German, Austrian, and Swiss SAAB drivers meet in the Bavarian Forest
This weekend a large group of SAAB owners from Germany, Austria and Switzerland met for a three day event. It was held at the Schnitzmühle Adventure Camp, in the village of Viechtach in the Bavarian Forest, northwest of Munich. The Bavarian Forest, which straddles the mountains on the Czech border, is rather picturesque, with steep grass covered hills, small villages and hamlets occupying the valleys, and each town with its own Gästhaus (guest house/restaurant/hotel) and Biergarten (beer garden). The plans for the weekend included plenty of barbecue family activities, camping, hiking, and everything else that a day in the German countryside would offer.
The second day of the event, yesterday, was the main SAAB event: on this day all participants would take a six hour drive through the Bavarian Forest, taking off from Viechtach and doing a huge clockwise loop through the forest, visiting some historic points along the way. This was the only day I attended, as with a two month old baby at home I had been afforded only one day off baby duties just to come ride with the SAABs. I woke up very early at six in the morning, and hit the road by seven. It was a two and a half hour drive to Viechtach, and I made it just in time. As I drove in Schinitzmühle the SAABs were driving out the gate, and without shaking hands with some of the drivers I know I just made a U turn, and followed them out.
After driving for about an hour we stopped at the village of Zwiesel where there is an old and famous glass factory, which has been making some of Bavaria’s finest glass items for almost 500 years. We had a demonstration by one of their master glass workers on how to make a chalice and he also made a glass horse for our group. We then toured the glass museum where even fashion dresses made of glass were in exhibit, some costing 30,000 Euro! After we got all the glass we could take we hit the road and climbed to towards the Czech border.
The road took us up high in the mountains by the ski resort of Arber, and at one point we were so close to the Czech Republic that my cell phone gave me a warning I was using a Czech tower and roaming charges would incur. Time to turn off mobile networking! The trees surrounding us gave the telltale signs of autumn, with yellow, green and red leaves mixed everywhere. With no snow up in the hills yet, Germans were out enjoying the last bit of sunshine before winter comes, and were out hiking en masse. The road was windy, steep, and gave my engine, gearbox and brakes a work out. The old 900 didn’t disappoint, although the engine felt weak at higher altitudes as was expected for a car with a quarter kilometers on the original motor.
After about another hour of driving we stopped at a rest area to chat and check out each other SAABs, and after twenty minutes or so we hit the road again. We drove down the mountains, passing by the city of Regen and on to the Deggendorf on the banks of the river Danube. Our destination was an old Catholic church with a famous monastery, where an old library is kept. The library was done in old German Baroque styles with highly detailed plaster works covered in gold paint. The books on the library were ancient works, mostly in Latin, and we were told no photography was allowed. The centerpiece of the library was one of the oldest and best kept bibles printed in German language, dating back to 1477. The book looked to be in remarkable good shape, with the paper still white, displayed under a glass case for us to see. Other books around it were just a few centuries old (babies!) and showed hand drawn pictures of old German cities.
This was the end of the trip for me; I had been driving all day and was already tired with another two hour drive to get home. I said goodbye to the Saabers, got on my 900 and drove home. It was a nice day driving with fellow Saabers visiting the beautiful Bavarian Forest and enjoying one of the last warm weekends of the year. Now onto diaper changing duty at home…
Hitting the Autobahn before sunrise, I got to enjoy the sun warming up my car as it rose. The road was empty at 7 am on a Saturday morning, which is always nice.
With no time to say hello I followed the SAABs out of the gate of the Schnitzmühle Adventure camp. There were almost 40 cars on the ride, and I strategically placed myself halfway through the pack as I didn’t know the route.
Near Arber by the Czech border
SAAB 92 at Kristallglassmanufaktur Theresienthal Gmbh, in the village of Zwiebel
Master glass worker showing us how he does his trade
Working a chalice base
This was very hot from 20 feet away
Saabers watch on
Making a horse out of glass
Horse still glowing
Tools of the trade
Quality = living. Typically German.
The church at Deggendorf
Now on to the cars!
Austrian 900 Aero with Airflow Kit
96 with V4 engine
The car has historical plates (end with H), which means it’s over 30 years old in original condition and fully road worthy.
9-3 convertible. This one has seasonal license plates, good from April to October only (04/10)
9000 CDE 2.3 Turbo
Another 9-3 convertible, this one pretty much my neighbor, they live 5 km away. Also seasonal plates.
Checking out a turbo vert’s engine
Some Saabers came from as far as Austria
Others from Switzerland
One huge SAAB was present. With a 5.3 liter engine this is an extreme gas hog in Germany.
96 drives away
The star of the ride, a two-stroke 92 in immaculate shape
My SAAB? No, this was a ’91 with a 16v non turbo engine. No spoiler either.
Two different interpretations of the same car. White: 8 valve, no turbo, coupe, red velour interior. Black: 16 valve, turbo, convertible, tan leather interior.
9-3 Turbo X with Hirsch package
Swiss 9-3 Aero, aka Viggen in the US
900 Aero SPG
9-3 with rare spoiler
Austrian SAAB 900 Aero with Airflow kit
They drove 400 km to be here
900 Aero convertible with Airflow kit
Young guy with his tuned 9-3 Turbo
9000 Aero in beautiful red
9-3 turbo diesel
A few more pictures in the gallery: SAAB Treffen im Bayerische Wald
This article was originally published on SaabWorld.