The International Saab Club Meeting of 2012 is over and we returned home yesterday.
The trip went very well and we had great fun at Spa. Thanks to Saab Club Belgium for organizing the meeting!
There was some “extra programme” for us on the way back home. Simo Lampinen had arrived to the event with a rental car from Düsseldorf airport. He needed to return the car and then a lift back home to Hamburg which we of course promised to do since we were driving through there anyway. Tikkis and Salla as well as Mirkka and Tero were also going the same way so we decided to form a convoy of sorts just in case anybody got into trouble.
Good thing we did as Tero’s Saab 96 V6 blew a head gasket a few kilometers out of Spa. Tero managed to drive the 96 out of the motorway on to a service station. As it was sunday the station was closed. Tikkis found out the owners of the property lived behind the service station and went to ask if the car could stay on the yard as we arranged someone to pick it up and bring back to Finland. As it happened the couple only spoke French and Italian. None of us did. Except Simo who spoke some Italian as he had driven for Lancia and spent some time there. It took no time for Simo to explain who we were and what our problem was. The couple promised that the car could stay – no problem. Simo also called a few friends of his who happened to be on their way to Europe delivering some cars. It would be no problem to pick Tero’s 96 up on the way back home and bring it to Finland. All sorted.
The next business was to get Simo’s rental back to Düsseldorf so that’s where we headed. The car was returned and we packed everything into my 900 and Simo, Mirkka and Tero squeezed themselves on the back seat. My car doesn’t have air conditioning – thank god for the opening side rear windows at least…
On the way to Hamburg (a 500 kilometer drive) we struck a deal with Tero and Mirkka that we would use their ferry ticket from Travemünde to Helsinki. This way we would not need to drive through Sweden and they would get a part of their costs back. Tero and Mirkka would then fly back to Finland from Hamburg.
In Hamburg we stayed at the Motel Hamburg which is located near Simo’s apartment. It’s truly a car guys place since every room has a parking garage below it. A bit worn place and definitely not luxury but the price was right and it is different from most other hotels.
Simo had invited us for a visit the next day. We organized so that we had plenty of time to familiarize ourselves with Simo’s archives of his racing career. Simo has a very impressive collection of magazine articles and photos from his career that Milli (his wife) collected through Simo’s active career. Simo gave us the permission to copy anything we wanted from the archive for our own www.saabworks.fi -archives. Tikkis organized the stuff for photography and I repro’d all I could and had time for. 5 hours and 1100 frames later we had the most important stuff copied. Thanks to Simo for the opportunity and to Milli for the patience and making us feel very welcome!
After the repro-project it was time to leave for Lübeck and Travemünde to catch our ferry. Tero and Mirkka departed for the Hamburg airport. Simo and Milli send us and Tikkis on our way with goodbyes. We hit a thunder-storm on our way to Lübeck where we had some dinner before boarding the ship. The sea voyage was very nice and quiet. Not a lot of people on the ship and the weather was very warm through the trip. We had full meal tickets so we ate very well and slept a lot.
From Helsinki it was a short two-hour drive to Tampere.
That’s it – very nice trip (a total of more than 2600 kilometers of driving + sea voyages), great weather and fun people to talk to. A great IntSaab-trip.
Here’s some photos: