I spent yesterday (29 November) at the Tata Steel Supplier Day in the surrounds of the magnificent Heritage Motor Centre museum and conference centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire and, even then, the precarious situation at Saab was ever-present.

After the presentations finished I wandered around some priceless examples of British motoring from the origin of the combustion engine but, apart from admiring the glorious collection of motor cars, I was most struck by that part of the exhibition devoted to British Leyland and particularly its slow demise.

The section was particularly poignant given I had just heard Saab GB – Swedish Automobile’s British division – had filed for administration with a potential 120 jobs at stake.

Administrators have already been appointed but it really feels this time, after myriad stop-starts, false dawns, hopes and expectations that have been successively dashed by a toxic cocktail of hurdles, that, well, Saab’s chronic cash shortage could finally finish it off.

It clearly doesn’t help that mature western economies appear at the tipping point of plummeting straight back into recession, seemingly only months after everyone thought the nightmare of 2009 was finally behind them.

Who wants to buy an ailing, catastrophically indebted carmarker that has barely seen an assembly line move an inch since April this year in the teeth of yet another economic storm? That, coupled with the economic environment that comes spiced with the uncharted territory of the potential break-up of the euro and consumer confidence dropping like a stone?

Well, the Chinese were pretty keen at one point and, in my discussions with Youngman, they have consistently maintained they are interested but Saab’s problems are resolutely short-term, never mind grandiose plans for future production and, even, new models.

Saab needs cash and fast, otherwise it could find its administrator Guy Lofalk, itching to pull it out of bankruptcy and thereby throwing it to the vagaries of creditors and unions. Not that there’s much in the kitty mind, this is a company that has tried each and every way to secure funding but to no avail.

The automaker’s plight was echoed for me at the Heritage Motor Centre as the ghosts of British Leyland were brought to life – there was even archive footage of Derek ‘Red Robbo’ Robinson haranguing renegade strikers with the voice-over claiming the militant convenor was responsible for a staggering 520 industrial disputes.

British Leyland is now history and it appears likely Saab will follow although, ironically, the Swedes have managed to pull off the extraordinary feat of maintaining impressively stable industrial relations in the teeth of daily bad news.

Indeed, stoic union support for management has been a remarkable constant in the epic saga but news of Saab GB’s administration has crystallised what for many seems inevitable.

Saab has surfed a huge tidal wave of goodwill but, unless Victor Muller, the administrator Guy Lofalk, thought to be in the US – at General Motors maybe? – and the Chinese can conjure up yet another trick, it seems the automaker will itself form part of a museum archive in the not too distant future.