Our day started after a good nights sleep in the Hotell Nostalgi with its motoring themed rooms. The Hotel is on the harbor by Vaattern Lake. A stunning location. Paul and I enjoying our breakfast whilst looking out over the water, and agreed that it certainly offered an amusing twist to your standard hotel experience. If you’ve got petrol in your veins, this is definitely a must-do when visiting this part of Sweden.
A nice little bonus for those that book an overnight stay, is that the entrance to Motala Motor Museum is free. The museum itself is fairly compact but also extremely interesting with a varied display of exhibits. It’s not just cars either, but also includes a great collection of classic motorbikes with rarities such as MV Agusta, Douglas and a stunning looking Parilla 175. But it was the radio room that really caught my attention! Never before have I seen such a vast collection of beautiful radios and televisions from yesteryear. But don’t despair, the classic cars are still the main focus. There is everything from run-of-the-mill classics to some rather exotic machinery and they stretch from the first decade of the 20th century up to the 90’s. It’s amazing just how much they’ve managed to squeeze into this space, and it doesn’t matter where you look, some bizaare little piece of automobilia will catch your eye. Paul and I spent a good hour in there and could have easily stayed longer, but we had an appointment…
The owner of Motala Motor Museum had been so kind as to put us in contact with a local workshop called IsoPro, run by a Finn called Seppo and his assistant, German-born Peter. We really needed a car lift to get under the ’66 and inspect the exhaust properly. Both Seppo and Peter were all over the ’66 and more than willing to assist. We found that the hole in the back-box was actually not that big an issue as it had barely punctured the inner skin. Yet! But the front section was slightly bent which made the exhaust knock against the rear subframe, and this accompanied by me the day before yesterday trying to tighten the exhaust with the car parked with one set of wheels on a curb, had perhaps resulted in a less than perfect seal where the center and rear section met. So a bit of heat to the exhaust, some bending and adjusting and suddenly it all seemed well – though the back-box still had a very slight blow. With the car up on a lift, it was also the perfect opportunity to check for a small oil leak from the gearbox area that we had noticed earlier. We found that several of the bolts attaching the gearbox to the engine were not fully tightened. With a spanner check on everything and a top up of the gearbox oil, the little ’66 felt nice and tight again as she had when we first departed Piteaa!
We headed out of Motala using the BP map of Sweden, which we had found in the glovebox of the little BMW. It was dated 1970, so perhaps not totally up to date, but it felt very authentic and so far it had still gotten us where we needed to go. Besides, using a GPS is clearly cheating, and they look horrific stuck in the windscreen of an otherwise beautiful classic car. We were now on to some great back roads and still the weather was on its very best behaviour. Typically though, it happened to be Paul who was behind the wheel when we came across the best section of twisting and winding roads we had seen yet on our trip! Road ‘205’ between Askersund and Laxaa was a blast, and the nippy little ’66 delivered smiles per mile by the bucketlaod. I was slightly jealous…
We arrived at the Saab Car Museum in Trollhattan only to find that the museum was closed on Mondays. UPS! Perhaps we should have planned the trip a bit more anyway? But we happened to come across two of the care-takers from the museum. They were intrigued about the Derby 1600-2 and wanted to know more. A nerdy car chat later, and suddenly the little BMW had opened doors for us! The Saab Car Museum was the exact opposite of Motala. It was big, airy, clean-cut and simplistic. I can’t say that I necessarily prefer one over the other though, as both styles have their right. But in the Saab museum it was all about the cars. And what a collection! Even if one wasn’t already a Saab fan upon arriving, it would be very hard not to be before leaving. Charming little two-strokers in just about every perceivable incarnation, early Turbo engineering, amazing factory rally cars and recent futuristic prototypes – it was all here! I’ve always really liked the petite Sonett II, but to actually see two of the six original open Saab Sonett’s, not to mention the beautifully proportioned ’64 Catherina, in the flesh was really quite amazing!
Leaving the Saab Car Museum I couldn’t help but feel sad that the motoring world has now lost this great and innovative producer. They are sorely missed! But a big thank you should go out to all those who keep the classic Saab’s, the clubs and this beautiful museum alive.
Paul and I decided to get a few more kilometers behind us before calling it a day. We got as far as Gothenburg and had covered about 340km today bringing the total up to 1610km. The thought of checking in to utterly normal hotel was not something we were really looking forward to, as both Tullgarn Palace and Hotell Nostalgi had set pretty high standards. However the mood lightened a bit when we managed to park the ’66 right next to a beautifully restored Volvo PV544 Sport. Best of all – it was on old Dutch number plates, so clearly we weren’t the only ones enjoying an epic roadtrip!