Friday, August 19, 2005

SportCombi News from Saab Owners Convention 2005
Last week a contingent from the Charles River Saab and Saab City family went to Stratton, Vermont to attend the 2005 Saab Owners Convention. With the density of Saabs in the Northeast, this was one of the best attended conventions, at somewhere around 550 particpants. While I saw many familiar faces and cars, mostly from Swedish Car Day, there was much for me to see that I had never seen before. I had my first experience seeing a 1956 Sonett 1, one of only six in the world, and the only one in private hands in the US. By the way, there is one available in Germany, for a mere $210,000. I also had a chance to see, hear and smell a 1950 Saab 92. This is a two-cylinder, two-stroke, suicide-doored car, and the one at the convention is the oldest registered Saab in the US. There were other fascinating cars, some heavily modified beauties and beasts, and a portable dynomometer was kept busy looking for the torque and horsepower kings of the event. Both turned out to be 9000's, one producing 388 lb/ft of torque, and another 335 hp.
Saab Cars USA was very active in this event. Much of the top brass attended, including new top-dog Jay Spenchian. They brought with them the collection of antique Saabs, along with a fleet of 9-7x and 9-3 SportCombi for test drives. My turn came in a beautiful blue SportCombi Aero with the new 2.8 V6 turbo and 6-speed automatic transmission. Oh, what a nice car. And when you want it, what a nasty beast. I was very happy to find that this car has a terrific baritone exhaust roar when under load. Plus, this car is even better looking in person than in print, especially without the roof rails. Inside scoop--the clear taillamps that have been deleted for US consumption are illegal only in California, so Saab will offer them as an accessory everywhere else! If you'd like to see this car ahead of its launch, we are expecting to have them at Swedish Car Day on October 16!

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