Yesterday was a busy day and a very enjoyable one. I’ll write more detailed notes on the visits at a later date, but there’s a summary below.
I guess the dominant feeling from this visit, aside from the happiness at being back here and seeing colleagues and friends again, is one of sadness. I’m coming to a better understanding of the personal loss that I’ll have in my own life by not being able to pursue my career with Saab here in Sweden. This job would have been fantastic and that’s a significant loss in itself, but more than that, there’s the friendships and experiences that I won’t get to build and share with people here.
Life back in Australia will be great, I know, but I’m really going to miss everything that Sweden had to offer PJ and I in terms of opportunities, experiences and friends. I guess it’s also making me more determined to make sure we do things back in Australia so we can live the way we want to, rather than the way circumstances might seem to dictate we have to.
Anyway, to yesterday’s activities…..
Visit with e-AAM
I called in on e-AAM to visit with Peter Johansson, a bloke I first met a few years ago back in Australia and the company’s vehicle integration manager. Peter’s the guy who made sure the XWD system that first appeared in the Saab 9-3 back in 2008 worked so well – the perfect guy to lead the vehicle integration efforts for e-AAM’s new eXWD system.
Their work has been affected by what’s happened to Saab, of course, but they continue to make progress and eXWD should indeed see life as a production component with interest from several companies already being nurtured. It shouldn’t be that far away, either.
When Peter’s not developing tomorrow’s technologies at the office, he’s in his private workshop building the car he’ll probably race from this summer in Sweden. We visited the workshop, too, and it was an amazing experience.
Peter’s the third generation of his family to work at Saab. His grandfather was one of the original 16 or so engineers who were there at the start of Saab’s automotive operations. His father, Sigge (who passed away very recently), was a legendary engineer at Saab and did some amazing things in the home workshop as well. Stuff like this:
That’s part of a compressor system (supercharger) for a Saab V4. Imagine that poking out the hood of your Saab 96 or Sonett 🙂
There’s plenty more from that visit, but that’ll do for now.
I also called into the Saab Museum to collect the award that Saab gave me a few years ago.
I’ve always preferred the idea of the award staying with the museum, but with the recent threat to the museum’s continued existence, I thought I’d take the opportunity to bring it home. I can always return it to the museum if things work out OK.
On that front, I feel a bit more confident about the museum’s future after chats with people here in Trollhattan. There were a lot of bids for individual vehicles (the reports of around 500 bids are accurate, from what I hear) but also some bids for the entire museum operation, which is encouraging.
I guess the question for the bankruptcy administrators is do they risk scraping together a little more money from individual sales – with some bidders probably possibly having thrown ‘hail mary’ bids and the possibility of non-payment – or do they make what I’d see as the sensible decision and take a whole-of-operation bid that would not only protect the heritage and value of the collection, but also provide them with funds in one easy-to-administer and easy-to-collect transaction.
The local newspaper, TTELA, got in touch with me and asked for a pow-wow, so I talked with them yesterday. Anna-Karin from TTELA was a trooper – the photographer wanted an outside photo so we did the interview as we walked the streets of Trollhattan, with her trying to write as we walked. Her hands must have come very close to freezing and falling off the end of her arms.
I don’t know when that interview will be published, but probably in the next day or so.
Meals are always a highlight of this visit as they’re a chance to catch up with colleagues and friends. Last night was Mamma Mia’s lasagne and it was great, as always. The occasion also saw me sell my little red 900 and it’s great to know that it’s gone to a good home here in Trollhattan. I had some great times with that little car. Whilst it wasn’t worth much in financial terms, it was worth everything in terms of the freedom it gave me as a foreigner here in Sweden, and the fun times I had driving it around the countryside.