This year the Saabfest was in August rather than the
last weekend of July this avoided the usual clash
with the SHVR summer rally.
Saabfest is the re-branded national rally of the Saab
Owners Club made more family friendly. This year
was a little bit more motorhead heavy. The club
had put their name down for a weekend at Prescott
Hill Climb circuit, a very prestigious track in
Gloucestershire. When we were offered the opportunity to use the
facilities when another club dropped out, it was too good an opportunity to
The Friday afternoon after a short briefing of the side manager of Prescott
Hill the Orchard was set out for the Saturday car display of each Saab
model the signage and marquee was erected in record time by the dozen
The Saturday saw the influx of Saabs, we had 120 pre-bookings but in the
end we had more than 300 cars attending causing some issues with space.
Some very special cars were present a prototype 92, Saab 96-ish based on
9-3 drivetrain, the overall winner of the NEC 2018 restoration show (Saab
96), race prepared Saab 9-3 and Saab
95 (old) with electronic injection and
turbo and hill climb prepared Saab
Sonett 2 stroke 850cc 85bhp that
screamed as a cat on fire.
The next day was given over to the hill
climb event. Everyone going on the course had to sign their lives away and attend safety briefing, driver and
passenger alike. The safety briefing was interesting but also worrying
especially the 2 hairpins and the infinity corner with a steep drop off.
I took my Saab 96 up the hill at a good pace but well past the record time
of 36 seconds. How fast I don't know, we were not timed, possibly to
prevent accidents. The experience was exciting, luckily the day went
without a hitch other than that the Race prepared Sonett sprang a fuel leak
in the engine bay. Some cars might have returned home with a lot less
rubber on their tyre especially the white 93 which was hitting the rev
limiter in second gear with hardly any forward motion, clutch control is a
My dream ride, in return for a donation to the Caerphilly hospice, was
being taken round the circuit in the hill climb prepared Sonett.
Photographs and article by:
Ron van Heeswijk