x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Top 5: Swede rides

Sweden? Sure, we know it for Abba and meatballs, but it's not an area that exactly jumps to mind for cars. But this cold Scandinavian country has produced its fair share of cool rides.

Volvo P1800

The two-seater Volvo P1800 has assumed cult status as one of the very few desirable Swedish cars of the 1960s, partly thanks to its starring role as Roger Moore's company car in the hit television series The Saint, which was broadcast in more than 60 countries. A P1800S, owned by American Irv Gordon (above) since 1966, holds the world record for distance covered, having almost 4.8 million kilometres on its odometer; the equivalent of driving to the moon and back six times. A smart-looking estate version, known as the P1800ES, was also produced.

Saab 900 Turbo

Turbocharging had been around in race cars and limited production road cars for a while, but it took Saab to bring this technology to the masses in 1978 with the legendary 900 Turbo. Saab's chief engineer, Pelle Gillbrand, who led the project, used to explain that all engines have a fuel pump, a water pump and an oil pump - so why not an air pump? He argued that an air pump is all a turbo really is and he thought it strange that all engines didn't have one. We like that kind of thinking.

Koenigsegg CCX

This was the Swede that really broke the mould. The country's first bona fide supercar was introduced in 2006 after an initial run of pre-production models and the CCX went on to set a number of world records, some of which it still holds. With a top speed of 389kph, it was the world's fastest road car - until the Bugatti Veyron was launched - but it's still notorious for getting the fastest speeding ticket in the US, with its driver allegedly clocked doing its top speed in a 120kph zone in west Texas.

Saab Sonett 3

Looking like it was designed with every 70s cliché in the book, 1970's Sonett 3 was Saab's last "proper" sports car. Pop-up headlamps (operated manually with a lever in the cabin)? Check. Sloping rear roofline? Check. Power bulge on the bonnet? Check. Only the performance didn't live up to the looks and the Ford V4 under that bulge was only sufficient for a 0-100kph time of 13 seconds and a top speed of 165kph. Still, it looked the part and Saab's design team hasn't come up with anything like it since.

Husqvarna

A name normally associated with, err, chainsaws, Husqvarna did actually try its hand at car production in the 1940s but decided against it. Since the late 1800s, the company has been producing vehicles with two wheels, becoming known for tough enduro and motocross off-road motorcycles. Many championships have been won on the bikes, known as "Huskies", but they stopped being Swedish in 1987 when the company was sold to Italian firm Cagiva. In 2007, Husqvarna was bought by BMW for €93m (Dh489m).