Saab Workshop in Sweden Restores Saab’s
It was a special car that I drove 5 hours to see though. A car that has previously been called the world’s most expensive Saab…
I drove the car south from Nyköping towards Sölvesborg to meet the team at Mannes bil. I got in touch with one of the team there through Facebook and managed to fix a meeting with the workshop that eats, sleeps and lives for Saab.
After more than 5 hours of driving, I turn onto Löparevägen in Sölvesborg and see only Saab cars along the entire street. What a sight! Both the everyday newer servants like the 9-3 and 9-5 as well as rarities like a 9-4X turned out to be in the workshop. A Saab fan does not go bored here!
It was a special car that I drove 5 hours to see though. A car that has previously been called the world’s most expensive Saab. A car that the crew at Mannes bil is rebuilding into top condition. We are talking about the only 9-5 Turbo 6 hatchback that remains, with the fantastic 2.8 litre V6 engine boasting 330 horses thanks to its HIRSCH upgrade – especially designed for Saab, with all the guarantees left.
The car came to the workshop in May 2017 when the whole car was stripped down to basically an empty shell. That was when all the fun started, because it was time to install all the equipment that was missing in it. Active chassis, TPMS sensor, blind spot warning system, parking aid, file replacement warning system, advanced headlights, rear seat TV screens and a sunroof. We are talking a fully equipped super sporty Saab!
The day I met the gang at the workshop, Oskar was fitting the Drive Sense (the active chassis) on this unique car that has so far only rolled 5 000 miles since it was manufactured.
When everything is assembled and ready, the car will be transported to a local car painting workshop for various paintwork and the assembly of the HIRSCH styling. The goal is that the car should look like it left the factory with all the equipment that was available to choose from in the options brochure.
What makes this car unique, except that it gets a total makeover from the guys at Mannes bil, is that it is the only 9-5 with the Turbo 6 engine left from the factory. The others were unfortunately crashed in testing. I film and photograph intensively while I get to know those who work at the workshop and ask everything I wanted to know about the car and the team.
A few weeks later, I meet the crew from Mannes bil again at the Elmia car exhibition show in Jönköping, and there is one of their beauties. Another 9-5 hatchback that they converted from having the smallest engine and being right-hand driven to now have the largest engine and being left-hand driven. The passion for Saab is clear, regardless of the size of the project! They have driven to Elmia from Sölvesborg with the exhibition car and it goes like a dream. No transport on a car trailer here, Saab cars are meant to be driven.
With such a great team that is so passionate about Saab, one becomes curious about the workshop’s history. They tell me that the premises were built in 1982 to sell the iconic Swedish brand. A few years later, Bilcity, a car company, moved into the building next door, and then the building which now houses Mannes bil became a Saab workshop.
In other words, it has always been Saab spirit in the building and when the last 9-3 and 9-5 cars rolled out of the factory, Mannes bil wanted to equip the cars with all the extras, but it was difficult to get drawings and connection diagrams for the cars. The solution was to disassemble the cars completely to see how they work. Genius!
The workshop has a very good reputation and is extremely well known in the Swedish Saab world, since many of their customers come all the way from the West Coast, Dalarna and Sundsvall to service their Saab at Mannes bil. When I met them, they were working on six cars inside the workshop, and at least ten other cars were outside waiting for service as well. Saab is still well and truly alive!