Saab - the stuff that legends are made of. Another chapter of the never-ending saga adds the missing Saab 9-5 NG sports suit # 36. One of those vehicles from the pre-production series that shouldn't exist anymore. According to Swedish sources, the Saab was scrapped. Normally every car life ends irrevocably. Unless the car is a Saab. And some things are completely different from what the files suggest.
The whereabouts of some pre-series Saab vehicles have not yet been clarified. The 9-5 NG sports suit with the VIN YS3GR5NK6C4000036 was also considered lost for a long time. Nobody seemed to know his whereabouts - also because the few initiates were silent. Not without a good reason, because the insolvency administrators tried to prevent the survival of the last vehicles and scrapped all vehicles that they could get hold of. The body was cut into 4 parts to prevent later reconstruction. One of these “death row inmates” on the list was sports suit # 36. According to our information, it was reported as scrapped not only once but twice. Virtual, because the vehicle was not in Sweden at any of these times.
Millbrook Proving Ground
The story of the rare Saab can be told quite simply and quickly - and yet somehow unbelievable. In 2011, number 36 left Scandinavian homeland and came to Bedfordshire for series testing. Millbrook Proving Ground was one of the largest GM testing facilities in Europe. At that time she already had a checkered history. Opened in 1968, it was a test center for Vauxhall and the legendary Bedford Trucks. 1986, GM was tired of Bedford, took over Lotus, then still part of the group, and opened Millbrook also for other brands. In the 90s, the Americans were bored with Lotus, abandoned the brand, and turned the test site into an independent company in the GM Group. Ruthland Partners took over in 2013, the great escape from Europe, and Millbrook became in 2016 Spectris resold.
In 2012, after the end in Trollhättan, the insolvency administrators collected vehicles. Worldwide, from every corner of the planet, prototypes flew back to Sweden. Some were auctioned, many unfortunately destroyed. Combo number 36, however, remained in the possession of GM as a deposit. That should have saved him. He was forgotten, the Swedes removed him from the files and had him officially scrapped. In Millbrook he was part of the inventory at some point, and so he survived in England for eight long years and an incredible two changes of ownership. The vehicle was always handled with moderation and not treated badly. It must have been noticed on the test site, because a small group of people always knew about its existence.
There have been isolated attempts to “buy it out”, but they regularly failed. Until 2019, when a Swedish fan was able to buy it for an undisclosed price. Number 36 was on her way home. Back to Sweden, not without a stop in first Kiel to insert. Where I saw him, learned his story, but was not allowed to write about it.
Saab 9-5 NG sports suit # 36 back in Sweden
Because at that point in time it was still extremely uncertain how a lost vehicle could be brought back into traffic. Especially when it is officially listed as scrapped. After weeks of intensive work, Markus Lafrentz and his team succeeded, with a lot of diplomacy and many years of experience, in clearing up the files and getting the sports suit # 36 ready for approval.
Meanwhile, the 9-5 is back in its old homeland, which it had left around 8 years ago. He has received Swedish papers and is in good, caring hands. What exactly is number 36? It is a piece of history, not only because it adds another chapter to the Saab saga. With her equipment she also documents that during the last activities of the dramatic year 2011 everything that was somehow accessible was installed in the Stallbacka.
Saab 9-5 NG Sportkombi # 36 is an Aero TTiD XWD. Really nicely equipped, among other things, with a panoramic roof, large navigation, reversing camera, drive sense and rear seat entertainment. But, and you can see the need of the last few months in the history of Saab Automobile AB, with leather seats in Vector Trim.
It would be desirable if it were retained as it is. The station wagon is one of two right-hand drive vehicles that have survived. Its strange features and eventful history make it a solitaire in Swedish automotive history.