Just like last year, SAABs have completely dominated the Carlisle Import Nationals. In terms of plain numbers, SAABs led the way with 251 cars on the show field and 310 registered attendees, with Audi being a distant second with around a hundred cars. And then it was downhill from there, with every other marque gathering upwards of four dozen cars at best.
And once again, by the end of the day I had grown so envious of the SAAB club’s organization and activities, that I wished I had driven a SAAB to Carlisle this year just to be able to get food that were being served in their tent. Perhaps next year, perhaps next year. Just need to find a SAAB first. But right now, let’s take a look at the Swedish cars that gathered at last weekend’s Carlisle Import and Kit Nationals, and not just SAABs.
This was my hands down favorite SAAB at the Carlisle Import & Kit Nationals this year, a brilliantly maintained 900 Turbo. The overall presentation gave the impression that this car was brand new inside and out, right down to the stark black plastic on the bumpers. If this was in the car corral, I think I would have been seriously tempted to blurt out a number. Hemmings Associate Editor Mark McCourt and I both went “Whoooaahh!” when we saw this example on the show field.
This was a charming old SAAB 93, with the passenger serving as rally navigator. All 93s of course sound like Japanese motorcycles, but this one sounded like a really loud Japanese motorcycle as its exhaust system has clearly been messed with. Or was removed entirely. Either way, this was one my favorite 93 this year from the SAAB region of the field.
There was no shortage of SAAB 99s at Carlisle this year, and this was one of my favorite models, even if the fog lights do dominate the front fascia quite a bit. This exampple was really clean inside and out and wore some snazzy paint.
One of the nicest Volvo Amazons at Carlisle this year was this station wagon fitted with the optional roof rack. The vintage Volvo turnout at Carlisle grew noticeably this year, with upwards of 15 different Volvo Amazons on the field alone.
This was a nicely kept 142 accessorized with many period Volvo racing accessories. Back in the day the dealer catalog was full of rally-style parts, and one could order up quite an impressive number of lights and wings.
This was basically so cool that I don’t even need to say anything, and I’ll just leave this here. No drooling on the keyboard!
Here’s another sharp 142, this time the GT model. Like the yellow example a few cars above, this one was accessorized with a number of original Volvo dealer catalog items. This is an earlier model than the yellow example, with extruded “refrigerator” grab handles.
This was a ridiculously original early 244 sedan in seemingly as-new condition. If this had been in the car corral, I think I would have needed to rent a trailer and hitch pronto, or else just leave my car in Carlisle and drive this gem home. The vintage New Jersey plate here was a nice touch. When was the last time you’ve seen a quad-light 244 or 245 just tooling around in traffic?
This was another tidy Volvo 142 i a charming light blue color. These cars make great starter classics, and are quite easy to service. I still can’t decide which of the three fascia variants of the 140 series cars is my favorite.
This 1990 SAAB 900S was one of the best surprises of Carlisle 2013, at least as Swedish car fans were concerned. Look closely and you’ll note that the steering wheel is on the wrong (or right, depending on where you’re reading Hooniverse) side of the dash. This example was recently imported from the UK, but I will hedge that statement by noting that it did not display a US plate anywhere and may merely be touring the country. Which would make far more sense overall since this car is very much a 1990 model year example.
This was a fantastic looking P1800, in what I maintain is the best color for any 1970s car. Except a Cadillac. Or an UAZ. Perhaps I’ll haveto revise my statement regarding this color to something like “best color for any small to midsize western and eastern European passenger car.” Once again, thankfully this car was in the show field as opposed to the car corral. Otherwise I might have had some ‘splainin to do when I arrived back home in a different, and much older car that I left in.
This was another nice P1800, this time in a dark shade of red. I am not sure if the export plate indicates that this ca was recently brought into the country, or if it’s wearing it just for kicks. This was a very nicely preserved example, inside and out.
Perhaps the oldest Swedish car at Carlisle 2013 was this PV544, in a wonderful faded green color. The paint on this particular example was just fantastic in person, and the chrome appeared excellent as well. A spectacularly detailed car all around.
This was a nice Amazon wagon, and one of several that appeared at Carlisle this year. The whole Volvo contingent grew pretty noticeable this year, and it was nice to see a number of well restored Amazons in every body variant.
That’s it for Swedish cars, and next time we’ll be taking a look at the French cars that gathered at Carlisle this year.
Massive gallery from Carlisle Import Nationals below:
[Images: Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Jay Ramey]