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  • Saab: the end of the road

    By Lance Cole for The Telegraph

    One month after Saab filed for bankruptcy, we look back at the battle to save the very Swedish car-maker.

    Saab filed for bankruptcy in December and, in so doing, ended a run of car production that started in 1949 and touched the hearts of many.

    Eric Morecambe drove a Rolls-Royce, but Ernie Wise drove a Saab. So too did Ian Botham, Raymond Baxter and Queen Beatrix of Holland. All over the world, from intellectuals to farmers, people loved Saabs for their shape, safety and sheer character.

    But to some, the marque’s desperate struggle to survive throughout 2011 was a mix of hope and an unseemly scramble to secure funding after Victor Muller, the Dutch entrepreneur, wrestled Saab from General Motors’ attempt to close the company in late 2009. The last car Saab made was in April 2011 and now it has finally succumbed.

    Once, Saabs were small, more nimble, sporty cars that were rally-proven. The early Saab 92, launched in 1949, begat the 96 – a car that became an icon of the Sixties thanks to Erik Carlsson’s rallying exploits. So Saabs were a unique blend of style, handling and a spirit or ethos that captivated buyers. The men behind the 92, truly a flying saucer of a car, were Gunnar Ljungstrom, Sixten Sason and Rolf Mellde. Unlike other post-war cars, the Saab was not a throwback to another age, but an art deco-inspired, aerodynamic, two-stroke-powered car that tackled anything that got in its way with aplomb.

    Continue reading: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/...-the-road.html

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