SAAB News

Journey of Passion: Saab Enthusiasts Travel Far for the 2024 Saab Festival

The incredible stories of Saab enthusiasts from around the world who traveled to Trollhättan to celebrate the iconic brand's enduring legacy.

Portugal to Sweden for the SAAB FESTIVAL! Saab 9-5 OG!

The 2024 Saab Festival in Trollhättan, Sweden, once again proved the enduring appeal of the Saab brand. Enthusiasts from all over the world gathered to celebrate their shared love for these iconic vehicles. Among them was Carlos from Portugal, whose incredible journey in his Saab 9-5 OG epitomizes the spirit of Saab fans. Let’s delve into the stories of these dedicated individuals and their remarkable journeys to the festival.

Carlos’ Epic Journey: From Portugal to Sweden

Carlos, a 30-year-old from Portugal, embarked on an ambitious journey to the Saab Festival in his beloved 1998 Saab 9-5. Despite the challenges, Carlos was determined to make it to Trollhättan. His Saab 9-5, which he has owned since 2018, has been meticulously maintained and serves as his daily driver. The car, with its 2.3L low-pressure turbo engine and subtle modifications, symbolizes Carlos’ deep connection to the brand. A trip beautifully documented by the amazing Marcus and Manuela, and we encourage everyone to follow their channel for more inspiring Saab stories.

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Carlos’ journey took four days, covering thousands of kilometers. He shared his story in a video by Marcus and Manuela, highlighting his passion for Saab. “I drive brand new Mercedes for a living, but this is the best car for me,” Carlos said, emphasizing his preference for the Saab over modern vehicles. His story is a testament to the lengths enthusiasts will go to celebrate their beloved Saabs.

A Warm Welcome from NEVS and the Saab Museum

Carlos was not the only one who made a long journey to the festival. Representatives from Club Saab Uruguay traveled by plane to Sweden to attend the event. They were honored guests of NEVS (National Electric Vehicle Sweden) and the Saab Car Museum in Trollhättan. The Uruguayan enthusiasts were recognized for their dedication and distance traveled, and were given a special tour of the NEVS facilities.

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Members of Club Saab Uruguay with Peter Dahl of NEVS, presenting a Club Saab Uruguay t-shirt during their visit to the 2024 Saab Festival in Trollhättan.
Members of Club Saab Uruguay with Peter Dahl of NEVS, presenting a Club Saab Uruguay t-shirt during their visit to the 2024 Saab Festival in Trollhättan.

During their visit, they had the opportunity to ride in the Emily GT, an electric sports car developed by NEVS. The experience was described as spectacular, showcasing the innovative spirit that continues to drive the legacy of Saab. “Muchas gracias Peter Dahl y Martin Nordin por la invitación. Fue una experiencia maravillosa!” the club representatives expressed their gratitude.

Unique Saab Modifications: Creativity on Display

The festival also showcased the creativity and innovation of Saab enthusiasts through various unique modifications. One standout was Jonas Kakarikas‘ rear-wheel-drive Saab 9-5, a rarity among Saabs. Captured in a photograph by Marko Nikitović, this car drew significant attention for its unconventional modification.

A unique Saab 9-5, converted to rear-wheel drive by Jonas Kakarikas, showcased at the 2024 Saab Festival. This modification, captured by Marko Nikitović, highlights the innovative spirit of Saab enthusiasts.
A unique Saab 9-5, converted to rear-wheel drive by Jonas Kakarikas, showcased at the 2024 Saab Festival. This modification, captured by Marko Nikitović, highlights the innovative spirit of Saab enthusiasts.

Another notable car was Mattias Björnberg‘s Saab 9000 CSE, which featured air suspension and custom sound systems. Mattias’ dedication to personalizing his Saab was evident in every detail, from the modified exterior to the upgraded interior components.

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The Global Saab Community: United by Passion

The Saab Festival is more than just an event; it’s a gathering of a global community united by their love for Saab. Enthusiasts from across Europe and beyond made their way to Trollhättan, showcasing the international appeal of the brand. The festival grounds were a melting pot of cultures and languages, with visitors sharing stories, experiences, and their passion for Saab.

One such story was that of Gerald and Jill Chamberlin from Carlisle, UK. The couple’s journey with Saab began in 1997, and they have been attending the festival ever since. Their connection to the brand is deep, with Gerald recalling how he was influenced by the Saab-driving culture at his first job. Jill, who initially preferred Volvo, became a Saab convert after meeting Gerald.

Saab Heritage: Celebrating the Legacy

The Saab Car Museum played a central role in the festival, with special exhibits celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Saab 9000. The museum’s displays highlighted Saab’s engineering excellence and innovative history. Seminars and talks, including one by legendary illustrator Rony Lutz, drew large crowds, reinforcing the emotional connection attendees have with the brand.

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Enthusiasts gather at the Saab Turbo Club of Sweden booth during the 2024 Saab Festival in Trollhättan, celebrating 75 years of Saab Spirit. (photo by Marko Nikitović)
Enthusiasts gather at the Saab Turbo Club of Sweden booth during the 2024 Saab Festival in Trollhättan, celebrating 75 years of Saab Spirit. (photo by Marko Nikitović)

The festival also featured an art exhibition titled “Gul bil!” showcasing the creative side of Saab. Curated by former Saab designers Ingrid Karlsson and Sylvie Buller, the exhibition explored the complexities of developing car colors and materials, adding a unique artistic dimension to the festival.

Personal Stories: A Testament to Saab’s Impact

The festival was filled with personal stories that highlighted Saab’s impact on its enthusiasts. For example, Henrik Brenander‘s restoration of his family’s 9000 CSE, known as the “Daycare Car,” was driven by the insistence of his children who had fond memories of the vehicle. Despite its poor condition, Henrik restored the car to bring it to the festival, demonstrating the deep emotional connections many have with their Saabs.

Another heartwarming story was that of Joakim Söderqvist, who created a unique convertible by heavily modifying a Saab 96. Named V4 Jocke XXS, this car was a festival favorite, showcasing Joakim’s dedication and creativity.

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NEVS Emily GT, an electric sports car, showcased during the 2024 Saab Festival in Trollhättan.
NEVS Emily GT, an electric sports car, showcased during the 2024 Saab Festival in Trollhättan.

The Festival Experience: Music and Entertainment

Live music and performances added a festive flair to the event. The jazz band “Hejåhåmedpeter” entertained attendees with lively renditions of classic songs, often with a Saab twist. These performances kept spirits high and added to the vibrant atmosphere of the festival.

Conclusion: A Celebration of Saab’s Enduring Legacy

The 2024 Saab Festival was a celebration of Saab’s enduring legacy and the passionate community that keeps it alive. From Carlos’ epic journey from Portugal to the diverse international attendance, the festival highlighted the deep connections and shared experiences that make the Saab community special. As the event came to a close, the stories, creativity, and enthusiasm of the attendees ensured that Saab’s spirit will continue to thrive for generations to come.

Goran Aničić
the authorGoran Aničić
For over 10 years, Goran Aničić has been passionately focused on Saab automobiles and everything related to them. His initial encounter with Saab cars took place back in 2003 when the first Saab 9-3 and sedan version were introduced. At that moment, he was captivated by the car's Scandinavian design logic and top-notch engineering, and everything that followed stemmed from that first encounter. Later on, through his work at the editorial team of the Serbian automotive magazines "Autostart" and later "AutoBild," he had the opportunity to engage more closely with Saab vehicles. In 2008, he tested the latest Saab cars of that time, such as the Saab 9-3 TTiD Aero and Saab 9-3 Turbo X. In 2010, as the sole blogger from the region, he participated in the Saab 9-5ng presentation in Trollhättan, Sweden. Alongside journalists from around the world, he got a firsthand experience of the pinnacle of technological offerings from Saab at that time. Currently, Goran owns two Saabs: a 2008 Saab 9-3 Vector Sportcombi with a manual transmission, and a Saab 9-3 Aero Griffin Sport Sedan from the last generation, which rolled off the production line in Trollhättan in December 2011.

3 Comments

  • I am impressed for those who travel any distance to participate in an event like this. But for Carlos, I am more than impressed as this is a more than 34-hour drive for him. I love his dedication and the work in keeping his Saab on the road!
    I’m looking forward to getting back in the Saab game – shortly!

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