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Saab bankruptcy: Museum car collection to be auctioned off on Friday

Consumer Reports News: January 18, 2012 06:23 PM

You have until noon this Friday (6:00 a.m., Eastern Standard Time) to drive away with a piece of Saab history—or at least bid on it. As part of Saab’s bankruptcy proceedings, tenders (monetary offers) are being accepted on the approximate 120 cars in the Saab Museum collection in Trollhattan, Sweden.

The 1946 prototype of the first Saab car, the UrSaab (“the original Saab” in Swedish), is one of the cars being offered in what is called a “tender process,” similar to an auction. UrSaab production began in December 1949 at the Trollhattan factory--the same town where the museum cars are now being liquidated. The streamlined design of the UrSaab was inspired by the company’s origins as an airplane manufacturer.

Saab-96-Carlsson-museum.jpgIn the late 1930s, Saab planes flew over the town of Trollhattan and a decade later, its cars roamed the streets inspiring locals to join this expanding company. Native-son Erik Carlsson was one, as he grew up to become a champion driver and later brand ambassador for the company. Some of the cars he raced are being sold, including the Saab 96 V4 that he piloted in the 1970 Baja 1000, his last competitive rally event. Carlsson is known as “Mr. Saab” with his name on the recent 9-3 Aero Carlsson and a special Carlsson edition of the Saab 96, a car that he raced to rally victories. Now in his 80s, Carlsson still participates in Saab activities. He appeared last weekend at a gathering of Saab supporters in Cranfield, England - one of the over 110 “We are many. We are Saab” meetings organized by Outside Saab. Saab supporters convened in more than 45 countries, circling their Saab wagons (and other models) to express their support for the company.

Sweden-Prince-Bertil-Saab-96-Monte-Carlo-V4.jpgSaab owners have a reputation for being an exclusive crowd with a brand devotion known as “Saabery,” a nickname that points to owner zeal and even pedigree. For instance, the blue Saab 96 Monte Carlo V4 (year 1967) museum car listed in the liquidation was once the car of royal auto enthusiast Sweden’s Prince Bertil. Prince Bertil also owned a 1956 Chevrolet Corvette, personally combining Saab and General Motors interests years before GM’s acquisition.

If your tastes are more for mail vans than monarchy, check out the Saab Elbil (below), an electric 1976 model that was used as a postal vehicle in the Swedish town of Linkoping, where Saab started out as an aircraft manufacturer in 1937. But buyer beware, even though the car might be an alternative-energy option, the description accompanying the photo of the car reads: “Dangerous if you do not have the right competence with respect to electrical systems with large electrical forces.”

1976-Saab-Elbil-postal-electric-vehicle-EV-museum.jpgIf you are serious about submitting a tender, or just curious, the Swedish law firm Delphi, which is handling the bankruptcy, has provided information in English about making an offer on a car on the firm’s website. (Download “For Bidders in Saab Automobile AB” pdf.)

If you would like to browse photos of the Saab Museum cars, they are available via the Delphi website, but the car descriptions are in Swedish. (Download “Pictures Saab Car Museum” pdf.)

For information in English, enthusiast and former Saab staff blogger Steven Wade has posted the museum photos on his personal blog Swadeology.

For readers who are current Saab owners and concerned about their warranty dissolving with the company, General Motors announced in December that it will provide warranty reimbursement for Saab cars built during GM ownership. That means cars built before Jan. 1, 2010, and includes mainly Saab 9-3s, but not the recently redesigned 9-5s or new 9-4Xs.

Photos courtesy of the Saab Museum in Trollhattan, Sweden.

Sharon Riley

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