Archive for August, 2001

1969 96, My Very First Car

Posted on 23. Aug, 2001 by .


1969 96, My Very First Car

My very first car was a ’69 96. My father’s boss was moving to Tasmania (really)and didn’t think it was worth it to ship the 96 over, so he gave it to me. I was a senior in high school and didn’t quite know what to make of this inverted bathtub looking thing- I was impressed with the disc brakes, I do remember thinking that. The only thing wrong with it was the rear shocks were pushed up into the trunk due to rust. I scabbed on some kind of homemade bracket things and off I went. I FLOGGED THE LIVIN’ CRAP OUT OF THAT CAR FOR 6 YEARS!!! It only stranded me once- the coil went bad. I was absolutely amazed at how it held up. I broke it in half at one point, by jumping it off the ground trying to do a “Streets of San Franciso” impression- it came down hard on the front wheels and the seam by the firewall gave way. Limped home, took some bed rails (yes, actual bed rails) and welded/bolted them the entire length of the car. Got a couple more years out of it. Took it to college! and about 10 of us would pile into it whenever it snowed and go out in big parking lots and do high speed donuts in reverse to make them puke. Rolled a front tire right off the rim a couple of times. One time during the summer, I was working with a guy that had a Camaro with a big motor. We left work at the same time and I wouldn’t let him pass- weaving all over the road. On a big, long downhill, as I was nearing 100mph, one of the belts in a front tire blew. By the time I got the thing stopped, the tire looked like a firestone special- tread pealed off and the steel belt showing. The Camaro was long gone. So I took it easy on the way home… The stories of abuse are endless. “Hello, my name is Eric… and… I… yes, I’m a Saab abuser. I can admit it now…”

So what went wrong with the car other than consumables? Broke the freewheel once coasting backwards down a hill in first, then popping the clutch to do burn-outs. Burned out a clutch or two (surprise!). Had a slave cylinder go bad. That’s about it, other than the slow demise to undercarriage rust. Never had the motor apart. That absolutely sold me on Saabs- if a car could hold up to that kind of abuse, it had to be special. I’ve had a couple around ever since. Worked my way up through 99’s to 900’s, now back down to the vintage Saabs.

In the end, I got nervous about the rust and decided to sell it. No, that’s a lie- my dad got nervous about the rust and put an ad in the paper. I had graduated to a ’76 99EMS at that point. Next thing I new, a pack o’ hippies that were living in some teepees in the woods outside of town were driving off in it. I think he got $400 for it. Saw it on the road for a few more years, getting lower and lower and lower as the body collapsed… So, do you think I baby my Sonett?

Eric Carter, Vermont

Contact Information
New England Saab Association
Post Office Box 119
Keene, New Hampshire 03431


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