Weekend Reading – Custom Saab Demise, Detroit’s Giant Hole, Tata and Tim Allen


Here are some of my favourite bits of automotive reading for this week….


There have been quite a few notable custom Saabs made over the years. Thankfully, some of them survive today, like most of Leif Mellberg’s work, for example.

Sadly, however, some of them didn’t survive. If you want to see what happened to the miniature Saab 99 pictured below, go over to Saablog-in and read SaabRobz’s story.

Shortened Saab 99


For those who like to track these things, let it be noted that Toyota won the global sales crown in 2013, with GM and VW filling the other podium spots.

Toyota fell just short of the notable 10 million sales mark, selling 9.98 million vehicles during the year. General Motors sold 9.71 million vehicles whilst Volkswagen’s sales figure has been reported as “more then 9.7 million” in one article and 9.5 million in another.

Either way, it’s a lot of cars.

Toyota want to crack 10 million in 2014 and you might remember that VW have plans to become the world’s biggest car maker by 2018.


If you only click on one link from this weekend’s reading, make it this one.

RallyNipponRally Nippon is a classic car grand tour, a-la the Mille Miglia. It usually runs between Tokyo and Kyoto. It’s a young event, inaugurated in 2008, but it’s very well attended. The classics you’ll see in the photos coming up are the equal of any classic event I’ve read about.

The 2013 Rally Nippon was not held in Japan, but in Taiwan. Why?

Following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Northern Japan in March 2011, Japan received about 20 billion yen in donations from Taiwan and its people, making Taiwan one of the major donation sources overseas. Yusuke Kobayashi, founder of the Rally, said the Japanese owe the Taiwanese people a debt of gratitude for their generosity following the twin disasters.

Mr. Kobayashi also mentioned that in Japanese culture, when you genuinely want to thank someone, you ought to do it face to face.

That’s why. It was a wonderful gesture and from the photos at Motoring Con Brio, it was an absolutely brilliant event.

The report at Motoring Con Brio is written by a guy named Royce Hong. He’s a Taiwanese who was invited to participate in Rally Nippon by the event organisers. He’s also the owner of the Jaguar E-Type in the Rally Nippon poster, above.

The report is in four parts. The photos are outstanding and you get a sense that the Taiwanese people really got behind this event, with big crowds thanking the fleet wherever it went in acknowledgement of the organiser’s gesture of gratitude.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.


Just as the wheels maketh the car….. the photos maketh the for-sale ad.

Here are some great tips on getting great photos. From Hemmings.



I’ve been watching General Motors since my death and I’ve seen how you went from my glorious, exotic lines to a place that even the most mediocre of would find too dull to call home. I’ve subsequently slammed my paranormal fist into Jefferson Ave, just outside your building, and I invite you to do either one of two things: 1) use this giant gaping hole as a fitting venue for a new Design Centre, or 2) dump all your current design plans into it and start afresh.

Your call. I won’t be so subtle next time.

The Ghost of Bill Mitchell


Photo and real story, at Freep.


OK, if I’m going to beat up on GM (which I do, frequently), I better give them the occasional bit of applause, too.

Most of you probably know that Tim Allen, otherwise known as the guy who used to be on Home Improvement, is a car guy. He went and hung out with Jay Leno, another car guy, to show Leno his custom finished 1968 COPO Camaro.

The results are only subtly different from original, but very impressive.


TATA motors has designed an all-new engine range.

This is not exciting news in itself. I can’t see the little three- and four-cylinder engines powering anything I’ll drive in the next…. lifetime or so.

But the retro-80’s name given to the engine family is an inspired choice.

Meet the Revotron!!


This book won’t come cheap because it features stunning photography, it’s about Lamborghinis and only 50 signed and numbered copies will be produced.

But wow. Just wow. I love detail work like this.


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  1. The Hemmings video covers most of the basics, except for this one: try to shoot from the car’s height and not your own height.
    People make the same mistake with photos of children. You don’t want to be looking down at them.

  2. The Saablog story is indeed a sad one. I don’t understand how things like that happen. After reading about the cars, I couldn’t help but wonder about the rest of the story — the, how it got to such a point.

  3. Thank you for the mention Steven. Yes but I have the feeling that in Sweden, tuned cars finish their career at the junkyard or against a wall during a folkrace.