4 April 2014

Sabb 95 Van - Delivered By Saunders

Andy Saunders, a man with a creative bent like few customisers this side of George Barris, Franco Sbarro or Darryl Starbird. The diversity of his car building portfolio seems to know no bounds: a stepside Escort pickup, a shortened Mini, a flattened Mini, a Citroën CX with a swoopy hand-made body, a road-going speedboat, a super-cool Volvo lowrider, a re-imagined Bentley Mulsanne, the Nissan Deltawing replica, the recreation of the Ford X-2000... the list is almost endless. But he is also pretty handy at straight restorations; the painstaking rebuild of the one-off Aurora Safety Car and concours restos of a Cord 810 and Mulliner Park Ward Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud are other highlights from a very prolific career. Well, this car is a bit of a red herring, as it wasn't actually restored by Andy, but he did add his own little touch to the car, as we will see. And why let the facts get in the way of a good intro?
A Saab van? Yes, you heard right; the Saab 95 2T delivery van was a special export version for a few markets, produced without rear seats and rear side windows. A few V4 versions survive in the UK, but this two-stroke version seems to be the only survivor of three imported by Saab GB in the Sixties, given to select dealers to run as service vehicles. 
After being in use from 1962 until the mid-80's, it was left outside behind the particular dealer it was assigned to (Saab of Slough, curiously enough); at one point it was partially dismantled and many of the outer panels were removed and stored inside the van. It was discovered after many years at the dealership in very sorry state by an enthusiast who bought it in 1991, intending to conduct a full restoration. After amassing a large stock of spares, the car was swapped for spares for a 1934 Vauxhall 12hp he was restoring and the new owner completely restored the 95 to show quality condition from 2000 to 2001 - something quite unexpected for a humble, if rare, service vehicle.
Andy Saunders acquired the van in 2004 and while it had already been restored, he added the original Saab livery to the doors, to bring it back to the exact look it had in a photo taken outside Saab of Slough’s main parts depot in 1962. Since restoration, it has been featured in print and was sold at auction in 2008.

- Mr Fabulous

The van in 'as found' condition, but with the panels re-attached:

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