Phil Lacefield Jr. horrifies other Saab owners by driving his 1966 Saab Monte Carlo on a regular basis. Lacefield shrugs off the criticism. What does it matter if there's only four left in the country? "It's got four wheels, it needs to be driven," he said simply.
Lacefield was one of about a dozen owners of classic Saabs and Volvos displaying their vehicles at the Swedish Cultural Center on Saturday, June 5. The car show was organized by member Dick Libby as part of the Center's celebration of Swedish National Day.
Libby, who is also a member of several Volvo owners' clubs and the Queen Anne High School class of '61, said the idea for a show at the Center came from another member who saw his cars at the Greenwood Car Show last year. Libby said as they talked about the idea more, they found that several other members owned old Swedish cars. He coordinated with members of the Center, as well as Volvo and Saab owners clubs, to find cars to showcase.
The show is in its second year, and Libby hopes to continue it annually. He said the show has received positive responses from community members, and brings back vivid memories for many, particularly Swedish emigrants. One woman last year asked to sit in the back seat of one car because her last view of Stockholm as a child had been through the rear window of a Volvo.
"A lot of the Scandinavians in Seattle have strong memories of these old Volvos and Saabs from when they lived in Sweden, or maybe back in the '60s when they owned one. This is an opportunity for them to come and remind themselves how beautiful the cars were," Libby said.
The cars are also renowned for their reliability. Lacefield rescued his Saab from an airplane hangar where it had been sitting for 17 years, owned by a friend of his family. In a triumph of Swedish engineering, Lacefield said he had no trouble getting the car running. "It was great, we put air in the tires and gas in the tank and it fired right up," he recalled.
Lacefield bought the car in 1999 and has been driving it ever since, with little restoration other than replacing engine parts. Despite having an engine smaller than an average motor scooter with only seven moving parts, Lacefield says he has no trouble getting around town, even up Queen Anne hill.
The Swedish Cultural Center has weekly and monthly events, from Friday matinees to a celebration on June 18 of the Swedish princess' wedding. Membership coordinator Amanda Boyle says members range from emigrants, Swedish-Americans looking to get in touch with their history, or those who are just interested in Swedish culture.
Boyle says the Center is a fun place full of history that anyone can enjoy. "It has the best view of Lake Union in the summertime, and one of the freshest places you can come to get a drink on Friday."[[In-content Ad]]