policy platform capable of reinvigorating the government’s chances of re-election.

So why is Abbott so unpopular? Why has the man who united the conservatives in opposition become such a toe-rag of a Prime Minister?

He Only Knows How To Oppose

I think Tony Abbott’s effectiveness as an opposition leader in the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd era is a little overblown. He was opposition leader against one of the most dysfunctional governments in history, remember. Labor’s implosion was a 50/50 mix of self-harm and effective opposition.

But Tony Abbott is unique in that he is an opposition specialist, which is fine when you’re in opposition. The problem is that he’s now Prime Minister, which means he actually has to govern. He’s like the dog who finally caught the car he’s been chasing – he doesn’t know what to do with it.

Abbott did an interview with Leigh Sales on 7:30 last night and she asked him a very simple question – who are you? We’ve seen Junkyard Dog Tony, the attempted PM Tony and now he’d like us to think he’s a new Collegial Tony. Who is he? Abbott’s answer was telling. He rambled for a few minutes saying nothing in particular and then concluded with something to the effect of “I’m not the Labor Party”.

That’s all he’s got. When you define yourself purely by something you’re not, you’re kidding yourself.

A couple of other recent quotes-of-note are interesting, too:

“I’m terrible at fighting the Liberal Party (referring to the spill motion that threatened to depose him) but I’m a specialist at fighting the Labor Party and I can beat (Labor leader) Bill Shorten”

“I was given a strong message yesterday. If we focus on Labor we can win the next election. If not, we lose”

No. A thousand times, No.

The message was that you have to lead the government in a positive way and actually come up with workable policy that you can pass into legislation. The message was that your backbench is sick of your authoritarian Chief-of-Staff, sick of being trodden on instead of listened to and sick of hearing from their constituents about your stupid “Captain’s Picks” (see below).

If the message Tony Abbott took was that he has to focus on Labor, then he learned absolutely nothing this week. If that’s his strategy, then we can all look forward to another 18 months of a government still acting like it’s in opposition.

Permission and Forgiveness

When Abbott took over the Liberal leadership in 2009, he famously announced to his party room that the conservatives under his leadership were going to propose a generous paid parental leave scheme. It would be funded by a levy imposed on big business and would allow a half-year’s salary to be paid up to a value of $75,000.

Predictably, the policy went down like a lead balloon. Conservatives were outraged a) because of the hit imposed on business, b) because they’re anti-tax in any form, and c) because this was an Abbott thought-bubble imposed on them from on high without any consultation.

This is the first of Tony Abbott’s “Captain’s Picks” – decisions from on high that are justified for no other reason that he’s the leader and what he says, goes.

After the initial furore, Abbott gave a quote that bears remembering whenever he’s delivering one of his carefully crafted, “on-message” speeches. He said that “sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than it is to seek permission” – a quote that sums the man up nicely. It’s OK to abuse your power, to kick who you want to kick, do what you want to do. Afterwards, you rely on the healing power of time and a little wordsmithing to seek forgiveness from those you’ve abused.

It’s all in their best interests, after all. Right?

Lies, and then lies about lies

The Liberal Party were so clued-in to the lies being told by Tony Abbott that they went ahead and registered to prevent any opposition parties getting hold of it.

Smart politicking? Sure.

Shameful that they’d need to at all? Absolutely.

The big shame in all of this is that the lies have become so blatant, so commonplace, that interviewers don’t even pull people up on these lies anymore. Or they let an interviewee obfuscate to the point that the audience will have forgotten what the question was.

Here are a few examples.

“No cuts to health, no cuts to education, no cuts to pensions, no cuts to the ABC or SBS and no change to the GST” – All of these have either been cut or proposed for cuts/changes. Every single on of them. There’s a lie. Abbott likes to justify these broken promises by saying that the budget was in worse condition than the Libs thought……

“When we took over, we found the budget had a $30 billion black hole that Labor had hidden from us” – No they hadn’t. It was right there in the pre-election fiscal outlook (PEFO). Lying about lying.

“There will be no deals with independents and minor parties” – He said this because the last government was formed from a hung parliament and deals had to be done. Since then he’s done deals with Clive Palmer, Ricky Muir and other minor players in order to enact or repeal the few bits of legislation the government has actually tried to action (there haven’t been that many).

“We are a unity ticket when it comes to Gonski (education funding). Schools will get the same under a Liberal government as what they would under Labor” – ….except the Libs have cut the all-important years 5 and 6 from Gonski funding. So no.

There are so many more…..

And more….

I could write more but just like Tony Abbott, I’m running out time.

Here’s a few more to round out the list:

The world’s worst budget – we’re 9 months on from the most toxic budget in Australia’s history and much of the 2014 budget is still in limbo. It’ll likely be in limbo when Sweaty Joe delivers the 2015 budget.

The Iron Lady – The PM’s Chief-of-Staff, Peta Credlin, has rarely given an interview or even a quote to the press and yet she’s more well known than most of the government backbenchers. This is because of her iron-fisted control over all sorts of things that many think would be better left to elected people.

He can’t negotiate – It’s so ingrained in Tony Abbott that he’s right and everyone else is wrong that he’s in the unenviable position of being unable to get much legislation passed at all. Even Julia Gillard managed to get over 600 pieces of legislation through a hung parliament. Politics is supposed to be the art of the possible. Abbott’s turning it into an exhibition of the impossible.

Parrot-fashion messaging – People are starting to understand now that you can’t govern by three-word phrases. They’re good for sticking your message in people’s head, but eventually you will be weighed by what you do, rather than just what you say. And people get sick of hearing every politician roll out the exact same phrase in every interview. It makes it patently obvious that the media training consultants are earning their considerable keep in a big, big way. If we wanted a parrot for PM, we would have elected Alan Jones.

He fiddles with the truth – 1 – “We have fundamentally kept faith with the Australian people”. Ah, for the good old days of John Howard’s “core and non-core promises”.

He fiddles with the truth – 2 – All this talk about things like “the biggest deficit in Australia’s history” and other such things. Look, Australia is growing, just like you as an individual, are growing. My annual salary is the biggest it’s ever been. Our country’s population is the biggest it’s ever been. Our GDP is the biggest it’s ever been. Our capacity to repay debt is the biggest it’s ever been. It’s called growth, OK.

He has no vision – You want to talk about debt? Firstly, a country’s budget isn’t the same as a household budget. Countries don’t die, for starters. A Prime Minister with vision instead of pure ideology would realise that now is the perfect time to actually use borrowed money to build money-making assets and infrastructure. Debt is the cheapest it’s ever been (not fiddling with the truth there) with interest rates at around 2%. You want to actually BE the infrastructure Prime Minister instead of just talking about it? Quit your ideology and focus on the economics.

Beware The 40-something Distracted Mother!

Friday, 5pm.

I was in my Alfa Sprint waiting to turn right at a T-intersection just near my house. I was waiting because a blue Mitsubishi was coming from my left along the street I wanted to turn into. The blue Mitsubishi has it’s right-turn indicator on. She’s going to turn into the street where I’m T-intersectionwaiting.

I’m the orange car and she’s the green one in the diagram to the right.

Suddenly, she’s heading straight for me! She’s cutting the corner and obviously hasn’t seen me! There’s absolutely nothing I can do as her Mitsubishi badge is heading straight for my RHS headlights. It happened so suddenly, so innocuously and there’s no time to reach for the horn in the Alfa.

Thankfully, she finally sees me and comes to a halt. She’s just inches from the front of my car. There’s nobody behind me so I back up to give her room to go around. Her window goes down as she draws up next to me and she’s extremely apologetic. She has a pre-teen in the front and a smaller kid in the back.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened. I must have been in another world!”

In my head, I’m nodding furiously and shaking fists in her general direction. In real life, there’s no damage done and she’s been very conciliatory straight away, so I just smile.

“No problem”, I say. “Everything’s OK.”

We go our separate ways.

I’ve only had the car registered for a week and already it was nearly taken from me! I count my blessings as I pull up at home.

Saturday (today), 7:30pm

I’ve just called in to our local shopping centre. Chicken potato chips and a Coke. Nothing unusual. The Sprint is gleaming in the car park as I’d just washed it in preparation for a small photo session I planned for the next morning (Mark McC, take note :-) )

I reversed out of my parking spot and I was changing out of reverse gear when I saw a red object, car sized, moving towards me. It was the lady who had parked on the other side of the car park and she’s reversing out of her spot – right towards my front RHS guard and wheel!

This time I had just a second longer so I thrust my arm out to the centre of my steering wheel to sound my horn and let her know I was there.

This was not the best time to learn that the Alfa Romeo Sprint’s horn operates not via the central pad on the steering wheel, but via one of the stalks on the steering column :-(

Her red Ford Focus proceeded at a slow pace to meet with my RHS front guard. A very small amount of damage is done, which I’m mightily annoyed about because while it might be my cheap, fun car, the body was accident-free and dent-free and that’s no longer the case now. I do want it fixed but I’ll be relying on her to some degree to do the right thing and lodge a claim with her insurer. My insurer won’t do anything as I only have this car covered for third-party damage. I’ll be contacting her insurer first thing Tuesday morning (Monday’s a public holiday here).

My tiny bit of damage, that I DO want fixed.


Just like the previous lady, this one was a 40-something mother with two kids in the car. What do 40-something mothers have against Alfa Romeo Sprints??!!

Interestingly, her Focus has both a backup camera AND parking sensors and yet the car gave her no warning that I was there as she reversed towards me. And as you can see from the white paint I left on her car, the parking sensor is right near one of the white patches.


She made a point of mentioning all the technology in the car that should have helped her avoid this incident and it got me wondering about whether people rely on this technology too much. I’ve often thought that too much tech makes people a bit lazy about the old-fashioned manual checks they should do when they’re driving. Today’s incident doesn’t do much to dispel the theory.

So that’s two 40-somethings ladies. One hit. One miss.

I’m getting a little fearful of taking the car out at all now. Sure, it’s small, but I didn’t think it was that small.

Saab Snippets – Wallenberg, Mahindra, Production.

New Saabs?!

There was news today that Saabs will be rolling off the production line again soon. Yes, really.

NEVS is going to finish off the 100 or so cars that were left incomplete when production halted in 2014. NEVS registered just 264 cars last year in total, and most of those were company testers and dealer demonstrators, so I’m a little perplexed as to why they’ll spend money and time building more cars that are highly unlikely to sell.

Note: they’ll be 2014 models, even though they’ll be built in 2015.

Then again, there’s very little that NEVS has done in the last few years that’s made much sense to me. Add this latest news to a very long list of head-snappers.


The Deal

The same stories in the Swedish press today also mention that The Deal is ongoing and NEVS are likely going to have to seek another extension when their Reconstruction period expires at the beginning of March.

Naming rights are still the issue, presumably. And suppliers.

The following is mentioned in TTELA:

There is a critical piece. It’s part of the whole, we have a brand that must be loaded with quality products that must be designed and built here in Trollhättan. You can not take a bite, it’s a package deal to the prospective new principal owner.

If Saab’s going to continue as something interesting (IMHO) then being Swedish is core to its character. That a potential new owner cares about this is encouraging.

Don’t hold your breath. Watch this space. Etc.


Peter Wallenberg

The Wallenberg family are big players in the Swedish business world and were crucial in the birth of Saab. Although Investor AB parted ways with Saab Automobile some time ago, the car company they helped begin still occupies a place in the family’s heart. After all, it was the Wallenbergs who stepped in to help ensure the Saab Museum’s future when the museum cars were about to be sold to the highest bidder, back in 2012.

Peter Wallenberg died recently, aged 88. He was particularly fond of Saabs and had been photographed arriving in them at many official and social events over the years.

TTELA tells the story of the phone call made by the family to Peter Backstrom at the Saab Museum. Their father’s final journey had to be in a Saab.

Back in 2009, I visited ANA Specialbilar in Trollhattan and they were building a customised Saab 9-3 hearse. It’s the only one of it’s kind, apparently.


Peter Backstrom got in touch with the funeral home and the car was prepared and driven to Stockholm for the ceremony.

Wallenberg funeral

Vale, Peter ‘Pirre’ Wallenberg.

Thanks for your contribution to the rich history of Saab Automobile.

Classics By The Beach – February 2015

A very un-Tasmanian summer Saturday full of wind and wetness had people feeling cautious about bringing their precious metal out on Sunday. The weather cleared, however, with overcast skies but only the tiniest bit of drizzle for a few minutes. Classics was ON!


Red vs Blue Maserati Ghibli SS

The car that stole the show this month was a beautiful Maserati Ghibli SS. I’ve shown this car before but this weekend saw a very special reason to photograph it anew.

This is how you’ve seen the car in previous instalments…..

Maserati Ghibli SS at Classics By The Beach, Hobart
Maserati Ghibli SS at Classics By The Beach, Hobart

Maserati Ghibli

The red looks very tidy, without a doubt.

But have a look at it now…..


The car’s undergone a recent and quite stunning restoration. The colour is called Ischia Blue and it’s the original colour the car had when it left the factory. A previous owner painted it red (hey, it’s Italian!) but I think you’ll agree that Ischia Blue lends the Maser an air of sophistication that suits it right down to the ground.


(if only we had the same sunny conditions for these photos as I had for the red one….)


The interior saw some re-trimming work, too.

I absolutely love 1960-70’s switchgear in classic black. Awesome stuff.




A few more details from this breathtaking car….






BRG Jaguar 3.8 x2

Things were so busy around this Jaguar that I couldn’t get a full frontal shot all morning. Take a close look and you can see why. It’s absolutely superb. I hadn’t seen it at Classics before (that I know of) so I don’t know if it’s a newly finished car or just new to the area. I’m sure glad it was there, though.

Check out those exhaust headers, for starters…..





Inside was just as nice, with biscuit leather and polished timber everywhere.



Parked just across the way was another Mark 2 3.8 in British Racing Green. I would have loved to get some photos inside this one, too, but it was closed up and I wasn’t sure who the owner was. It had a black interior, though, so would have been a nice contrast to see.



‘Viking’ Cortina

Same old story….. another interesting car that I didn’t get to talk to an owner about. I’d love to know the backstory on the “Los Vikingos” signage on the door.



Stripped out on the inside……




Dodge Brothers

I’m guessing mid to late 1920’s……????





I love the horns:



Ford Falcon XK

Ford wanted to build a family car for Australian conditions so they brought in an American car – the Falcon. This is an XK Falcon, which was launched here in 1960 and eventually became the stuff of legend here in Australia.


They still build Falcons today, but not for long. Production is due to end next year and may well finish sooner than that given the Falcon’s poor sales.


This restoration was finished around 6 months ago and it looks sublime. Kudos to the owner.





Jaguar E Type

A work in progress……




The rest

Hey, it may not be a bona-fide classic, but I took my Sprint down for the first time and had to get at least one photo (and having my mate Norman’s Alfa 145 there made the photo all the more worthwhile)


Future Classic?


Future Classic II?


If the number plate’s any indication, then this MGB’s as old as me. I’ve always wanted a car from the year of my birth. I’d prefer a Saab Sonett III but maybe one of these will have to do.




A magnificent Austin-Healey 100





Porsche 356 and Mazda MX-5


A beastly Jensen Interceptor


Mike’s winter car (in summer) – Volvo P1800


It’s always a pleasure to see a 308….



Triumph TR4….



A Pierce, which I know nothing about….



VW Kombi in tip-top shape, looking great with Porsche Fuchs wheels….


Will the BRZ be a future classic? Hmmmm….


MG in track trim….


Morris Minor, which looked cuter than a sack full of puppies as it was driving in :-)