Enthusiast Drives the Only Saab 95 De Luxe “Bullnose” in Poland
Tomasz Szwejkowski lives in Warsaw, Poland, and is a big Saab fan. This 1961 Saab 95 De Luxe with a two-stroke engine is the second in his collection of the marque, and it probably won’t be his last. We asked him some questions to get to know him, his car, and the Polish car scene better.
Q: How long have you owned this Saab?
A: This Saab has been in my family since the middle of last year, but I first drove it in September 2013. It took more than a year to rebuild it and complete all the registration documents.
Q: How did you come to find out about and acquire the Saab?
A: This is my second Saab – I fell in love with a previous model (96) and this is just a very rare addition to the collection. When I found this 95 model, I decided straight away that I need to drive it one day.
Q: The Saab wagon is rare. How rare is it? What attracted you to the wagon?
A: It is a very rare model – the bullnose version was produced only for couple of years. It is the only one driving in Poland. I can’t tell how many is there in Europe, but there definitely are not many (I am hoping the find this out this number during the International Saab Meeting that will be held in Poland in 2014).
Q: How would you describe what it’s like to drive your car?
A: It is an excellent feeling, of course. I can’t imagine people in the 1960s daily driving such cars. It must have been like a paradise with these two-stroke engines everywhere. Today I feel almost like a VIP – everyone points at me (or the car) and takes pictures.
Q: How often do you drive the Saab?
A: I drive it only when the weather is fine, so I fully depend on the weather forecasts. During the summer I try to drive it every two or three days – even if I have time only for a 30-minute drive.
Q: Where do you love to drive it?
A: Everywhere – except dirt roads and traffic jams. Of course, the best environment is an empty road outside the city, where I can be close to the nature and away from everyday problems.
Q: Do you do the mechanical work on the car yourself?
A: I do not have to – the car is not willing to break down, but if there is anything that needs to be fixed, I work on the car with my father.
Previously I was unfortunately not able to restore the whole car by myself, but luckily there is a place in Poland where old Saabs get their second chance: a shop in the Southern Poland city of Kańczuga Southern Poland, where the team of enthusiasts work hard to bring these beautiful cars back to the streets of Poland and other European countries.
Q: What is your favorite thing about the car?
A: The Saab 95 is built different than cars nowadays. It is a three-door estate with seats for seven people (including two seats in the trunk). Also, the smell of a two-stroke engine is something that I fell in love with. I just can’t wait to see it or drive it again.
Q: Are there any other classic cars you would love to own someday?
A: Like everyone, I have some classic cars dreams. One of the is Saab Sonett II with a two-stroke engine, which is a very rare and hard-tp-find model. However, owning another classic car would make it very hard for me to choose which one to drive, so for now I will probably stay with the two Saabs that I already own.
Q: When and how did you begin loving classic cars?
A: This happened due to my father. A couple of years ago, he decided that he wants to buy a car with a two-stroke engine that he used to drive when he was young. When I first smelled it, I immediately fell in love. With every kilometer driven, I became more and more happy and could not wait for another drive.
Q: How do you keep this passion for your Saab alive?
A: The fact that I have these two Saabs is enough to show that I keep my passion for Saabs alive. I am trying the keep in touch with other Saab enthusiasts from Poland and other countries. We meet for Saab trips or just sit and talk about our cars.
Q: What is the classic car scene like in your area?
A: Classic cars have gotten more popular in the past two years in Poland. There are many “barn finds” of cars that were hidden and in nearly brand-new conditions. Classic car meet-ups are getting more popular and frequent in most of the big cities in Poland – there is a group of enthusiasts always willing to meet, talk, and show their cars.
Of course the most popular cars are the ones that were produced in Poland in the past. Today we do not have any Polish cars that are still being produced, therefore it is a great that people tend to keep the old models alive.
I’m part of the SAAB GT Classic Club, which gathers owners of classic Saabs together. This not only gives me a chance to see other great Saabs but also to talk with other people who care about classic Saabs in the same way I do.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: This particular model is not an ordinary model. This car is based on a rally car that famous Swedish driver Erik Carlsson drove in 1961 Rallye Monte Carlo. He managed to get fourth position which is the highest ever taken by the estate car. I would like to commemorate this event by building a car that would be as close to the original as possible. I am hoping to show this car to Erik Carlsson in 2014 when he (probably) will come to visit Poland.