Saabs from around the World

The Ultimate Custom Built Saab 9000 Bahco

Bahco Saab 9000 Mellberg

Today we present you another intersting custom made Saab car – Custom built Saab 9000 by Leif Mellberg, for Bahco. Leif Mellberg is known for a large number of different modified Saab cars, from small sports modified cars such as the Mayo P1, to the largest Saab ever, the Saab 906.

This special car was created in the mid-eighties of the last century and was shown to the public for the first time at the Festival in Trollhattan in 1987.

Saab 9000 Bahco is basically a Saab 9000 that was converted into a van with gullwing doors on the sides. Company Bahco used this as a demo car on customer visits and exhibitions. According to the testimony of many enthusiasts from that time, It was really high tech at the time, because the concept itself was interesting – a combination of a station wagon with gullwing doors. The rear passanger compartment has been turned into a storage area for equipment from which a table can be pulled out allowing on-the-spot testing of Bahco’s tools (the Bahco company is one of the well-known local manufacturers of tools and equipment).

Bahco Saab at the moment of reconstruction in Mellberg's workshop
Bahco Saab at the moment of reconstruction in Mellberg’s workshop

The concept itself is not everything, there are still a lot of innovations that were only later widely adopted in the auto industry. It was really high technology at the time. Among other things, it also has a reversing camera, which is now standard equipment on most newer and more equipped cars. And in addition to the camera, a video recorder with monitors was also installed in the car.

One of gull wing doors is fitted with video camera used to film each tool demonstration as it happens; two othner monitors enable people to see the tools in action via pre-recorded tapes. The inner rear view mirror has been excluded and  instead a video camera located at the rear of the car transmits information to a monitor on the dashboard.

Two years ago, this special car came into the possession of Vincent Rosengren, who is a member of the Swedish Saab Club, and who intended to restore it to full working order. As you can see from his pictures, the car is in a very solid condition.

Saab 9000 Bahco after its first wash when it came into Vincent's ownership
Saab 9000 Bahco after its first wash when it came into Vincent’s ownership

His thoughts on the car are that he should make it drivable to begin with and have it inspected soon. At the start, he serviced the car and passed the test with problematic brakes. According to Vincent’s testimony, the transmission then had to go down a second time because oil was leaking from the new slave cylinder.

Vincent continues: “The car was originally white pearl, but today it is silver metallic. Interior design is another question mark. Now it has a blue fabric interior, but in pictures from that time it looks like it originally had brown leather interior. This is not an easy replacement as the door sides are specially made due to the fact that the doors are extended by an estimated 150-200 mm with Specially made panes marked Saab in the doors! The car is a Saab 9000 Turbo 1986 from the beginning.

Saab Bahco-1
Saab Bahco-1

However, I consider it important to preserve buildings like this as they are part of car history. Unfortunately, many old custom builds that have ended up in the scrap yard. It has been out for a number of years unfortunately. Interior is cleaned and arranged as best as possible. No rust to speak of from what I have found. It does look rusty, but it’s the paint and putty that has come off, so surface rust has formed.”

The rear end of the special station wagon version of the Saab 9000
The rear end of the special station wagon version of the Saab 9000. The rear lights come from the Porsche 928

However, after almost two years and a lot of problems with solving technical and aesthetic details, Vincet managed to bring this Saab to a correct condition. The car, which was once ordered for promotional purposes by the Bahco Verktyg company in Enköping, and customized in 1988 by the legendary car manufacturer Leif Mellberg in Nyköping, was shown at this year’s Saab Festival in Trollhattan, where it excited the audience.

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