Micropost: NEVer Mind the Botox

It’s been a while since we reported on NEVS. How goes it in the netherworld?

Image: NEVS via Saabsunited

Recently, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) released official images of the ‘forthcoming’ 9-3 and 9-3X EV’s based on the decade-old former Saab bodyshell. These images, shown on SAABSunited.com appear to show both models in production specification, demonstrating if little else, that hope really does spring eternal.

My intention was to Continue reading “Micropost: NEVer Mind the Botox”

Theme: Brochures – Just Right?

Already a decade old in 1977, the SAAB 99-series perhaps best embodied the Swedish ideal of ‘Lagom’ .

All images: Driven to Write
All images: Driven to Write

The 99 saw Saab come of age. A bigger, more commodious, more mainstream model than the somewhat home market-specific 96 series which not only preceded it, but was sold alongside. By 1977, the 99 was a very mature product, and what bugs may have arisen in earlier incarnations were fairly thoroughly expunged. Continue reading “Theme: Brochures – Just Right?”

Micropost: 1985 Saab Experimental Vehicle

This is one of the cars I saw at the Saab Car Museum in Trollhattan, Sweden.

1085 Saab EV concept car
1985 Saab EV concept car

It reminded me of some other 80’s aerodynamic cars of the same time but when I went looking nothing matched. I found a hint of the rear window and boot in the Subaru SVX. More than a few GM concept cars from Oldsmobile, Saturn and Buick had similar surfaces. Yet there wasn’t that one car which made me think: yes, that’s the one. Do our readers have any suggestions?

Image sources: left and right

Saab Museum: the Concept Cars

In our previous instalment we featured the production cars. Today we turn our attention to the concepts.

2006 Saab Aero-X
2006 Saab Aero-X:  niels moesgaard jörgensen.

Visitors to the Saab museum will notice that prior to the 21st century, Saab did not do very many concept cars. The photos are again courtesy of Niels Moesgaard Jörgensen (apart from the odd one marked “RH”).
Continue reading “Saab Museum: the Concept Cars”

Saab Museum: The Production Cars

The Saab Car Museum in Trollhättan, Sweden has a well-presented and thorough collection of production, prototype and concept cars.

1950 Saab 92: niels moesgaard jörgensen
1950 Saab 92: niels moesgaard jörgensen

In this installment I will take a gander around the production cars. DTW is very pleased to present the work of photographer Niels Moesgaard Jörgensen who accompanied me on the visit. A few of my own images are scattered in the collection. A while back a Buick Electra 225 caused me to think about the links between Sweden, American and American cars in Sweden. Now a visit to the Saab Museum took me back down that path. Continue reading “Saab Museum: The Production Cars”

A photo for Sunday Article That Got Out of Hand

Just for once this is not a car on my street.

1981 Saab 900 Safari: Niels Moesgaard Jörgensen
1981 Saab 900 Safari: Niels Moesgaard Jörgensen

It is one of two remaining Saab 900 Safari estates.  The other one was offered for sale in 2014. Notice the red car in the link has the bumpers from the 1987 Saab 900. Saabists can help clarify this difference. You might also want to compare this limited-series car with Alfa Romeo´s 75 concept car. We will be reporting with two articles on the Saab museum (where this car was spotted) during the Christmas period. I might do a third. Continue reading “A photo for Sunday Article That Got Out of Hand”

Ashtrays: 1984 -1998 Saab 9000

DTW is almost nauseously thrilled to be able to present this successor to the legendary Saab 900 ashtray.

1984-1998 Saab 9000 ashtray
1984-1998 Saab 9000 ashtray

A lot is revealed about the Saab 9000 merely by inspecting its ashtrays. The driver and front passenger can use a smoothly-actuating drawer-type unit with a capacity of nearly 200 mls. It’s very well situated and easy to open and close. In the back we find that Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1984 -1998 Saab 9000”

A Photo for Sunday- 1994 to 1998 Saab 900

The predecessor of the GM Saab 900 still has the power to turn my head like only the Citroen CX, Jaguar XJ series 3 and Opel Astra F. 

1994 Saab 900S window rubber
1994 Saab 900S window rubber

However, 22 years later I can see a lot of good in this car too. It’s better than the long-term average at least. The photo shows that the 900 could last. Normally these rubbers bend and get misaligned. Though the car received criticism for its ride it really didn’t deserve the comparisons with concrete-filled tyres. Continue reading “A Photo for Sunday- 1994 to 1998 Saab 900”

SAAB: Dead, But Not (yet) at Rest

While the coffin lid appears to have finally slammed shut on Trollhättan’s revenant marque, Driven to Write has unearthed secret plans to exhume the brand name once more.

Here we go again. Image: carscoops
Here we go again. Image: carscoops via saabsunited

Following Spyker Cars’ failed 2010 takeover of Saab Automobile, the National Electric Vehicle Sweden company (or NEVS for short) attempted to reanimate Saab’s rapidly cooling corpse by setting itself up as a ‘biofuel industry pioneer’ – a peculiar mission statement for a company with the avowed intention of producing electric cars. After licensing the brand from SAAB AB, (the aerospace division who held the rights to the name), NEVS restarted production of the GM-funded 9-3 model – a small number (about 450) of which were assembled in Trollhättan during 2014. An even smaller number of electric prototypes were also built. Continue reading “SAAB: Dead, But Not (yet) at Rest”

Theme: Values – More Than the Sum of its Parts?

Values: How can this term can be ascribed to the subject of the motor car, and how much do I place upon my own vehicle?

Image: The author
Image: Driven to Write

Most of the time our cars are simply a tool, taken for granted and unconsidered unless we deign to clean them or the blasted thing refuses to start. There are currently two cars in my life. A 2013 Jaguar XF, (which isn’t in fact mine) and a 1996 Saab 900S, which is. The Jag was purchased about six months into its life, and is a low mileage, fairly cosseted luxury consumer durable. The Saab was purchased in 2014 with about 110,000 miles on its odometer, but with every stamp present in its service book. It’s still in remarkable condition despite not being cosseted at all. The XF cost its owner something in the region of quite a lot of money, while the Saab – well, lets just say my road bike was more expensive. Continue reading “Theme: Values – More Than the Sum of its Parts?”

Ghosts Of Saabs Unborn

Bouquet of lilies in hand, Driven to Write ponders what might have been.

saab_9_x_biohybrid_13
The Future Of Saab (that was not to be), Photo (c) http://www.thetorquereport.com

The demise and desecration of the idiosyncratic Swedish brand may be the source of an endless stream of stories. Yet more interesting is a less well-publicised aspect of the period when Saab was already taking its last breath: the cars that were not to be.

The very fact that Saab was a deeply mismanaged business would appear to be indisputable. And yet, at the very end of its existence, that other Swedish brand seemed to have developed a hitherto dormant will to survive. Continue reading “Ghosts Of Saabs Unborn”

Saab Is Back From the Dead: Official

Well, not Saab as we recognise it and not with the Saab name. So, the headline is a bit misleading.

2008 Saab 9-3: zombidrive.com
2008 Saab 9-3: zombidrive.com

NEVS who own the assets of Saab are going to supply lots and lots of electric cars based on the dead-then-not-dead Saab 9-3 body. You can read the statement here. This is the first paragraph: ” National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs) and the Chinese company Panda New Energy Co Ltd. have signed a strategic collaboration agreement. According to the agreement, Nevs will provide Panda with 150,000 9-3 sedan electric vehicles until the end of 2020. In addition, the agreement also includes 100 000 other EV products and services from companies associated to Nevs and its owners. The total value of the agreement is 78 billion RMB.” Continue reading “Saab Is Back From the Dead: Official”

What Valmet’s Success Says About Saab’s failure

Valmet and Mercedes have announced that production of the M-B GLC SUV will increase at their Uusikaupunki plant. This is to make room at Benz’s Bremen plant which is already completely busy making GLCs.

2015 Mercedes GLC: caranddriver.com
2015 Mercedes GLC: caranddriver.com

Production of the A-class at Valmet will move to Germany. Valmet will make as many GLCs as they did A-classes so it’s a production swap rather than an increase. The change will result in an increase in labour requirements at Valmet.

As well as being an endorsement of Mercedes product plans and design (which we here at DTW are rather critical), it also makes one Continue reading “What Valmet’s Success Says About Saab’s failure”

Death’s Revolving Door: More Saab EV News

That revolving door is still swinging. Digital Trends and TTAC have reported that Turkey’s government has purchased the rights to make the Saab 9-3.

2009 Saab 9-3 saloon: wikipedia.org (give them some money, please. €5 will do.)
2009 Saab 9-3 saloon: wikipedia.org (give them some money, please. €5 will do.)

And it will have a Cadillac BLS front end. Goodness me. It seems the 9-3 will be made and sold in Turkey with a engines of an unknown provenance which might or might not be electric. At the same time Dongfeng who are the main owners of the remains of Saab will Continue reading “Death’s Revolving Door: More Saab EV News”

Obituary: Erik Carlsson – 1929-2015

Driven to Write salutes the passing of a motoring giant

Erik Carlsson RIP. Image via saabklubdanmark
Erik Carlsson RIP. Image via saabklubdanmark

The motoring world is a little bleaker today following news of the death of Erik Carlsson, Saab’s legendary rally champion and latter-day marque ambassador. Saab may well have made their commercial mark in the 1960s without his exploits on the special stages, forests and safaris of the World Rally championships, but Carlsson’s wins in the underpowered two-stroke 93-series were instrumental in making the world sit up and take notice of those funny looking little cars made in that funny sounding little place called Trollhättan.  Continue reading “Obituary: Erik Carlsson – 1929-2015”

Theme : Secondhand – Forecourt Temptations 7

DTW Goes Back In Time

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Seitz Automobiles in the Schwarzwald have this year 2000 Saab 9-3 2.0i Turbo SE for sale at €12,990. A high price you may think, but it has only covered 11,800 km. The 9-3 has proven to be an unexpected pleasure for one DTW member but, like me, they might be ambivalent to this timewarp example. Continue reading “Theme : Secondhand – Forecourt Temptations 7”

A photo for Sunday: 1960-1980 Saab 96

Our visiting Saab experts can probably identify this car more precisely. It lives near my home and comes out at the start of summer and disappears in the autumn. It never seems to move in the meantime. I think it may be a piece of conceptual art.

1960-1980 Saab 96 seen in Aarhus, Denmark.
1960-1980 Saab 96 seen in Aarhus, Denmark.

The timeline for the Saab 96 shows you could buy a new one until 1980. Similar living-fossils such as the Mini, Beetle, Renault 4 and 2CV all existed into this period so the 96 was not so out of place.  However , the 96 must have seemed very archaic compared to the Golf which in many ways shares the same layout though the Golf´s engine is longitudinally mounted instead of being transverse.

Continue reading “A photo for Sunday: 1960-1980 Saab 96”

Theme: Dashboards – 1986 Saab 9000

The Swedes are a pretty rational bunch. At least they were when the Saab 9000 was being designed. This dashboard takes the essential L-configuration of a dashboard´s elements and unifies them.

1986 Saab 9000 interior. Timeless industrial design.
1986 Saab 9000 interior. Timeless industrial design.

Oddly, some people found this design unconventional and difficult to take. It´s hard to see where the problem lies with this though unless you like messy arrangements of elements. The various displays and controls are gathered into one very clearly demarcated black area. The rest is given a colour to suit the remainder of the car´s interior. Everything one needs is to hand. This is clearly a interior that has been designed rather than merely styled. As there are no eccentric inflections and the detail finishing is rational, the concept has aged very well indeed. Continue reading “Theme: Dashboards – 1986 Saab 9000”

Death´s Revolving Door: More Saab/NEV News

The rumours discussed earlier this month that Mahindra might be about to step in and invest in NEV (“the troubled Swedish car maker” in journalese) are nearing confirmation.

More interior room than a Rolls-Royce, so said the advertising copy. (1986 Saab 9000).
More interior room than a Rolls-Royce, so said the advertising copy. (1986 Saab 9000).

Automotive News reported. Their news came from the Financial Times. The article said that “Mahindra wants to acquire the remnants of Saab to accelerate its expansion into Western markets and into premium and electric cars”. Mahindra is slated to take a controlling stake in National Electric Vehicle. Continue reading “Death´s Revolving Door: More Saab/NEV News”

Death´s Revolving Door is now spinning: they are digging up Saab again.

Automotive News has reported another turn of the swing door in Trollhattan.

1980 Saab-Lancia 600
1980 Saab-Lancia 600

Those of you keen on re-gravedigging will have been following the death-rebirth-death-rebirth of Saab. At this point the cycle is akin to an automotive version of Buddhist re-incarnation except Saab keeps coming back as an about-to-die brand. The last news (May) was that some of Saab´s putative investors declined to throw more money into the open grave in Trollhattan and the stake was once again hammered into Saab´s turbo´d heart.  Continue reading “Death´s Revolving Door is now spinning: they are digging up Saab again.”

1968 Saab 99: Review

“The new Saab 99 tested”. In this transcript Archie Vicar samples what is now viewed as one of the top-ten great Saabs. Is it more than the anti-Volvo? 

1968_Saab_99_006_4822

From “Mass Motorist” Dec. 1968. Photos by Douglas Land-Windermere. Owing to the poor quality of the original images, stock photography has been used.

Introduction

When people think of Sweden and Swedish cars, they often think of Volvo who make sturdy machines capable of withstanding the horrors of the Scandinavian climate. But it’s worth remembering that Sweden has a second car maker, Saab, who also make fighter jets. Like our friends at Bristol, Saab use the experience they have gained in aerospace to Continue reading “1968 Saab 99: Review”

Concepts: Saab 9X BioHybrid

Getting it right at precisely the wrong time.

Saab biohybrid
Stunning. Saab 9X biohybrid

At the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, Saab presented a concept that perfectly encapsulated the future direction the marque needed to take. Given the multitude of factors massed against it, its non-adoption was perhaps inevitable, but that didn’t stop enthusiasts howling in frustration and thwarted desire. Derived from earlier 9X concepts, the C-sector 9X BioHybrid concept not only looked fantastic, but also successfully imagined Saab’s entry into a sector that should have proven both lucrative and sustainable – hybrid technology or no. Continue reading “Concepts: Saab 9X BioHybrid”

Saab – Dead Again…

Which is more than you can say about Bristol…

08_SAAB_logo.sized

Okay Saab, I know this is a difficult time for you right now, especially with you being dead and everything. Obviously I’m sorry for your trouble, but if I can be completely candid, this whole thing is starting to get a little disturbing. How many funerals is it now? Continue reading “Saab – Dead Again…”

Death Has a Revolving Door

Driven To Write has some news for anyone who has been reading the UK motoring press.

1979 Saab 900

Far from being “an undiscovered bourne from whom no traveller returns” (copyright W. Shakespeare 1599-1602), it appears death is a place car brands can pop over to and come back from much like an obscure place with an out-of-the-way airport served by Ryanair. I think Saab is dead but it might not be. Or it might be. It died spiritually under GM, it died again physically, was reborn under Spyker but soon expired. National Electric Vehicles revived the firm in 2012.

Continue reading “Death Has a Revolving Door”