It’s fitting that fishing reel maker Abu Garcia began near the banks of the Mörrum River, one of Sweden’s favorite places to fish. But in 1921, when Carl August Borgström started the company, its first products were watches and other precision timing devices.

That focus changed in the late 1930s, when Borgström’s son Göte took over the company. Göte, you see, was an avid fisherman as well as a mechanical engineer, and his interests, coupled with depressed demand for his company’s products, prompted him to shift gears.

Göte’s first fishing reel was the Abu Record, produced in 1941. After World War II, the company made an ice-fishing reel called the Pimpel—they were cheap at the time but are scarce, rare, and expensive for collectors today.

Abu Garcia’s most famous fishing reel, the Record Ambassadeur Model SG, arrived in 1952. From the beginning, the reel was hugely popular, quickly gaining a worldwide following. Purists believe the reel should be red, as apparently preferred by Göte Borgström himself, but his company made the reels in red, green, black, and even gold, which gives collectors more to acquire today. The Ambassadeur family of vintage fishing reels includes the original SG, followed by the 5000, 5500, and 6000.

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