SAAB Motorsport

Simo Lampinen’s Saab 96 at Lahden Classic Motor Show 2022

Simo R. Lampinen Saab 96 Rally

Lahden Classic Motor Show is the large Finnish classic vehicle exhibition that offers a unique and good meeting place for those interested in nostalgia and classic cars. About 19,000 visitors interested in classic cars visit “Classic Motorshow” every year. The exhibition is a great place to present activities and sell products in that field.

The guests of the exhibition seek information on issues related to vehicles and procure products and services in that field, and Interacting and trading in Classic Motorshow is effortless and natural. The exhibition of classic cars held at the Lahti Exhibition Center has already become a concept that many motor vehicle enthusiasts eagerly await as the highlight of the year on the theme of cars. And so it was this year as well, and the exhibition was held at the end of April, and ended exactly on May 1.

In terms of car versatility, the exhibition in Lahti is a special class in Finnish conditions. Fans of old cars once again enjoyed a large number of interesting cars, but it was very difficult to single out a few cars that deserve more attention from enthusiasts. However, among all these timeless cars, one special, original one stood out – Simo Lampinen’s Saab 96!

For many visitors to the exhibition, Old Finnish rally cars always attract friends with speed, and this time their choice fell on Simo Lampinen’s old Saab 96 rally car. The registration number of the car has always been AEU-502, where the number five indicates the model year of the car in 1975. Lampinen used that car during the seasons 1975 and 1976, and the results spoke for themselves. In 1975, the Finnish Championship victory in Group 2 was won, and a year later Lampinen “threw” Saab into third place in Group Four of the Finnish Rally Championship.

What makes it remarkable about the car is that it is not just an ordinary rally car, but the real thing is that behind the wheel of this car was “Maestro” Lampinen himself. Saab’s bodywork is still the same one used in the race, and its technology is also mostly original. The cabin is also in an authentic 70’s outfit, and the parts used in the car are genuine seasonal Saab factory parts. The car’s engine is an 1,815 cc with Weber’s double carburetors and develops about 160 horsepower. Saab also has similar advertising stickers to what was in the car in 1975 in the Suurajoki Jyväskylä.

At that time, Lampinen fought a fierce battle against Hannu Mikkola’s Toyota Corolla. In the end, Mikkola took the win with his more efficient and modern car, and Lampinen had to bend to his silver in the Saab.

Lampinen’s Saab 96 was recently seen in the 1976 film “The Spirit of the Game”, in which it was given a leading role. The nostalgic film can be found on Youtube, and it will see Saab 96 as part of the Finnish Saab factory team participating in the major races in Jyväskylä that year. When the car left the rally tracks to represent Saab, it continued to be run by private drivers until 1989. These include stickers on Saab’s side, such as the Junior SM Lapua Rally from 1986 and the Kokkola Rally in 1988.

Saab finally retired in 1990, when it was bought by Tomi Tikanmäki, an 18-year-old current owner, who has since cherished this former preservation miracle of Saab’s factory team for the admiration of present generations. It was a real cultural act worthy of great respect, as its previous owner at the time was already planning to redecorate the car for rallycross use, which would completely destroy the historical value of his vehicle. The age of that car buyer was appropriate, as Lampinen also started his rally career at the age of 18 as soon as he received his driving license, and his racing career lasted until 1979.

Lampinen has had numerous races in his career both in Finland and abroad, so this is one of Finland’s international rally drivers. The biggest Finnish victories for Lampinen are the four Finnish championships, and the victories at the Jyväskylä Grand Championships in 1963, 1964 and 1972. Born on June 22, 1943, Lampinen is now 78 years old.

The current condition of the car is excellent considering its active years of service. It was restored to its current appearance in 2001-2002 in Porvoo and Malmö, Sweden. The car evokes so much deserved pride in its owner that a spectacular reminder of its originality is taped to the top corner of its windshield so that no useless shouter would just make the mistake of keeping the car a cheap copy.

The batteries of the four additional lights found on Saab’s beak, on the other hand, are fondly reminiscent of the illuminance of incandescent bulbs of their time, when headlights were also needed to illuminate dark roads. Finland is clearly one of the most successful rally countries in the world, so it is always a warm pleasure to cherish the old history of rally in Finland.

1 Comment

  • John Howard. Englander with two Saabs a convertible and a 9-3X SportCombi. Before which I had 4 OG 9-5s says:

    What a great film! Thank you.

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