German racer Nico Gasparatos will race in historic events in 2021 at the wheel of an ex-Anders Norstedt Saab 900 Turbo.
This version of the iconic Swedish car was raced by Nortstedt in the 1987 and 1988 FIA European Rallycross Championships. When he switched to a new model for the 1989 season, the car was sold to Belgian Kamiel Vereeken who raced it in 1989 before himself progressing to a Sierra Cosworth during 1990.
The Saab was sold to Norway and then, in Gasparatos’ words, “lost for 30 years”. Having hunted for the car, Gasparatos was able to buy it and begin his restoration.
Looking pretty much as it had when Vereeken finished with the Saab in 1989, the car has been subject to a full strip and rebuild. Gasparatos has been able to call on assistance from Norstedt and the Saab museum for his rebuild, the latter involved as Norstedt was a Saab-backed racer in the European championship.
The champion in the 1986 FIA European Rallycross Championship (as he had been in 1984 and ’85), Norstedt started the 1987 season with a new car, but retaining the eight-valve Saab turbo motor.
The Swede won events in Spain and France, but ended the year third in the championship behind new champion Per Ove Davidsson (Volvo 240 Turbo) and Herbert Breiteneder (VW Golf GTi 16v).
The following year brought the same championship result, behind champion Bjorn Skogstad (Sierra Cosworth) and Breiteneder. Again there were two wins, this time Norstedt came out on top in Finland and Holland, by the time of the later race in August the car had been upgraded to run the 16v engine.
In new ownership for the 1989 season, the car appeared in six of the 11 European Championship events with Kamiel Vereeken in control.
The Belgian ended the year 15th in the championship with a best result of third place achieved on home ground at Ingelmunster. Vereeken also won the Belgian Championship in 1989 and used the Saab in the Austrian (placing fifth) and French rounds of the 1990 season before replacing it with the ex-Roger Sandberg Sierra.
Using both cars in his home championship, Vereeken was the Division One champion in Belgium in 1990.
What happened to the car on its three-decade hibernation in Norway is not clear, but it’s apparent lack of use means that Gasparatos was able to buy an original car in relatively good condition.
The German automobile engineer who runs a specialist company in Hamburg is close to finishing his rebuild of the machine which is scheduled to return to the tracks in 2021.
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