The Saab Story – Wait, It’s Not Over Yet..!

January 4, 2012

After reporting on the demise of Saab 2 weeks ago following the GM squashing of the Chinese attempt, which in-turn spiraled Saab into bankruptcy, it appears that there might be a flicker (or two) of hope for the Swedish concern… Or it could just be an inevitable picking-of-the-remains scenario. Either way, it’s not entirely over yet.

The Saab PhoeniX concept from 2011

Indian multi-vehicular manufacturer (amongst many other things), Mahindra, has apparently been setting up meetings with Saab’s administrators to review the possibilities of buying parts-of or the whole of the entire company. Now, whether or not that means the Saab brand itself will be saved is entirely up-in-the-air as Mahindra has been on an expansion spree as of late, what with securing a 70% stake in Korean automobile manufacturer, SsangYong, in the hopes of utilising their vast sales network and tech know-how. Mahindra may just be looking to take advantage of the same sort of things with the ailing Saab…

Yet, it has also been reported that there is some action/interest from the Turks. With full support from a Turkish Government wanting to produce a domestic-market vehicle, a certain Turkish investor has been saddled-up as a possibility for taking over the ailing Saab reins.

Lots going on with this… and it probably will for some time. Stay tuned…!

-Blake J.

The Saab Story: It’s Over Now

December 19, 2011

A sad day today in the motoring world: Saab has officially filed for bankruptcy after former owner, GM, refused to allow the sale of the company to Chinese investors. GM big-wigs had previously noted that they were concerned about protecting the technology that they were still licensing out to the Swedish automaker.

The original Saab - the 1946 92001 Ursaab

Saab CEO, Victor Muller, personally handed-in the bankruptcy application himself, of which is expected to be approved by the district court in Vanersborg.

In a statement from Saab – “After having received the recent position of GM on the contemplated transaction with Saab Automobile, Youngman informed Saab Automobile that the funding to complete the reorganisation of Saab could not be concluded” and added, “The board subsequently decided that the company, without further funding, will be insolvent, and that filing bankruptcy is in the best interests of its creditors”.

It’s sad to see this as the official end for the struggling firm as it has been responsible for creating some of the most intriguing cars on the planet. Saab started building automobiles over 60 years ago and for myself (and many others), their most memorable moments were found on the various Rallying stages of motorsport where it shined for many many years – just ask Stig Blomqvist or Erik Carlsson.

Below, is a hodgepodge of just some of their unique creations and some rallying moments, mostly involving the iconic Saab 96…

The iconic Saab 96

Saab 99 enjoying a forest stage


Erik Carlsson - Monte Carlo Rally


Carlsson again - a familiar scene, often found pushing the 96 to its limits


The uniquely quirky Saab Sonett


Saab 99 - still a cool car


The Saab 99 Turbo - good fun

The iconic 96 doing what it did best...

...and shone when in the hands of this man

-Blake J.

A.I. Coffee Break: 1980 Scottish Rally Video

November 23, 2011

An excellent-quality 2-part video here with outstanding footage and sounds representing the era just prior to the 4WD revolution in Rallying (spearheaded by the Audi Quattro) and the subsequent introduction by the FIA of the famed Group B regulations for 1982.

Witness the flying Finns, Hannu Mikkola and Ari Vatanen, slinging and slithering their tail-wagging Ford Escort RS1600’s throughout the rugged Scottish forests and highlands. Stig Blomqvist showing his spectacular driving aplomb in his front-wheel-drive Saab 99 Turbo. Tony Pond reining-in his vicious, V8-engined Triumph TR7. Henri Toivonen writhing his Talbot Sunbeam Lotus throughout the stages despite mechanical failures and punctures… Toyotas, Opels, etc… The intimacy of the captured footage is eye-opening to say the least.

Yet what I love most about this era of Rallying is the general lackadaisical approach to interviews, interactions with fans and the various mechanical maladies – these drivers would soon be propelled onto the International scene with increased pressure from big-budget sponsorships and manufacturer commitments. In a way, these pre-Group B years just prior to the massive 80’s Rally explosion almost come across as a parting glimpse of a more innocently cloaked time of fun and friends before everything became a lot more serious. Enjoy.

Part 1

Part 2

-Blake J.

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