Saab Festival – Sunday Display

Today was the last day of the 2015 Saab Festival, which saw the big car display in the car park surrounding the Saab Car Museum. I don’t know how many cars were in attendance but I can tell you it was a LOT.


There was a special tribute to mark the recent passing of Erik Carlsson and that’s as good a place as any to start. A stage was set up near the entrance to the museum and the museum director, Peter Backstrom, conducted a number of interviews with Erik’s friends and co-conspirators.


Erik loved his food and the photo of Peter Backstrom on the stage, above, was taken from behind the sausage stand set up by Orio. Free hot dogs were given out to the crowd (and they were good – why do you think I was standing in the Orio area taking photos? 🙂 )

Erik lived a long life and he lived it well. A minute’s silence is nice, but it wasn’t really Erik’s kind of thing. Instead, some two-stroke owners got their cars together and put on a two or three minute tva-takt tribute of their own. Here’s a sample….

To the display, then…..

Unicorn Saabs

This looks like a regular old line of NG Saab 9-5s, doesn’t it?


It’s not a regular line of 9-5’s at all, though.

A small number of Saab 9-5 SportCombis were sold by the administrators when Saab went bankrupt. These cars were considered to be un-registerable but a tenacious bunch of owners tiptoed through the red tape and actually managed to get their cars road legal. That there were 7 of them attending this year’s Festival is a tribute to their dedication.



A couple of Saab 9-4x’s were spotted in the crowd, too. Here’s one of them…..


And parked behind the 9-4x was one of the most unloved ‘Saabs’ of all time – normally prone to rust but this one was in outstanding condition. It’s a Saab-Lancia 600.




Saab 9-3

I should apologise to Saab 9-3 owners this year, because I didn’t really take much time looking over your cars at all. 9-5 owners, too.

A Viggen always catches my eye, though, and this three-door in Lighting Blue was just perfect…..



This convertible in Monte Carlo Yellow looked the business, too…..


The Turbo-X’s were out in force. It almost looked like a Star Wars convention 🙂




Classic Saab 900

It’s getting harder and harder to find a classic Saab 900 in good condition – even in Sweden. And when you look at the magnificent 900s present here at the Saab Festival, you know why. Nobody in their right mind would ever want to sell one, would they?

Click to enlarge.


Saab 96

The Saab 96s were the stars of today’s display for me. I’ve developed a big soft spot for the old V4s and the two-strokes sounded glorious all day. What really got me, though, is just the sheer base-level character of the car, which lends itself to all sorts of custom presentations.

It’s probably be the rally heritage that makes this OK on the 96. More than OK, actually. It’s perfect.


Saab 99

The 9-3 Viggen and the Saab 99 Turbo remain as my two favourite Saabs of all time. There were plenty of nice 99s in attendance this year, including some excellent turbos.

This Cardinal Red turbo was said to be in 100% original condition. It was incredibly clean and so popular that it was hard to get a clear photo of, as you can see.



Some more 99s…..

My first turbocharged Saab was a 99 Turbo 3-door in Marble White. This 99 Turbo 2-door in Marble White was for sale and it’s mighty, mighty tempting…..





Bo’s Stig Blomqvist replica 99 Turbo looked superb.





All three generations of Saab Sonett were on display today….


Saab 9000

The Saab 9000 was this year’s feature car for the Festival and there were plenty of excellent examples on display.

Saab designer Bjorn Envall once referred to the Saab 9000 as the most complete Saab in his eyes. I’ve had three of them in my driveway and it’s hard to disagree. The 9000 is exceptional value if you can find a good one. It’s a car that looks incredibly smart, is supremely comfortable, practical and quick.


NG Saab 9-5

There might have been comparatively few of them sold, but the NG Saab 9-5 was prominent all weekend at the Saab Festival. This little gallery doesn’t do them justice.

This first car had a pearl white finish – a wrap, I think – that looked absolutely superb.


Note the little front spoiler on this one. A nice touch…..


I saw a write-up on this ‘Saab 9-5x’ a few months ago. It was nice to see it in person.




The Oddities And Others

It wouldn’t surprise me if this Saab 99 turned out to be the most photographed car of the day. It’s hard to miss. Earlier in the Festival, it was seen towing a trailer with another (pristine) Saab 99 loaded on the back.



A rolling nightclub? I call it FrankenSaab 🙂

I’m not quite sure what was going on with this Saab 99. The 16V engine was pushed waaaay back.



I thought this Saab 9-3 might have been wrapped, too, but on closer inspection it looked like actual paint.


This Saab 9-5 looked pretty special. I had to look twice to figure out what was going on and finally got an explanation from a friend of the owner. It’s had some extensive re-working to make it a 9-5 widebody. The level of finish was outstanding. A look inside the back door shows you just how wide the arches have been flared.






Saab 95 wagon in motion….


Saab 92 with patina….


Saab 92 and 93s….


And I couldn’t resist a shot of this early Saab 96 in MCY….



And there are my picks from the Sunday display at the Saab Festival. 100-odd photos means that probably missed about 600 or so cars. Apologies to those owners but there’s only so much time to write things up.

Thanks to the organisers and participants for what was yet another memorable Saab Festival in 2015.


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  1. Those NG 9-5 SportCombi’s have me feeling very wistful. When they were introduced I figured that it would be around this time that they would showing up at dealerships coming off lease. A nice example with 30,000-40,000 miles was going to be just what the doctor ordered.

  2. seeing the small number of 9000-photos (compared to the other models) it shows how (un-)loved the 9000 still is. i’m sorry to say this, but it’s how i feel about it all.

  3. That white 99 looks pretty fabulous. But maybe you’d need something more expendable as a daily driver?

  4. About that orange 99 with the engine pushed way back…It’s rear wheel drive 😉

  5. Nice coverage mate. And you even managed to squeeze in my 900 Cabriolet – behind the Viggen! Thanks!

  6. Fantastic. You bastard.
    They’re all wonderful but the NG95’s just really catch my imagination. The NG95X – was that factory or somehow aftermarket?

    1. Not a chance!! I just got out of a crappy job that I hated. No need to take a step backwards into politics 🙂

      A lot of people know now. If all goes well this afternoon (and if the boss agrees), I’ll share it here with a bang.

    2. Bernard, maybe it’s not just an other baby but the latest addition to the SU crew? No pun intended 😉

  7. Great to finally meet you after reading and sharing your posts for many years. Thank you for all the great coverage of the festival and congrats on the new job. Livin’ the dream…lucky guy!

  8. Great stuff, for those of us who could not attend this is next best thing. Thanks Swade!

  9. Great job Swade. Looking at those NG9-5 pics makes me wish I hadn’t got rid of mine. I was just to worried about the parts not being there long term. Not to mention small parts costing a fortune like $199. for a tire pressure sensor. Can’t wait to hear what the new job is? Saab related?

  10. Hello, Swade, and congratulations on your move and new job. Good to see that you’re already into it and posting car stuff. As mentioned at the Picnic, I’ve written a post for Classics by the Beach (/;postID=769226449991019236;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=0;src=postname). I hope that you enjoy it and, if you do, would be happy if you’d link it so that it’s available to your old Classics followers.



  11. Why did I bother to take some photo’s you got them all and then some!
    There were a few of us from SOC North West branch there, and Sunday was fantastic, 3000 Saabs around, I was told. We counted the number in the 9-3 area, there were 600 on that single car park!

  12. Have to get me one of those 9-5X NG bad boys! Looks amazing and what could’ve been especially with the Audi Allroad and Skoda Scout selling by the dozen nowadays.