New Saab- friends from Havanna

When I noticed last autumm that winter 2016 Historic rallycalender in Finland was wery poor, I decide to make one dream true before it´s too late- a trip to authentic Havanna, Cuba. If the Cuba open its border more to international tourism (= USA) and business, its clear that some ”old good things” will be destroyed and disappeared forever.

Hole trip was amazing; beautifully country, nice peopple, lowely historically buildings and THE CARS. What a trip for car enthusiast. Old cars, mainly from 50´s are more or less modificated by using parts from different car brands. Good example was an Taxi i took one day;  55´Chevy Bel Air whit SsangYong Musso ”Mercedes” diesel engine and manual gearbox.

One of the car highlights on the trip was when I saw Saab 93-59 near by our hotell. After a typically ”tourist-day” I walked back to the adress I saw that long-standing Saab, took some photos and knock the door. I met the owner, Rolando, who show the car for me. We dont have common language, I cant spanish, and Rolando didnt understand english. Whit help his wife, we managed to communicate anyway little bit. He has own the car long time, and as a many cuban, he has faced problems with spare parts. Original 2-stroke engine has burned long time ago (he has that stored in home), and powerplant swap has made by using 3-sylinder fourstroke Daewoo engine and gearbox. Brakes, Wheelbearings and wheels are from Fiat..

Later last week, day before leaving, I met Rolando second time. This time I got ride to my hotell with his Saab. While driving (he first ask me if I like to drive! Thanks Rolando, maybe next time ) he joking that their car is more or less as a Swedish Kamikaze. Brakes ? Well something like rally V4 after long Special stage and brake pads totally wearn out. Steering then ? some allignment might be good, but is there in the country any workshops whit measurement tools or knowledge ?   I must say, it was illustrative experience; how this tiny, round 60- year old rought Saab serve one family as a everyday car sametime when we in western world wonder how we can connect our iPad to our modern car´s entertainment system.

Is this all in balance ??

Thanks Roly & co for sharing this SAAB experience. Old Saab´s newer die !

Here some photos:


Lightly modificated 93 tail.


Fourstroke 3-sylinder Daewoo gasoline engine. Notice original Saab shortnose 2t- fan shaft is still in use.


The original Saab interior is despite dashboard totally demolished. Also seatings are from some other car. Despite that fact, owners looks happy as do many cuban´s also. They might have more spirityual values in their life than western peopple ??


Door uppholstery has disappeared long time ago. As well as door glas. Its plexiglas nowdays, put lifting mekanism is out of order. Anyway, door is good storage for spare parts and tools which needs daily. I have promised myself to find out glas lifting mekanism. It would be possible to send it to Cuba, and it will help familys daily use of the car.
































Rolando & wife whit their Saab 93- 59 and souvenir from Finland; Saab Club of Finland club magazine SAABISTI

Written by Tikkis

Contact Tikkis at :: Phone: +358 400 969696 :: E-mail:

See all posts by

Leave a Reply