Sometimes things just take a little longer. My life, which is not only filled with Saab, did not allow me to write these lines about the meeting in Estepona earlier. Since the days are now shorter and sunlight seems to be a foreign concept, readers may be even more interested in traveling virtually to Andalusia for a few moments.
Especially since dramaturgically it couldn't be better. In addition to the meeting, it's also about two very unusual Saabs that will soon be accompanying us. You already know one of them. The other would like to be presented soon. So let's set off together.
The Saab 900 NG is celebrating its birthday – in Andalusia!
The decision to take part in the celebrations for the Saab 900 NG's birthday in Andalusia was initially a bit difficult for me. The route Barcelona – Estepona, at over 1.000 kilometers, seemed frighteningly far to me. Both for the birthday child - a Saab 900 NG V6 Cabrio MY 1994, and for the driver Lizi, who is no longer quite fresh.
Various options from flights, trains, rental cars, etc. were considered and then rejected. And as has often been the case, there were several independent episodes that came together to form a puzzle and made it inevitable to set off on this journey.
On the one hand, I had been watching two Saabian pearls for a while that needed to be examined and possibly secured. One of them halfway in Murcia. The other 10 kilometers from the event. On the other hand, my convertible - also known as Gustav - became the test subject of a detailer who was new on the horizon and had great attention to detail.
As an experiment, she was allowed to let off steam completely: interior, carpets, seats. Ceramic sealing, rims... The result was breathtaking. And wanted to be presented at the birthday party.
The digital friendships with the Spanish Saab scene, which had been cultivated for some time, also became more and more intense during the preparations for the festival and called for a personal encounter.
Reasons enough to set off on an adventure trip with an almost 30-year-old Saab. According to an old saying, the journey is the destination. And I had three of them. At least. It was wonderfully late summer and therefore the best time to travel.
Start of the Saab birthday - Gustav is bitching
The morning of departure is a bit bumpy. I'm not relaxed. Long trips across Europe in a Saab used to be part of the obligatory leisure program. A lot has changed. The last such trip feels like an eternity ago.
Gustav also choked a few times during the morning cold start. I decide to see the diva-like bitches as more of an incentive than a warning and drive off.
And experience a long-lost déjà vu. The motorway heading south is empty, the V6 hums loudly, the sun bathes the changing landscape in a magical light. I hear the Saab grin on my face.
Estepona: here we come!
But there is still a lot to do until then. I reach Murcia in the early evening. Now, theoretically, an unbelievable story should follow. However, this is already known to readers. My first stop is the red Saab-Lancia 600, which is now in Tom's hangar (Link) stands.
Day two of my trip begins as kitsch-laden as the first: sun, mountains, sea and a Saab. Shortly before Malaga a 9-3 SC overtakes me. It's only now that I realize that I haven't come across any other mobile Troll product before. I can't imagine that I will meet someone else shortly afterwards.
The fact that it will take my breath away is even less so. A beautiful restaurant on the hill invites you to take a coffee break. I turn and suddenly find myself next to a Saabian tragedy registered in Germany.
Sometimes it's enough to let a picture speak for itself...
Rescue operation? No time!
I discard the idea of a completely crazy rescue operation within a few seconds and devote myself to the second reason for my trip: Another Saab discovery wants to be examined. Appropriate for the occasion, it is a 900 NG from the last MY.
Until I introduce it to readers in detail, only this much will be revealed: in terms of color, features and condition, it is another Saab dream. And his story has it all. What I would only discover months later when I picked it up. But that is another chapter.
A short drive later I reach the venue.
I can come the day before and finally hug my digital friends, which is to be taken literally. It is Spanish custom to greet strangers with a hug and/or double kiss - little kisses - to greet.
Saab birthday in the hangar
If you share a passion, it happens all the more intimately. The location is just outside Estepona (Link) in an industrial area and is perfectly chosen. There are endless parking options and the legendary hangar. Every Spanish Saab fan knows about him. The collection is comparatively small, but exquisite. unicorns nennt Don Monte Carlo – a very apt nickname – his treasures. Although they are not exclusive, they do enjoy wearing the color yellow. The hangar is both a garage and a museum for Saab.
Wherever the eye turns, there is something to discover.
It's very busy here this afternoon. The bar and kitchen still need to be built, the decoration perfected, the games set up and, above all, the Saab treasures brought to a high shine. I'll join in. A little exercise is a relief after the long journey, Gustav gets a well-deserved shower, and there is hardly anything nicer in our universe than enjoying great Saabs with a few friends under the setting Andalusian sun.
The evening continues in the hotel restaurant with lots of hugs and “Besitos”. The organizers and overnight guests enjoy the evening together with culinary delicacies. And the unique feeling is back: I meet strangers and feel like I'm part of a family.
Even though it was quite late the evening before, my Saturday starts very early. I promised to help with the finishing touches in the hangar. Very gladly. There is still enough to do.
Besitos - and the Saab birthday party
The first participants show up on time. The vehicles are parked according to series. And the hugs and besitos never end. The parking lot and hangar fill up quite quickly. For the most part we know each other. And if not, the above-mentioned welcoming ritual is enough to quickly feel like you belong.
Now it's time to admire the individual vehicles. It's colorful and very diverse. Best-preserved originals, perfect restorations, everyday vehicles, a little tuning for every taste. And of course Don Monte Carlos Unicorns. Each of the specimens is discussed respectfully. And it is noticeable that the proportion of young Saab drivers is quite high. I'll come to this in more detail later.
Around midday we set off together for a drive through the hinterland. This will be very emotional. Lizi's kitsch prose in perfection! Hills, curves, blue skies and Saabs as far as the eye can see. It's now over 30 degrees, the top is open, but I still have goosebumps. It moves me deeply to see streets filled with Saabs stretching to the horizon, more than a decade after the end of our favorite brand and at the southern tip of Europe.
We return to the hangar with a stop for a group photo and some tapas.
The hangar is a restaurant
This has now been transformed into a restaurant. Long tables invite you to enjoy the deliciously fragrant dishes. The selection is extensive. Tapas, fries, bratwursts, Mediterranean salads and the oversized paella prepared to thunderous applause from the hungry. On which, of course, a very specific lettering should not be missing. At this point the meeting will turn into a colorful and loud family celebration. This is also Spain. It's hardly quiet here.
Everyone is looking forward to the award ceremony in four categories. The prices are symbolic. The tension is even greater. For the furthest approach this goes to Cologne. The blog readers were allowed to use the name from Saab seem familiar. In the category best restoration a 900 NG in rally outfit is honored. The prize for the overall best Saab of the day remains in the hangar. Don Monte Carlos yellow Viggen convertible is honored.
The category Best preserved 900 NG in original condition Gustav wins. My joy couldn't be greater, and Gustav seems even more confident to show off his ceramic-sealed paint.
Saab offspring on the birthday
However, for me there is another hero of the day. Having just turned 18 and with his driver's license still fresh from the printer, he showed up in Estepona in the early afternoon - initially a little shy and ashamed - with his Saab 9-3 NG Diesel. The car itself would be described as friendly - needs some attention.
However, the story behind it is sensational and touching. Even as a child, Polo only wanted to drive a Saab. And saved for it all his life. The somewhat old limousine was already in the yard before he had his driver's license in his pocket. Now every available cent is invested in repairing the Saab.
I only mention that polo was welcomed with open arms by the community for the sake of completeness. I passed the trophies I won to him and invited him to take my winner for a spin. As we drive, I notice how difficult it is for him to suppress a few tears of happiness.
We are still in contact to this day. His project is developing splendidly.
After the award ceremony, the family celebration continues unhindered. It's no longer just about Saab. Now life is celebrated. Children are playing, dogs are running around, the table football and pool table are constantly occupied, as is the bar. Some visitors say goodbye because of the long journey back. Quite a few new ones join us over the course of the afternoon.
Colorful hustle and bustle - the Saab scene is alive
Including many younger generations. I had to work in the mornings in order to be able to afford my Saab hobby. They enjoy driving the brand's newer models. These are known to be a little easier to pimp up. When discussing their treasures, they outdo each other with superlatives.
I used to categorically reject such a thing. For once, originality counted. My tolerance limit has shifted. Anything you like is allowed. As long as another Saab remains. And it cannot be ruled out that once infected with the virus, the young people will stay with Saab as long as the law allows it.
It would actually be time to leave the hangar. SACA (Link) invites you to the Saab birthday gala dinner. But I'm so full of impressions that I don't have the capacity for any more. Sitting in a comfortable chair in front of the hangar gate, I admire the sunset behind the Saab-filled parking lot, and listening to the family celebration, I end the day full of magic.
The idea comes to me to leave Gustav in the hangar and return home by plane. So that I don't find any excuses not to come back. Friendships were formed. And want to be cared for. Don Monte Carlo really like the idea.