Friday, March 11, 2011

Monster Fiesta a FrankenSaab

There was a time, especially in Detroit, when you could almost imagine that cars were manufactured in their entirety on location, that raw material went in one end of a giant factory, and complete vehicles popped out the other end. As Saab owners, I think that we understand that automobiles are amalgams of parts made from a variety of sources. We’ve had Saabs with Triumph engines, Ford engines, gearboxes from ZF and Aisin Warner, audio from Clarion and Panasonic and so on.

These days, shared components among manufacturers and partnering in component development is no big news, which brings us to a car driven by Ken Block. Ken Block, founder of DC Shoes, skateboarder / snow boarder / moto-cross racer and now rally driver and gymkhana guru, switched his ride in the last few years from Subaru to a Ford Fiesta. He can been seen racing stateside in Rally America events, including the New England Forest Rally, as well as in some stages of the World Rally Championship series in locales around the globe. did a pictorial piece on Block’s gymkhana Fiesta. The build is amazing, as one might expect. Of course, beyond the Ford Duratec engine and Fiesta chassis, there’s not much Ford about this car. The biggest surprise is the engine management—it comes from Saab! The article doesn’t specify which Trionic version, but it wasn’t too surprising since the car was built in Sweden (probably by a bunch who drive Saabs). Good to see a bit of Saab DNA find its way into such a great car. And it's not just any old DNA--this is a brain transplant!

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