Written by Tom Donney
April 24, 2013
As many of you know when Saab Cars North America (SCNA) went bankrupt in February 2012 they had thirteen of the former General Motors Heritage Collection cars in their own collection. Ten of these cars were put up for bid as a group which Bill Jacobson and I where able to acquire and split, five cars each. Our goal has been to keep these cars together and try to avoid a split up of the collection into individual cars, since together they still represent a piece of Saab and even General Motors heritage.
Which brings us to the missing three cars from the SCNA Heritage Collection;
Red 1964 Quantum IV, which had an ownership concern at the time of the sale in February, which required it to be pulled from the sale in the eleventh hour. With the help of Chip Lamb, Tom Letourneau, Bill & Carol Ann Jacobson and Randy Cook, and several others, this issue was resolved. I was then able to acquire the car in April of this year and it was shown most recently at the Saab Owners Convention (SOC12) in Iowa City, Iowa in August. I think it is a great original example of Walter Kern’s Quantum design with a Saab two stroke engine fitted.
Also missing from the February sale where a blue 1970 Sonett III and a black 1985 SPG both restored by CAS when GM still owned the Heritage Collection. Both of these cars had been used for a Saab Promotional event in the summer of 2011 and were still in possession of the promotional management company called Event Solutions International (ESI) at their Los Angles offices. SCNA had tried to get the cars returned to them at Detroit but ESI had refused to release the cars given SCNA shut down and looming bankruptcy. SCNA still owed ESI a very large sum of money and ESI was holding the cars for payment.
After buying the first lot of ten SCNA Heritage cars I received a lot of emails and phone calls from people trying to locate these missing two cars. Several people want to buy them for a birthday present for a teenager or to use as a daily driver. I know cars are “made to be driven”, but these two cars had been restored to such a high level, I think they qualify as true pieces of Saabs history now. The money GM spent on these two car’s restoration would be unheard of by any normal person or collector. Truly they represented the finest restoration work ever done on Saabs. And I have no issues with people restoring a car to perfection and driving it, just not these two! Some cars need to be persevered to show case their heritage for future generations to see, and most of the GM/SCNA cars meet that criteria in my view. Also, all owners of collectible cars are only temporary custodians, care takers, of their cars. Someday, old mother time will require they all will pass onto other hands.
With that said, once I figured out the whole situation and all the players involved I begin to contact them on a regular basis through emails, phone calls, and text messages. I was fortunate that the president of ESI, John Thompson, was truly a “car guy” and wanted the cars to get into a collector’s hands. To go along with that, Jim Sweeting, VP of SCNA, and Tim Colbeck, president of SCNA, both wanted to keep the SCNA collection together if possible. The help of these men finally paid off and although it took a lot of time, I was finally able to get an offer through the bankruptcy court and get the cars purchased. Once I had official ownership of the cars, John Thompson allowed me to take possession with out any conflict and have them shipped to Iowa in late August. ESI and their staff were true professionals in all my dealings, many thanks to them. But really it was the work of Jim Sweeting and Tim Colbeck that allowed me to purchase these cars. Special thanks to both of these fine men for all their efforts.
I was able to sign the paper work at the SOC12 and have slowly started to get the word out that these cars are now reunited with five of the other GM/SCNA Heritage Cars. If you are ever in Iowa, swing on into Fort Dodge and have a look. I love to show them off. Heck, I have only seen the Blue Sonett once a couple years ago and have NEVER seen the Black SPG. I am away till late November coaching football at Black Hills State in Spearfish, South Dakota and cannot wait to see it myself! Also if anyone has some history on these two cars that would be nice to have also!!
As always, thanks for reading and Safe Saab’in! Tom Donney