Historic motorsport is suffering from the pandemic and it has become quiet around the Saab Team Wagenheimer. But the calm is only superficial. Preparations for the time after Corona are underway internally. Firmly in sight: the Histo Monte. A demanding event that as a Saab fan you drive in the spirit of Erik Carlsson. In the south of the republic they are now arming. A newly acquired Saab 96 is being prepared for the rally across the Maritime Alps.
That was already in 2017 Saab team Wagenheimer with a 99 on the legendary route to Monaco. The 99 has long been history again, the real passion of the team belongs to the Saab 96. That fits well, because Erik Carlsson was on the road with a 96 in 1962 and 63 and won the trollhättan brand.
A few days ago the new 96 rolled out to the Wagenheimer team. The Swedish classic is already prepared for use in historic motorsport, which was one of the reasons for the purchase. It was rebuilt at Oldtimer Friedrichs, a workshop that has a big name in the rally scene. Father and son Friedrichs have already participated in the Histo Monte several times and also found their way onto the winners' podium.
So you know what it takes.
The Rally 96 has reinforced electrics and a particularly powerful lighting system. The events of the Histo Monte, which takes place early in the year, take place largely in the dark. Good headlights are essential. You can never have enough light.
The chassis is lower and the mount for the Bilstein Sport shock absorbers is reinforced. The fan of the cooler is thermostatically controlled, USB sockets moved into the classic as a tribute to the digital world.
A Simons system provides one or two additional horsepower and a typical Saab 4-stroke rally sound. Suspender belts and sports seats ensure a good hold. Everything that is not really necessary was thrown out of the 96 in return.
This is how you improve the power-to-weight ratio.
This Saab 96 provides a good basis for historic motorsport. As Robert Wagenheimer tells me, it is a very special car. But not finished yet, further modifications will follow. And the odometer, important for checking the average speed, is still missing.
So there is still a lot to be done.
Maybe we will see the 96 and the Saab Team Wagenheimer at the upcoming Histo Monte. If not in 2022, then hopefully in 2023. The pandemic is still setting the pace and the lack of security when planning a major international event is palpable.
Saab and Histo Monte, the historic offshoot of the great Monte Carlo Rally, go well together. It gets magical when a 96 in the spirit of Erik Carlsson flies up the snow-covered Col de Turini. Then the myth lives and the world around us is for a split second as it was in 1962 and 63.
When Erik Carlsson took the win.