Denver, Colorado, USA

(11 images)

Thursday June 7, 2007
At this point in the year, the daylight hours can really throw you for a loop. The sky is never totally dark and by 1:30am, the sun is already making its way up the horizon. The Bottones seemed unfazed by the peculiar setting, however, by 5am I could no longer sleep. I sauntered down to a café for a latté and muffin and enjoyed the serene morning. The winter here must be difficult. From a local’s description, there can be up to eighteen hours of darkness in one day.

7:30am and we’re off for Trollhattan. Running a bit late for our 1pm tour of the Saab Factory, we pushed our Skaab, I mean Skoda to its upper limits of 160kph. In Trollhattan, our attention is captured by a busy shipping canal providing access to an inland lake, vital to many industries including Saab.

The Saab Factory was a sight to behold. Our tour began at final assembly where an assortment of painted bodies prepared for the intricately choreographed spectacle of equipment fitting. Computer automation supplies a steady stream of parts and ensures each unit is built to exact spec. After the concluding installation of doors, each car springs to life and drives off under its own power. If only cameras were allowed! This particular plant produces sport sedan and sport combi 9-3 variants, sedan and combi 9-5, and the Cadillac BLS. Tom and Patty Donney happened to share the same tour.

As the Bottones and I check into our hotel rooms, the anniversary festival is clearly under way. My Skoda, now donning more than 75 Saab emblems, is attracting interest and snapshots. As you would assume, most everyone at the festival is Swedish. Yet, already I have met Derrick and Louise of Spain. Both attended the ‘99 owners convention in Colorado and look forward to coming back in 2009. Armed with 250 promotional buttons, Paul and I are doing our best to improve upon our previous SOC Colorado attendance. Bargains were to be had as Saab supplied huge quantities of surplus parts. The Saab Museum with curator Peter Backstrom is also a must see. With perfect examples of every production model built from Saab’s inception and many concept and experimental cars, one can learn much about Saab’s heritage in a short amount of time.