The Vabis name was the abbreviation of Vagnfabriks Aktiebolaget i Södertelge, which translates to Wagon Factory Limited Company of Södertälje. Founded in the industrial city of Södertelge - now known as Södertälje - and owned by Surahammars Bruk AB, the company was established in 1891 originally to build railway carriages.
The company branched out into other emerging markets including trucks, marine engines and cars before merging with Maskinfabriks-aktiebolaget Scania in 1911 to form Scania-Vabis, which then ultimately became the Scania you know of and are familiar with today.
pivotal building block in Scania’s history
As well as a pivotal building block in Scania’s history, the vehicle that completed the run is the fourth of its kind ever made – and currently the earliest working vehicle designed by Gustaf Erikson, widely regarded as ‘the father of the Swedish automobile industry’.
Over the last three years, car restoring enthusiast group, Aros Motorveteraner, based in Västerås, Sweden, have worked hard to restore the vehicle with the ultimate aim of completing the exclusive 60-mile Bonhams Veteran Car Run.
“We have worked extremely hard over the last three years to make the car functional, when we first got it, it wasn’t working at all. It was always our aim to bring the car to take part in the London to Brighton run as it’s an extremely prestigious event.”
Aros Motorveteraner member
The Vabis 1903 was displayed at the Regent Street Motor Show for thousands of visitors to view up close. The country’s biggest free-to-view motor show is used as the curtain-raiser to the run. After a day being surrounded by crowds of visitors, the Vabis was awarded the Judges’ Overseas award at the Concours d’Elegance awards ceremony, presented by well-known gardener and television broadcaster, Alan Titchmarsh. The team also collected the Harrods Heritage Award on the same event in recognition of the best restoration or heritage project at the prestigious Harrods Participants’ Reception supported by Hagerty.
Bo continues: “It is hard to believe that the car received as much attention as it did at the event, we are extremely proud to be associated with it. We are very happy to have won the restoration award too after seeing hundreds of perfectly restored cars in the run.
“A big thank to Surahammars Bruk, Scania and the Swedish Embassy who kindly have supported the event and the Surahammar Community, who has supported the restoration which helped us make this a reality.”
“Well, what can I say about that? I’m used to writing about and driving in trucks and this was something else. I know Scania has a reputation for longevity but 115 years is extreme – that’s two years old that CM! Last year I compared a Scania S-series and a Bentley and it was surprisingly easy to draw similarities, but it’s not so easy with this. One similarity is the enthusiasm and passion surrounding it. If this was a modern Scania at a truck show then that would be pulling in the crowds too.”