“Saabandan” – what does it mean to you?

Under this section we try to illustrate what th famous “Saab spirit” is all about for different people. Do you have a story to tell about your relation to Saab and the Saab Spirit, please e-mail us your contribution. First out is Ulf Andersson, tresaurer at the Saab Car Museum Support Organization, a man dispite never actually working at the Saab factory has a long relationship with the brand.

The Saab Spirit and Saab Car Museum
Many things in life I have learnt the hard way. That applies also to managing the enthusiast cars. Here I will give you examples of what the old SAAB advertising slogan has meant to me in my Saab car life.

Saab sprit – never give up
My first contact with Saab was when I, 18 years old, bought my first car in 1968. The Saab 96 was a car with good roadholding and aerodynamics. Soon I also realized that it was a simple car to work on. With a workshop manual and good advice, you could begin to repair the car and even shift an engine. I had a profound motorsport interest and lived in Trollhättan so the natural step was to modify the car for some rallying with the local car club. A tuned engine and a 4-speed gearbox were vital. In those days everybody used their cars both on the road and for competitions. The dream car was however a bullnose Sport, but it was far too expensive for a student.  In1975 the dream came true. For 80 Euro, a renovating object, complete but with broken engine was bought.

About year 2000, after many years of collecting spare parts and keeping the Saabs for daily driving in running condition it was time for the Sport renovation.  In 2004 the car was on the road again; it was built as a private rally car of the sixties.

My dream car of the 60-s a bullnose rally Sport. Next year it will probably go on sales

Saab spirit – hard work pays off
The next project was a Saab Sport racing car, but there was basically no information to find. Since I live nearby Trollhättan, I got to know some SAAB 2-stroke drivers and many of the mechanics from the Saab Competition department, who could tell many stories of that time and they also lent me pictures from those years. This resulted in articles for the Swedish Saab Club magazine.

In 2016 I was asked to join the board of the Saab Car Museum Support Organization. I had retired from work and since many years had a great interest in the Saab history and the Museum, but had never been a Saab employee so I couldn’t become a member of the Saab Veterans who are volunteers in the Museum and could look a bit “behand the curtains”.

It is a meaningful job to be able to do the best of the membership fees and donations. During the board meetings many inside stories are told and you come in contact with nice members and enthusiast. The Support Organization has been able to do projects such as the Talladega exhibition, two book projects, new display stands to the museum, hearing aid in the movie hall. But the most exiting experience was the group 3 project. From the late fifties to mid-sixties the Saab factory team had great success on the tarmac and iced tracks and won multiple Championships. Sadly, this wasn´t reflected in the Saab Car Museum, but I managed to convince the curator Peter Bäckström and the board of the Support Organization, that we should create a copy of a successful Saab racecar from 1962. The group 3 cars had few tuning limitations and I had come to know Gösta Karlsson, the driver of the original car before he passed away so thanks to him we had got technical specs of the group 3 cars and some photos. We put together a group of skilled competition mechanics. My old friend Åke Zachrisson did all the rust repair and basic painting in his workshop. The car was then painted in the right red colour by NEVS in the old Saab plant. After this the car was rebuilt again in the Museum workshop. The most rewarding moment was when the car was handed over to the Saab Car Museum at the Festival 2019, and when the family of the original driver (Gösta Karlsson) saw the result of our work.

Me in Gösta Karlssons old racing suit at the Festival with the group 3 race car

Saab Spirit – you must have high ambitions and goals
When the Corona pandemic hit us and the work with the Support Organization was on a low intensity I resumed my own Saab race car project, a Sport-65. During the group 3 project I had learned a lot from my friend Åke. Because of this the ambition increased considerably from th beginning of my project. The goal is to be able to drive the car in the Swedish historic racing series “1000 cc cup” next year.

My third Saab dream, get a historic race car running

How can we keep the Saab Spirit?
What the Saab enthusiasts round the world can do to keep the Saab spirit alive is first of all – to keep the Saab cars running – i.e. never give up and when you renovate a car – hard work pays off. Then you can help the Museum via the Support Organization to preserve the heritage.

Ulf G Andersson
Treasurer Saab Car Museum Support Organization