The deadline for bids passed, but strangely, no-one was revealing where any of the 131 cars in the priceless and unique collection were going.
But then came whispers, followed by confirmation of a piece of great news that few in their wildest dreams could have hoped for. The entire contents of surely one of the world’s most important car museums were staying exactly where they were. Incredibly, a consortium of the local council of Trollhättan, Sweden, a family-trust and defense company - SAAB AB - bought the museum lock, stock and aircraft inspired ignition key barrel.
The £2.6m deal means it’s business as normal for the museum, which will remain
open to the public and retain its existing staff.
Among the many people delighted at the news was Saab rally legend Erik Carlsson who told CCfS “I was really sorry to hear that the collection was going to auction. I drove some of the cars in the collection,”
Added twice Monte Carlo-winning Erik “I didn’t know what had happened until I received a phone call from the museum on the Sunday after the sale. I’m extremely happy at the news and love the fact that the collection will stay together. I’m looking forward to visiting the museum again in the very near future.”
Saab owners across the world held events under the ‘We are many, we are Saab’ banner in support of the beleaguered car maker over the weekend of 14-15 January and the biggest British gathering was at the latter Saab UK headquarters at Cranfield, Bedfordshire, where the newly-formed Saab Automobile Parts UK is now based.
The museum collection includes the first Saab ever built, the 1946 Ursaab.
Concept cars, prototypes and rare one-offs and many feared unique Saabs would end up hidden in private collections and not accessible to the public.
Thankfully it didn’t happen. Much of the rescue money came from the Wallenberg family trust – the Wallenburgs, a household name in Sweden and a major player in the country’s financial sector, once owned a substantial stake in Saab. A spokesman for the trust said it was hoped the museum collection would make Sweden’s industrial history available to researchers and the public – and inspire young people to study science.
The museum will be run by the local council and regional Government. Council chair Peter Akerlund summed up the feelings of many when he said in a statement “It feels great! Saab’s cars are a part of Trollhättan history and now we’ve saved a bit of Swedish industrial heritage. We are truly grateful that these partners (in the purchase) saw value in the museum and the cars.”
The Saab Owners Club of Great Britain says in a statement “This is great news that out treasured Saab collection will remain complete and in Trollhättan for us to enjoy. Fantastic!”