I guess that if you have to choose to attend only one of the festival days, it has to be the final day. Well over a 1,000 SAAB’s from all around the world in the car exhibition, the flea market, the buzz around the Museum, the prize ceremony and of course the huge crowd carrying their infinite passion for SAAB. This year we got all that and even the official launch of a brand new SAAB model!
Day 3…the finale
Friday and Saturday’s activities had been pretty intense already and I was really looking forward to the final festival day on Sunday. Besides figuring out what part of the Museum area parking lot we had to navigate the cars to, getting them actually ready to be admired by the thousands of visitors was another task… After some research we ended up at a local carwash (hand-wash only!) only to see that we hadn’t been the only ones with this idea…some other really dedicated 9-5NG and 9-3 Convertible owners were already frantically nourishing their ‘babies’ when we arrived! The actual exhibition is quite a challenge from a logistics perspective but –as always- the festival organization did an excellent job directing everyone to the right spot. Upon arrival every participant received a paper where they could provide details about their car and its owner, adding just an extra professional flavor to the exhibition. Filling up the Museum grounds eventually took hours but when all the cars were in place, the sight was just fantastic!
The first concrete SAAB
SAAB is known to be unconventional. Different. And so was the launch of the new model… The city of Trollhättan chartered local artist Simo Heinonen to design a new SAAB. Not just any SAAB, but one that would really reflect the unique heritage of the brand. Yet, why would the city of Trollhättan commission the development and production of a new SAAB? Well… to have it serve as a quite suitable alternative to the rather dull blocks of concrete road blocks in and around the city streets! So the first concrete SAAB was launched on Sunday 7 June with many more ‘cars’ to follow soon…
What I think makes the festival extra special is the coverage it receives always from the media. Besides several blogs, Trollhättan-based newspaper TTELA and Swedish Radio P4 were on site again, accompanied by crews from different car magazines including Sweden’s largest: Bilsport. Somewhat unexpectedly, a NEVS video crew was also creating coverage and performing interviews with festival participants around their passion for SAAB.
In memoriam: Erik Carlsson
”Don’t do anything boring, do something funny” was what Erik ”on the roof” Carlsson had said about how he would want to be remembered. And that’s what happened. Rather than a minute of silence, the characteristic sound of his “283” and two other red two-stroke SAAB 96 was heard to commemorate this “Mr. SAAB”.
And the winners are…
The Saabfestival wouldn’t be complete without the prize ceremony… The festival judges had a tough time again going around the massive parking lot assessing each and every car in the exhibition. This year, the categories were: 1) SAAB 92, 93, 95 2) SAAB 96 3) SAAB 99, 90 4) SAAB OG900 5) SAAB 9000 6) SAAB NG9000 + OG9-3 7) SAAB 9-5 8) SAAB Sonett 9) SAAB NG9-3 10) SAAB custom 11) SAAB 9-2X, 9-4X, 9-7X. The competition was strong given that many owners had really done their utmost to ensure that their beauties looked absolutely perfect. While this was my 3rd Saabfestival, I had never competed in the exhibition before and it therefore felt all the more exciting to receive the SMS on my phone that I had won with my 9-4X! All the winners received a huge trophy out of the hands of Erik Carlsson’s daughter Susie (helped by her own two daughters) while Museum Director Peter Bäckström announced the jury’s argumentation. Orio’s director for Sweden Michael Backman completed the picture by handing over a SEK 500 (approx. EUR 50) gift certificate.
It was finally time to drive home to Stockholm again and though I felt tired after 3,5 really intensive days, I felt energized as well. What an amazing event it had been… Many, many pictures were taken during the three wonderful festival days. I took more than 1,400 myself but I also wanted to share some links to great work from other photographers:
Johanna Matsfelt: day 2 (68) / day 3 (52)
Johan Lööf: festival impressions from day 2 and 3
Henrik Zaar: Saab museum and day 3 impressions
Robert (Saabrobz): day 2 (241) / day 3 (190) / convertibles (26) / 9-5NG SportCombi (13)
The 2015 edition of the Saabfestival was again incredible. The largest SAAB meeting in the world and the ultimate proof point of the enormous passion that continues to live on very strongly. A BIG thanks to all the people who were involved in making it all happen! I can’t wait until the next festival in 2017, but until then we can at least enjoy the coverage from this year’s edition: The pre-tour arrives (day 0-1), The future of NEVS and SAAB (day 1), A brilliant first day (day 1), SAAB Original Parts (day 1-2), Racing on Kinnekulle Ring (day 2).