SAAB Cape Cod – Kurt Vonnegut’s dealership photos

Posted on 23. Apr, 2007 by in 1950-1959, 1960-1969, 2000-2009, 93, 95, 96, Dealerships, New England

As a follow-up to the previous posting that featured an advertisement from SAAB Cape Cod, I have provided some incredible photography that brings this SAAB & Kurt Vonnegut affiliation mystery, closer to fact than fiction.

In an effort to uncover more information about the SAAB dealership known as SAAB Cape Cod, an individual in the West Barnstable area of Cape Cod, Massacchusetts has recently provided some wonderful present day photographs for us to enjoy.

I also understand that some vintage photography will be coming our way shortly, so please check back often.

Thank you Mark for your investigative photo journalism.

What: SAAB Cape Cod

Who: Kurt Vonnegut, Sales Manager

When: 1957 – 1961

Where: Route 6A- Main Street- in West Barnstable, Massachusetts (USA) near the intersection with Parker Street (and Plum Street).

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Photo Credit: Mark

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Photo Credit: Mark

kurts-old-saab-dealership-interior-as-reconstructed-today-2_600.jpg

Photo Credit: Mark

kurts-old-saab-dealership-interior-as-reconstructed-today_600.jpg

Photo Credit: Mark

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Image Credit: Google Earth

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4 Responses to “SAAB Cape Cod – Kurt Vonnegut’s dealership photos”

  1. Mark Bourbeau

    26. Apr, 2007

    I can confirm that Kurt Vonnegut was the owner/dealer rather than just a manager as we think of one today. The Cape was a “smaller scale” place in those days, compared to now. Whether he had another financial backer, I just don’t know, but from discussions overheard within my family, he was the owner. He enlisted my father, an artist, to man the dealership, where he could draw & paint while waiting for customers during that time in sleepy West Barnstable on Ol’ Cape Cod. I remember being in the car when my dad got dropped off there; also keeping him company there. I was about 6. I never saw anyone else there, other than Kurt (occasionally) or my dad. I’m not sure if he had anyone else to cover other hours, but I don’t think they had too many customers ever. Kurt gave my family a demo car to use, although, whatever it did in Sweden, it broke down several times in the New England winter that year (1958-9).
    As can be seen from the photos, the building has been changed somewhat, with more modern doors & windows. It has also been renovated inside (I believe the large ceiling beams are original, although they weren’t painted white at the time- I remember it as being rather dim-lit).
    I think that the dealership was gone by 1959.

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  2. Freeman Crosby

    30. Aug, 2009

    I am very familiar with Kurt’s SAAB dealership in West Barnstable, he was situated in a portion of Atwood’s garage, Mark’s photo is of the building after it was remodeled by Cranes’ Duplicating Service.

    I ran a Mobil service station in Barnstable Village during this period and made many service calls to start the SAAB & other vehicles at Kurt’s home.

    I also remember service calls to Mark Bourbeau’s parents as well.

    I think these experiences led me to give up foreign car service shortly thereafter.

    Freeman Crosby

    Reply to this comment
  3. Ryan

    31. Aug, 2009

    Freeman,

    Hello. Thank you very much for your contribution.

    Do you happen to have any original photographs of the facility that also show SAABS? Please let me know. I think it would be great to get those photographs preserved and up and online at this time.

    Best,

    Ryan

    Reply to this comment
  4. James Greenberg

    08. Oct, 2018

    Mark Borbeau, did you ever get the feeling that your dad was Vonnegut’s inspiration for the Rabo Karabekian character?

    Reply to this comment

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