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…!
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.