3 years on – Saab Support Convoys

It’s January 17, 2013, here in Australia and three years ago, on January 17, 2010, Saab’s fate was hanging in the balance. General Motors seemed determined to close Saab down and Spyker were equally as determined to buy the company. As a community, we were determined to send GM a message – Saab was a company worth saving.

The first Saab Support Convoy was actually held in Detroit on January 5th, just before a GM board meeting. It was based on an idea that started in Holland – a gathering to celebrate Saab, no matter what the company’s fate would be. Of course, the nature of these events expanded as time went on.

Saab’s fate was expected to be decided at that Detroit GM board meeting but still hung in the balance several weeks later. The Detroit gathering gained some press coverage, which lent no small amount of determination to others to get together and make a difference.

The Saab Support Convoys began on the weekend of the 17th January and over the next few weekends, it’s estimated that around 10,000 people gathered in 6,000 Saabs (and others!) in 60 cities around the world.

It was an absolutely amazing time. Saab was saved (for the moment) and we felt like we were a part of the company. It was a wonderful time to be a Saab fan. Congratulations once again to all who were involved. I don’t think there’s ever been such a display of support for a car company, before or since.

There are 75 photos in the gallery below. Apologies if I missed anyone, but all the Saab Support Convoys are listed here.

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  1. Fantastic set of photos! There can not really be anything like that for any brand in the automotive history.

  2. The first convoy may have been in Detroit but as I recall the entire concept was the work of a most creative and enthusiastic Swade, no?

    1. I wish I could claim it, John, but I could never do that. The concept came from the Dutch Saab people, who were first to plan a convoy for January 17. I gave it plenty of publicity, however, and the global reach of SU at the time was one of the major reasons word spread around the world so effectively.

      Ryan Emge has to take some credit for hastily organising the earlier Detroit event (with the help of Jalopnik). The publicity created by the Detroit event gave people some incentive to get involved – they could see a result.

      1. Kudos for giving Ryan some credit – Saabhistory covered the convoys extremely well and it’s a shame that he had to give that site up. I was honoured to be part of the UK convoy

        1. Ryan and I had arguments and differences over the years (and for very good reasons) but I’ve always given him credit for the role played in that rally and the catalyst effect it had for others.

          The Dutchies started the whole thing. Ryan hosted the first event. SU provided the publicity worldwide, which I think was one of the keys for it being as big as it ended up being.

  3. Does not look like Lubbock made the list. If my wife is in town, we have a convoy of at least two. If not, it’s just me. Last year one of my students added a 900 vert to the group for three. When we drive both cars together I usually think of myself as the wingman.

    As always, just a thought.

    1. In the end I accomplished what I set out to do, which was to keep my Saab dealership in the official Saab (service) network.

      Scoggin Dickey Saab
      5901 Spur 327
      Lubbock, TX 79424

      Phone: 806-798-4000

      Visit service center web site
      Get Directions
      As listed by Saab Automobile Parts AB

  4. I see Andy Rupert in his orange hood in Detroit in that fist photo. Darned if I didn’t get cropped out of that pic. I was just to the right of that image – must have been my homely old face. 🙂
    I’m really happy that I was an itty-bitty part of such a magnificent group of support events. No other brand could have inspired such an effort.

  5. Yes , a nice memory my wife and I went to 2 of the drives . Today I was able to fix 1 more SAAB that I hope will seen lots of smiles per mile for the owner .
    There are a lot of us still keeping as meany on the road as we can because SAAB is still a darn fine car . Tommrow I’ll fix some more .

  6. It was an exciting time even for my little 3 car convoy here in Adelaide South Australia. The might of the worlds Saab fans may have won that battle, but I can’t help thinking though that GM eventually won out in end?

    Speaking of Adelaide, I hear GM’s Holden Commodore is scheduled to end production here at the end of 2016. The same goes for the Ford Falcon in your old home state Victoria. It seems Australia’s love affair with large 6 cylinder and V8 cars is finally over. Even the four cylinder Ecoboost turbo 4 hasn’t helped sales of the Falcon. I think that’s because most Aussies are largely too dumb to recognize the virtues of a turbo 4. Some are comparing it with the dreadful 4 cylinder Holden Commodore of the early eighties. I’m not a fan of large cars, but the Falcon Ecoboost deserves better than that.

    1. The Ecoboost Falcon is, by all report, an excellent drive. It definitely deserves better.

      I had Christmas at my cousin’s house in outer Melbourne a few weeks ago and another cousin was there. He has worked for Ford for 30 years now. He says they never saw it coming – the move to medium SUV’s. Just completely missed it and weren’t quick enough to move.

      1. I guess the advertising for the Ecoboost Falcon didn’t hit it’s spot but I love this commercial:

        1. I viewed the commercial and must admit to laughing out loud … then thought, “I shouldn’t really”.
          I somehow supect that such an advert would never have made it out of the starting blocks in the animal loving UK. [I’m in NE Scotland.]

  7. Three years ago has flown by already? I was at the Detroit rally and the one at IKEA in Shaumberg, IL. In Detroit I choose to stay in the parking lot to keep the press and media entertained and as a result I missed the opportunity to be at the Jay Spenchian’s press conference inside the GM building.

    I remember how bitter cold it was but it was worth the fight because at least it gave Victor Muller the chance to continue SAAB to where we are today. Had we had not saved Saab back then it would have died on that bitterly cold day.

  8. Agreed…can that really be three years ago? It is nice to see these photos again, and I see you even got in the one from the Carolina Saab Club in Raleigh, North Carolina, where we drove from the airport to the state capitol building. Due to the quick preparation, our turnout was small, but determined! Exciting times to be sure.