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by Tim Beissmann

Saab fans around the world have chipped in to save the last Saab 9-3 ever produced.

Enthusiast website Saabs United launched a campaign late last month calling on fans of the brand to donate what they could to help purchase the car.

In little more than a week, around 600 enthusiasts raised more than enough to buy the Arctic White 9-3 Griffin to ensure the piece of automotive history is placed in the Saab Cars Museum – proving that while the company may be dead, the passion is still very much alive.

The incomplete 9-3 was taken off the stalled production line at Trollhattan, Sweden in February and transported to neighbouring special cars production facility ANA. Together with 49 other cars, it is being assembled by ANA and ex-Saab employees and is due to be completed soon.

The specific car is equipped with a 132kW/400Nm 1.9-litre twin-turbocharged diesel engine and a six-speed manual transmission. It features a black leather interior and has been fitted with a number of optional features including a Bose premium audio system, carbonfibre interior package, power front seats, parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers and a spare wheel.

Saabs United said the donations easily surpassed its retail price of US$48,672 ($47,760), and confirmed a “substantial amount” raised beyond that would be donated to the museum.

The website claims this is the first time any automotive enthusiast group has called on its members to dig deep and successfully save the last car of its kind.

The effort has not gone unnoticed, with former Saab chairman and CEO Victor Muller congratulating everyone involved in the campaign.

“Such good news that you managed to fund the purchase of the last Saab to be built (for the time being that is) with the help of so many enthusiasts,” Muller wrote in a letter to Saabs United.

“It proves again what a loyal and dedicated following our brand has and I am convinced this support will continue in the future.”

Production of Saab vehicles stopped in April 2011 after the manufacturer failed to pay its suppliers and employees. The company filed for bankruptcy in December and remains in the hands of receivers.




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