Brexit schmexit! It’s time for Swexit.

I’m sad to report that in the next few months I will leave my employment at Koenigsegg Automotive. I will leave Sweden. And Europe.

I’ll really miss my colleagues at Koenigsegg. We’ve done some amazing things together. World record things. Breaking-the-mold things. My first day at work we broke the 0-300-0 km/h record with the One:1. A few months earlier we’d broken the lap record at Suzuka Circuit. A few months later we broke the lap record at Spa. We took the 0-400-0 record by six seconds just three weeks after Bugatti set it. A month later we sliced an extra three seconds from it while setting four world top speed records. Bugatti’s struggled to sell their Chirons ever since.

A month ago we launched our new car. The Jesko. A few weeks later I had the time of my life doing the first outdoor photoshoot with it with a couple of workmates.

It’s going to be very hard to leave that sort of thing behind.

The good news, though…… I’m very pleased to report that I’ll soon head home to Australia!

To Adelaide, to be more precise – the city of churches. And morons (it’s a Victorian thing. A football thing. You wouldn’t understand).

And I’m super-excited to report that I’m taking up a position at Brabham Automotive, doing basically the same thing I do at Koenigsegg.

If you’re not familiar with Brabham, check out the website for the basics. Put simply, they have a 70-year heritage rooted in racing. They’ve recently built a record-breaking track car and will turn that into a road car.

Check out this video of the BT62 setting a new closed-wheel lap record at Mount Panorama in February this year.

They’re also going back into racing with the ultimate goal being a run in WEC’s GTE class in 2021/22, including LeMans!

It’s an exciting proposition. Brabham is a fledgling brand for road cars and we’ll have a massive challenge on our hands to establish the name, but I can’t wait to join the team in Adelaide and get cracking.


My good friend Pete recently wrote: “I can’t wait to see the blog post explaining this one.”

Fair call.

Why am I leaving what’s been one of the most rewarding jobs – no, it’s THE most rewarding job – I’ve ever had?

The main reason is pretty simple – family and friends. My network’s pretty well spread and few of them are in Adelaide. I’ll still have to travel a bit to get to see the people closest to me, but at least I won’t have a week’s jetlag to deal with when I do it. I miss my people.

Also, there’s just a basic need to return somewhere that feels like home.

I’m looking forward to being able to read the newspaper. To read signs in shop windows. To watch the news and actually understand what people are saying. To talk shit about the footy with people who know what it is. To maybe get involved in a community. I might even (finally) get politically active and volunteer.

The small things that turn an existence into a life.

On the Swedish side, I just don’t fit in here. I freely admit that much of that is my own fault. I’ve never learned the language, which is key to settling in anywhere and being truly accepted by the locals. But even if I had learned to talk with a mouthful of marbles (which is still what Swedish sounds like to me), I’m not sure I’d have fit in here.

There are aspects of Swedish life that I really love.

For one, it’s a society that cares and they put that caring into action with smart stuff like free education, cheap healthcare and plenty of parental leave. That’s like catnip to a bleeding heart lefty like me. I don’t even mind paying the exorbitant taxes you pay here, mostly because I can see what I’m paying for. Australia could learn a lot from Sweden. From Scandinavia as a whole, actually. A lot of countries could.

There are very few assholes here, if you’ll pardon my vernacular. People are mindful. It’s a wonderful thing. I see very little, if any, road rage. The place is just not as tense as Australia (which is a modern phenomenon I blame mostly on Rupert Murdoch – Australia used to be the most relaxed place on Earth. It’s not anymore).

All that politeness, mindfulness and good forward planning has its downsides, though.

Sweden, to me, is a place that’s missing an edge. Lagom is good, but you can be too lagom. People here enjoy high average standards, which is wonderful in its own way. But it also means that Sweden avoids the lows that give a place proper grit and the highs that make a place soar. I miss that edge.

I’ll have given Sweden four years of my life by the time I leave. It’s been absolutely grand, but it’s also enough. I will say goodbye to friends here with distinct and sincere sadness, but say goodbye I will.

And then I’ll go ‘home’ where there’s family, friends, short winters, useful daylight hours, amazing landscapes, cheap petrol, and where all the critters are trying to kill you.

Hmmm. The critters. There’s a good chance I’ll be back.


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30 Comments

  1. Good for you, Swade. You know what’s most important to you,a nd you’re pursuing it. How lucky to have the chance to work with yet another legendary marque, this one at home! Onwards and upwards.

  2. Four years already! Time flies.
    I’m really happy for you to be going back home and still working a career that you love. I wish for many years of happiness for you and family.

    1. Indeed, Ted. Time flies. It’s nearly 15 years since I started writing about Saabs. That’s crazy!

  3. Swade, good and sad news at the same time. I totally understand. Will you still be here for the Saab festival? Would be great to see you one more time. I remember meeting you in 2007 like it was yesterday. Robin.

    1. I’m not sure about Festival, Robin. If the dates work, I’ll be there. It all depends on the sale of my apartment. Hope to see you there, though.

  4. Wow! Glad we were able to see you in Sweden when we did. Now, will ring you next time I’m in Adelaide (which isn’t currently on the short list, I’m afraid.) Best of luck in the move, and very glad you’re staying in automotive!

    P.S. – what are you doing with your Swedish fleet of cars?

  5. Hey mate, sounds like a great decision. It’s so impressive what you’ve achieved from humble beginnings mixed with a good dose of passion. I’ll look forward to an Adelaide road trip to come and say g’day at some point 🙂 Good luck with the move.

  6. Hi Swade
    How lucky is that to be able to head home to another fantastic job.
    I have visited Sweden many times and I love it but not so sure about the long, cold, dark winters, I guess 4 is enough for anyone. Then again sharing my home and garden with loads of things that would love to sting and/or kill me while simultaneously being burnt to a crisp isn’t my cup of tea either.
    I guess we all know what home should feel like.
    Here’s wishing you all the best, I hope you have one or two exciting assignments before you leave.
    Best wishes
    Steve.

  7. First off, Good luck Steven, and thank’s a million for what you contributed to our precious little jewel up north, the company that makes me proud showing my passport. And very well written, you could easily fit with Discovery, CNN or why not even directly under Rupert. I totally agree, thats why I also left the north to find more suitably exiting grounds to get the power down to the tarmac.
    Wishing you the best of luck🥰
    Mikael Pagmar

    1. Thanks so much, Mikael. It’s been a pleasure working at Koenigsegg and meeting such a wonderful owner community. Hopefully our paths may still cross at events around the world.

  8. Read your news with mixed emotions. Often mentioned my friend working in Sweden for one of the super car companies. Now will be able to mention my friend working in Australia for a super car company. You have had what everybody would consider a dream job. It must have been hard work and taken a lot of effort. Congratulations. To turn it into similar position in Australia; well done. Look forward to seeing more of you.

  9. What a wonderful adventure your personal ‘Grand Tour’ – welcome back we need another Blues supporter voice back in the country to help climb out of the current 0-4 depths of despair………

  10. So sorry to here that Sweden didn’t work for you Swade. I can imaging learning Swedish being a lot harder than learning German. I’m still struggling 10 years, if not, then a lot more years than that. Working in Sweden sounds like an absolute dream for me but there always quirks that after a while one learns to accept or proves that deep down our roots have taken hold elsewhere. I feel you have come a long way since that little blog you started in Hobart about your beloved car brand. I wish you all the very best for your future and another new chapter in your life.

  11. Good and sad news. I think I can fully understand your decision. You nailed it very well in your post also. Remember our first chat, when you still run the very appreciated Saab community from home “down under”. Then it was about Saab endurance racing with Swede Team Motor, and later on Le Mans Classic.
    Always grateful for your great support from those racing years.
    Did´not know our nice short chat when I was visit Koenigsegg last spring probably was to be the last meeting with you being a not just Swade, but also a Swede in spe.
    Wish you all the best when you take the step moving back to the homeland.
    And did you know, my absolute favorite Formula 3 racing of alla times car is the Brabham BT28…

  12. All the best to you Swade. I have been a keen follower of you since the start. I absolutely loved your blogs and enthusiasm when you were with Saab. Such a great loss to all of us.

  13. Good for you pal. Koeniggsegg will be a sadder place without you I am sure. On the one occasion we managed a beer I fully understand your decision. A family man at heart and also a massive sports fan of a sport that doesnt exist here yet, even if its the wrong choice of football 😂. Hopefully I will see you before you go but if I dont, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you and I wish you all the very best in your next adventure.

  14. Best of luck with your new venture! I’ll continue to follow your blog as always.

    Best regards,
    Eduard

  15. In the words of the Pogues: “Haul away, you’ll hear me sing, we’re bound for South Australia.”

    I’m happy for you — one of the rare people who can go home again. I’m also jealous of your time with Koenigsegg. Few of us get to experience an organization with so few compromises.

    Keep us posted.

  16. Congratulations, Steve, on landing another great job, and with an iconic Aussie name / brand too. Have enjoyed your great work for Koenigsegg, but all good things come to an end!

    All the best!

  17. Well, from an American conservative to an Aussie bleeding heart liberal—I love the fact that cars (and music, among other things) put people on common ground! Swade, you are a gifted writer, and a compelling personality as well, and you are among the best at putting those traits together to create something special. I enjoy your take on all things automotive and all things in general. Australia, Europe…maybe American stateside someday? Car companies here as well as the automotive scribe could sure use someone like you. I keep having these fantasies of you taking back Saabs United to restore some order and dignity there. Or catching on with NEVS and helping them…well helping them…let’s see, helping them do something, helping do anything! Can’t wait to see what’s next with you!

  18. Whoa, I missed this! Sounds like you’ve had quite the adventure – who knew you’d end up in Sweden when you first started TrollhattanSaab..! Koenigsegg’s loss is Brabham’s gain. Congrats and welcome ‘home.’

  19. You’ll love it here in Adelaide. Crows and Port Adelaide AFL matches at Adelaide Oval with a Pie Floater washed down with a West End beer!

    Congrats on the Brabham job.