Monday Reading – Classic Mercs, Fiat, Goodwood, Saab + Volvo Sales and Maserati


Here’s the very best of automotive reading from around the web over the weekend.

Well, what I think was the best reading. Let’s see what you think.

iced-vo-voCongratulations to Volvo on increasing its sales in 2013.

Volvo sold 427,840 vehicles in 2013, a small increase over 2012. The boost came thanks to large rise in Chinese sales and a small rise in Swedish sales. The US market, still #1 for Volvo, dropped by 10% so if they can arrest that slide in the near future, things will indeed look brighter for the other Swede.

Don’t mind the picture to the right. It’s an in-joke.

We’ve been talking classics a fair bit lately and Hemmings have rightly touted an upcoming auction as the ultimate classic car showdown. This one’s going to have a huge influence, I think.

1956_Mercedes-Benz_Barn-FindTake two very, very desirable classics – Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwings. Give them both a black exterior and a red interior.

The difference?

One of them is completely original and in a condition that many would say needs restoration after years of storage. The other is completely restored – it was black out of the factory and it’s black now, but the interior has been changed from red with green tartan cloth, to red leather.

Which will attract the highest bid?

My money’s on the restoration, but I’d love the original to come out on top.

Click through to Hemmings for the full details.

I’m going to write my last Saab article in a while over the course of the next week or so. This comments thread at Saabs United has convinced me that there’s nothing to write about with regards to Saab at the moment and won’t be for some time.

It’s slightly amusing and very, very sad – all at the same time.

I’ll write something and post when ready. It’s not in any way a rebuttal of the article, which I think is quite good and fair. It’s just my own thoughts on Saab’s current situation in light of their 31 vehicle sales in December, and why that situation doesn’t need any more comment from me for a while. I think a few others might find themselves in the same boat.

I like the Fiat X1/9.

There. I said it.

I really like the Fiat X1/9 when it’s photographed as well as that one.

A Lancia Fulvia with a chopped top?


No thanks.

And yet, this one’s expected to fetch more than £200,000 at auction in the near future.

Must be something to do with its race history and being eligible for nearly every historic event in Europe.

Still, no.

Maserati is 100 years old this year?

I think we should celebrate.

Here’s another collection of photos from Goodwood 2013.

Not as good the set from Any Given Reason, but still worth a look.

And while we’re talking Any Given Reason, can you imagine stumbling upon a garage where Michael Schumacher’s personally specified Ferrari F40 is considered merely an entree?

Imagine you’re a tourist and you stumbled on this – because that’s what happened to AGR’s Andrew Coles. What he saw was completely unexpected and will blow your mind.

Finally, a bird of paradise photographed by yours truly at the Royal Hobart Botanical Gardens on the weekend.

Bloomin Beauty!



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  1. Volvo is getting creamed in the US because of the XC90 not being updated. Plus nearly all their cars get terrible gas mileage here. Once they fix those two items things should turn around.

    Regarding Saab, based on NEVS plans there won’t be any news as you say for a long time. It clearly will be a very different company when it comes back.

    1. Volvo has a new family of engines coming out that should improve their fuel economy.
      I think that the real problem is their interior design. There’s nothing quite as depressing as a grey-on-grey Volvo interior, and it must be hard to get people to buy them when the competition is so much more stylish. Simon Padian is working for them now, so I’m sure they will improve a lot.

  2. Maserati is an underappreciated brand. They’ve made some of the best-looking Italian supercars, IMHO. They may not be quite as ‘super’ as Lamborghini or Ferrari, but super enough for me.

    Volvo has been hurt by the resurgence of Audi and VW in the US as much as any marque. Let’s hope they can turn around the numbers soon.

  3. About that comment thread, it says a lot of the state of the community i think.

    Those who argue the most, those who completely dominates the comment section and those who repeatedly pour their guts out every singel day on every article posted regardless of the topic aparently have given up.

    And every poor soul who try to keep the spirit up is totaly and utterly hacked.

    And in that situation the most screaming commenters talk about how they are threatand, there right to speak up and the usefullness they contribut with…..

    SU have let some built there own crowd and now it isn’t the SU teams own home. Now mob with gang feels it is in there rights to dominate. And they are now doing what they can to make everyone to turn against NEVS, just because they have done so.

    Now it isn’t about saab anymore, now they need to make sure that every one give up on saab.

    If I owned SU, I would put it to sleep. Because now it destroys the only thing that should matter.

    I respect those who move on, but why, why can those people not respect those who haven’t moved on?

    Or even respect that some don’t have to move on.

    It is sad, very sad as you say. It might be because of NEVS silence, but the SU community is broken because of two things.
    SU let some dominat by flooding the same thing ower and ower. And the gang that dominates do not respect anyone else.
    There is no open mind anymore, no spirit, just a bunch of nag, nag, nag.
    And I will not be part of that, no way!

    Sorry for the long reply.

    Any one from NEVS reading this? Still got the best, most remote, least traficed public road to test EV on as an offer..:-D

  4. I think you’re right that SU is in dire trouble thanks to the pigheadedness and utter domination of certain commenters. When you start getting people talking about the “greenie weenies” and what a con NEVS is, all rationality seems to have evacuated.

    Why SU they can’t talk up the exciting possibilities of NEVS future instead of trying to sell keychains and calendars, I do not know.

    For me, NEVS are pretty much on the right track. I’m not pulling my hair out because I understand that the reality is they’ll need a number of years to get this relaunch right and to develop the right product. Saab has been out of the picture long enough that a couple of extra years won’t mean much to consumers, and the dealer base is already done – that ship has sailed.

    What NEVS must do is get the Phoenix right, everything before is just warm up.

  5. I wrote a letter (the second one in a couple of months) to the crew of SU based on your comments DanP and TTAero. I share your feelings and it’s unfortunate and sad that Trolls (be bad internet ones) have taken over SU that once was a good and positive place to be.

    It saddens me and probably many more like us as well.. =(

    1. it just blows my mind that we have people who call themselves Saab fans talking like they don’t see that Saab has always been an innovative brand, making use of modern technology to produce efficient but high performing cars. If anything, NEVS electric direction shows a continuity in thinking.

      And I’ve said before – to me, their restrained design (inc. their website) is what attracts me to Saab in the first place.

      1. Yeah, the brand have been through a pretty “vocal” management and I think the motto of “underpromise and overdeliver” is what is needed.

        No information for the time being is less destructive then promises that eventually falls through.

        The repons I got to my mail was unfortunately the same as before, essentially “Things are like they are, the comments reflect the community and we don’t have the resources to do anything about it”. =(

        Have been thinking about mirroring the whole site under a different name “Positive SU” or something like that and moderate the comments “harder”. It’s a shame

  6. at least one of the obviously disturbed regular commenters on that SU thread clearly drove a 1988 Holden Camira for many years, with the gutsy 2.0 donk

  7. No offense TT Aero and Dan P, but is it realistic at all that there will be a Saab with any ties to the past rising from the ashes as a result of NEVS? My issue with SU is not the negativity, but the complete loss of reality the current editors at SU have shown. I would like to see SU becoming an enthusiasts site again – it stopped being this a long time ago.

    I am continuing to buy Saabs – not new cars, but classic Saabs. In my view, this is likely to be the only option I will have given NEVS ownership. I truly hope I will be wrong on this point, but let’s still be realistic please!

    I truly miss the SU of old which was a wonderful mix of classic Saab loving and news. There is no real news on Saab to report on. But instead of focusing on the older Saabs and writing interesting stories about them and their owners, SU is focusing on writing articles about something which no longer exists unfortunately – a company called Saab building Saabs that we all can buy.

    1. I hope NEVS is getting there. But just as many have told, it will, if ever, take a lot of time.
      NEVS seems (to me) have a good confidence since they invest, hire a lot of good people and start the production despite the fact that a production of the 9-3 will not make any profit.
      Just by doing this, I believe there must be a long term plan.
      I have no idea of what will happend, but I find it interesting.

      Swade, let us know if this subject isn’t appropriet on here. The subject was a completely different thing….

    2. No I totally agree, I think SU has an identity crisis.

      In terms of NEVS producing a car with Saab DNA, who knows? If they don’t then I’m not sure what they have in the brand other than recognition tinged with mild scorn from the general population. But I know there’s a fine electric car with Saab DNA to be made if they have the right people to do it.