It's about one of these very rare Saab 9-3 Independence Cabriolets, which we do not want to treat ourselves. A dramatic story that does not throw a good light on the work of Saab administrators and will not find a happy ending. But in turn, we start in the year 2011. For the Saab independence celebrations in Trollhättan, the production of 366 Saab Independence Cabriolets was announced. It was clear from the beginning that these cars would become collectibles.
The jubilee celebrations at Saab did not go very well, as we know. There were production stops, re-starts, an on / off production, and in the end only a few, few cars dribbled off the line. Completed with what was left. Instead of 366 new Cabriolets it was at the end of whole 38, which speaks for a thoroughly failed anniversary celebration.
Autohaus Stephan, a traditional Saab partner since 1980, ordered such an Independence Cabriolet for a customer. As a bio power, with a black soft top, navigation, a dream of a Saab. At some point - it must have been at the end of November or as early as December 2011 - a call came from Sweden. The convertible, which was on the halting production line, could be completed if a beige roof instead of the black variant were acceptable. I don't know if you had given up waiting at that time, but in Vienenburg you agreed, had new hope and were in good spirits.
Then, on the 06. December 2011, the COC certificate was issued, and the Independence Cabriolet thus had his birth certificate, so it was purely officially existent. A customer is waiting, a dealer is happy, the super rare piece is becoming more and more a reality.
A few days later we are getting a bit closer to the 9-3 Cabriolet, because the dispatcher at Saab confirms Philip Stephan's loading process. The brand new Saab with beige roof now stands on the car carrier in the direction of Germany. The anticipation continues to rise. But the transporter does not start, stops due to open forwarding bills once. It approaches the 19. December 2011, that fateful day that is a day of mourning for all supporters of the Trollhättan brand. In the morning, Victor Muller sets off for Vänersborg and files for bankruptcy. There follows a press conference, an international marketcall and Victor Muller is history.
The car carrier is still standing on the factory premises in the Stallbacka, the COC certificate is in Vienenburg, and it is Christmas. The insolvency administrators move in the administrative wing and have the transporter unloaded. The Independence Cabriolet rolls back to the delivery area at the factory and stops there.
So far so good. Legally all right, because with Muller's gang to Vänersborg all appointments and contracts were obsolete. However, what follows now makes the lawyers' work look ugly. Because the customer, a longtime Saab fan, would like his convertible. Bankruptcy or not. Saab fan is and remains Saab fan, we can shake a little. Even Philip Stephan, who has the COC certificate since the beginning of December on his table, wants to bring the car to Germany. The former Saab employees in Germany, in the sequence partly to Saab Parts AB changed, can do nothing, even if they would like to help. The lawyers in Trollhättan alone have the say.
They are not interested though. Respond to no mail and no attempt to contact. That's how it goes on and on. The Saab partner tries again and again to get the COC certificate associated car. Without success. Luckily, in the final months of the Saab drama, payments to Sweden were not directed until the cars rolled into the yard ...
In Trollhättan stood the cabriolet, one of the last vehicles that ran off the line, still on the gravel place in front of the factory. A winter, a spring, a summer, an autumn. To show up after a long time in the KVD auction! Based on the VIN code we discover the Cabriolet destined for Vienenburg. It's one of two from Independence production that will be auctioned off.
The price is still below the amount that the car dealership Stephan would have transferred nearly a year ago and later to the administrators. Also in the last days one tried to come in different ways to the vehicle. Without success. Legally everything may be fine, because neither the Saab partner nor the customer of the dealership has a right to surrender. But the behavior of the lawyers, who started with high standards, and then to find the worst possible solution, leaves a bad aftertaste. It fits the picture and the general dissatisfaction that prevails not only in Sweden, but also in the entire Saab world.
The Independence Cabriolet was not improved by the storage on the outdoor area without any protection. It will still find its buyer at the auction. If things go wrong, the lawyers will redeem less money than they always wanted to transfer from Germany. How you feel as a Saab fan and partner, if you were so close to a collector's item and then it did not get it, we can all understand. The story is sad and it is incomprehensible. But it lets us guess why the process has come to such a bad result.
What remains? A dedicated Saab partner who is already working in the second generation with a passion for the Swedes and who now makes no secret of his disappointment with Swedish behavior. A Saab fan who would have liked to buy this cabriolet and is now quite frustrated. And a rather bad impression of the Swedish lawyers.
Images: saabblog.net (3), KVD (1)