Journal: Enthusiast Drives the Only Saab 95 De Luxe "Bullnose" in Poland

Enthusiast Drives the Only Saab 95 De Luxe “Bullnose” in Poland

By Petrolicious Productions
November 14, 2013

Photography by Paweł Skrzypczyński (Facebook / Flickr)

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.

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4 years ago

I’ve only just found this article, what a lovely car – and shown with excellent photographs. Does anyone have any contact details for these Saab restoration guys in Poland?

Jörgen Trued
Jörgen Trued
8 years ago

The reason why Saab competed with a wagon was because that was the first model with 4 speed gearbox. The sedan had a 3 speed only.

9 years ago

I had read this story when it posted awhile back. Last Wednesday night, while in the parking lot of my local Whole Foods, I looked up and saw the same model Saab. I tried to take a couple of photos, but the light was insufficient to capture anything meaningful. I must say, the car is truly unique; I’d never noticed anything like it before. Very interesting lines. Thanks Petrolicious for bringing many of these unusual (for me) vehicles to our attention.


Kevin Bakos
Kevin Bakos
9 years ago I came across this article and this add in the same day thought I would share!

Piotr Orlanski
Piotr Orlanski
9 years ago

Piękne auto. I zdjęcia. Byłoby super kiedyś zobaczyć jak jedziesz przez miasto. Albo pod miastem.
Pozdrowienia z Falenicy!

9 years ago

Truly beautiful. Increasingly I start to appreciate these (now rare) daily drivers of their time more than I do appreciate exotics like ´60s ferraris or similar level period competitors. It´s not that I´m putting down exotics, but I´m pretty sure that, in the way I understand the classic car owning experience today, having evolved in tastes and being more open minded, a car like this saab might be more enjoyable for the classic car lover than those million dollar exotics one lusted after when first approaching to the classic car world.

Todd Cox
Todd Cox
9 years ago
Reply to  ik1

I agree with you about the increasing appeal of much more pedestrian car from days gone by. It isn’t surprising to find that folks babied their supercars or rare-when-produced machines, but it is a much less common occurrence to find an aging daily driver that has been restored or well kept.

A car that fit in the average family’s budget had a job; it was a workhorse. Much like trucks, they were seldom babied or cherished for their beauty but they all had deep and meaningful stories. Even the designers and engineers understood this and often had to think of design in terms of use and not purely aesthetics. No Lamborghini Countach ever brought a crib home for the newborn. No young child ever dropped their ice cream cone in the back seat of a Ferrari 250 GTO. No Jaguar E-Type ever made the long, arduous haul of a full family and the dog, while pulling a trailer across the country to a soldier’s next duty station. The world was built on the ‘common’ car’s back.

The much more common (and thus disposable) cars are the true gateways to our past. Even though the world that these cars now live in has changed, the experience when you get behind the wheel of a common classic has not. You’re suddenly transported through time and are experiencing the same tactile elements that the original owner did; and perhaps reliving some of their memories. I don’t know how many times I’ve cleaned a used car up after purchasing it and finding coins and receipts, or scraps of paper that must have had vital information on them; all hints to a life lived in the car. To me, it makes me want to preserve the car all the more. They are our time machines. And this car is an incredible example. I salute those who understand the beauty in the people’s cars. They tell a story that people can relate to. They tell us about ourselves. They tell us where we came from.

9 years ago

Beautiful car and photos! Thanks guys!

Pawel Skrzypczynski
Pawel Skrzypczynski
9 years ago
Reply to  aircooled1

Thanks! It was a real pleasure to shoot this vintage SAAB.

I enclose the photo of the 96 mentioned in the text.