Torbjorn Zetterlund

Sun 19 2023

Adventures with the Auto Union 1000 and Saab 96 V4 in 1970s Vendelsömalm

by bernt & torsten

Growing up in the vibrant streets of Götabbergvagen 6 in Vendelsömalm, my automotive journey started with a vintage gem – the Auto Union 1000. Purchased from a neighbour, this beauty graced our street for a few years, capturing the attention of passersby. While I never sketched its elegance, I vividly remember the day I attempted to breathe life into its engine.

One fateful day, I decided to replace the battery, unwittingly turning a pristine pair of jeans into casualties of battery acid. My mom’s reaction to the damaged denim was a sight to behold. Looking back, the Auto Union 1000 was a marvel, and little did I know then that this iconic car was a precursor to the birth of Audi.

Auto Union, a merger of four German automobile manufacturers in the 1930s, played a pivotal role in automotive history. The company eventually evolved into Audi, synonymous with luxury and performance today. The journey from Auto Union 1000 to Audi is a testament to the enduring legacy of these iconic vehicles.

The second chapter of my automotive tale unfolded with the Saab 96 V4, a ’67 model that my dad bestowed upon me. Before acquiring my driver’s license, my friends and I would stealthily navigate the streets at night, reveling in the thrill of the open road. The Saab became more than just transportation; it was a canvas for my mechanical aspirations.

Transforming it into a rally car was a highlight of my teenage years. However, one memorable race against a Volvo on Nynasvagen ended abruptly with a blown engine. In a stroke of luck, my friend Sten’s crashed Saab provided a replacement engine, facilitating a quick recovery.

The Saab’s escapades extended to unconventional places, like the under-construction Gudöbroleden. On another daring night, I narrowly evaded the police, weaving through familiar streets – Annebergsvägen, Helenebergsv’gen, and finally, Götabbergvagen. The garage’s sanctuary proved pivotal as the police car passed by, oblivious to the escapade within.

Winter brought its challenges, with icy roads leading to an unforgettable encounter with a fence at the four-way crossing of Klenavägen and miraculously emerging with minimal damage – a leaky radiator and a dented bumper – the Saab’s resilience added to its mystique.

Life as a teenager in the 1970s was a tapestry of rebellious drives, close calls, and unforgettable moments. The Auto Union 1000 and Saab 96 V4 were not just cars but companions on a journey filled with nostalgia and the essence of a bygone era. Stay tuned for the next chapter – the quest for a driver’s license and the following adventures.