Archive for 'Saab Stories'
Posted on 21. Nov, 2007 by Ryan.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Olson
Greg Abbot, a devoted Saab Enthusiast who hails from Minnesota the land of Swedish Immigrants, E-85 and Saabs has recently provided Saab History a nice writeup of his account of his recent rallycross victory in his Saab 9-5 Aero.
Greg and four others that frequent the Saab Link forum participated in what is titled the “Dirty Jack-O-Lantern Rallycross”; which is located near Cannon Falls, Minnesota.
Here is his writeup in his own words:
Tue, 20 Nov 2007
RallyCross Victory for a Saab 9-5 Aero
By Greg Abbot
Sunday I and few other local Saab nuts went down and competed in the last Land o’ Lakes Club SCCA RallyCross event of the season – which consisted of a 1.4 mile run on a dirt course set up in a soybean field.
I competed in my 2000 9-5 Aero; there were two 9-3ss’s, an og9-3, and a rusty SPG competing as well. Which was a pretty good showing for Saab, out of 30 cars. There were also 12 Subarus, an Audi 90 Quattro, a highly-modified Chevy S-10 AWD with a Corvette motor; and a bunch of other less impressive cars.
I was not able to compete in the stock FWD section, largely because I have added a Quaife LSD to my 9-5. (duh) The c900 also had to compete in Prepared FWD because it did not have a cat.
I won 1st place in the “Prepared FWD” section, and 10th place in the overall standings; and the SPG took 2nd place, 14th overall (which I took pride in, because I used to own it). The other three Saabs finished 1-2-3 in the stock FWD section, behind us overall.
All of the Saabs finished ahead of most of the Subarus. Low-end torque FTW. (Although personally I thought some of the Subie drivers were complete pansies — I was competing in my daily driver in my first RallyCross, and I was way more aggressive than they were).
The track has many places which were very loose — I thought my 3800- pound car would be at a disadvantage, but I think the weight and the LSD really helped cut through the loose dirt faster than some others. I was running 215/55/16 dedicated snow tires, which worked well.
And any event where Saabs outnumber Hondas 5-1 is a good thing !
The overall winner was not a surprise – the modified S-10. It had two drivers, and the two of them finished 1-2 overall, .07 seconds apart.
Posted on 12. Oct, 2007 by Ryan.
Whether your experience with your Saab was long ago or more recent, both Saab Automobile USA as well as Saab History want your Saab stories!
Saab Automobile USA has recently launched a page on their site called Saab Stories where they are encouraging people to post their stories onto their site, which I hope will be used, especially the videos for a future advertising campaign that includes a good amount of customer testimonials and positive feedback about their Saab experiences.
I have also started a Saab stories section, originally posted on the New England Saab Association website, back in 1997 of which I have recently ported over to the Saab Stories section here on Saab History. I am also continuing to solicit more Saab stories for the Saab stories section, so please contact me with your information, photographs and/or videos!
While there are arguably some great Saab stories at both Saab Automobile USA’s website as well as Saab History’s website, my favorite video has to be the one by Marc Schwarz posted about a year ago featuring his classic 1993 Saab 900.
“My Saab Story by Marc Schwarz”
This film involved of course Marc Schwarz produced by two producers, Rob Travalino and Harry Kafka, and a resilient classic Saab 900.
Marc recently provided me some insight into how and what inspired the film, with some great ideas that I hope the people at Saab Automobile USA will think about with their “Saab Stories” sourcing project.
Here is a bit about the film by Marc in his own words:
The Inspiration: My personal experience is unique, but me love for the car is universal amongst all 900 owners.
The Script: With the help of Rob, the director, they crafted this loosely scripted true story of my experience, set it to some original tunes Rob created, and came up with 2 minutes and twenty seconds of video that every Saab owner can relate to.
The Equipment: I am not sure of the Camcorder used for this. I seem to remember the director saying it was a pretty average camera. The MP4 format was done by the editor who uses top of the line AVID systems for the feature film and commercial editing that he does. Harry, the editor, actually dumped about 3 hours of tape into the AVI.
The Compensation: This gives you an idea of just how lucky I am to work with talented guys like this, who literally gave a ton of their time (Rob actually flew from New York to Los Angeles with all of his equipment to shoot this – my cost was a couple of cups of Starbucks at the end of the day!) and expertise all because they were rallying around a really cool idea and believe most importantly that it is a story that should be told.
The Dream: My hope is that Saab sees this and decides to run it as an online campaign, maybe even a contest, where Saab owners globally submit their “Saab Stories” to Saab and the top 3 videos, as judged by Saab and the public, win a Saab lease or something. I think it would be a great way for Saab to bridge the gap from the old guard 900 series purists to crossover to the new Saab of today. Just a thought…..Take care.
Thank you Marc for sharing, I hope your project inspires more people to get out their video cameras and do more of this.
Posted on 10. Sep, 2007 by Ryan.
On September 10th, 2001, a whole six years ago today, I spent the day as the President of the New England Saab Association, walking the tarmac at Burlington International Airport of Burlington, Vermont. My how times have changed.
Below is the original article I wrote including photographs above.
Saab Friction Tester – Burlington International Airport
On September 10th, 2001 while I was visiting Burlington, Vermont I decided to finally stop by at the Burlington International Airport to see this widely spoken of “Saab Friction Tester” (SFT). To my amazement, the stories stood true to form as I found out that the airport did have a 1986 Saab 900 Turbo which has been in good working order since it was brand new. Once I got got this message from the receptionist at the airport administrative office, I eventually got the opportunity to meet the Airport Facilities Manager who graciously showed me the SFT inside and out! The overall condition of this Saab, combined with my sheer amazement that I was actually able to examine it was just a dream come true! From popping the hood to opening the trunk, this was one experience I will never forget!
To start with in introduction to the Saab Friction Tester I should inform you that and I quote “it is a sophisticated measuring deviced designed to measure surface friction on airport runways. It may be used for both operational testing, as an aid to ongoing air traffic; and for friction maintenance purposes.”
When not being used for testing purposes, the Saab Friction Tester may be operated as a general purpose airport vehicle.
The Saab Friction Tester is composed of three basic elements — the rear axle assembly, the computer panel, and the watering system
Rear Axle Assembly : The Saab Friction Tester is equipped with a special measuring wheel mounted behind the rear axle. The measuring wheel is connected to the rear axle through a chain drive which is geared to maintain a constant 12% slip on the measuring wheel vs the speed of the vehicle.
The raising and lowering of the measuring wheel is controlled from the driver’s control panel and is operated hydraulically. When the wheel is lowered onto the pavement surface, the forces acting on the wheel are transferred to the chain drive, which passes over the torque sensor.
As the friction forces from the pavement vary, the tension on the chain varies, creating varying pressures on the torque sensor. The electrical currents passing through the strain guages within the torque sensor are affected by measuring these variations in the electrical current and converts the analog signals into “coefficient of friction” readings.
Computer Control Panel: The computer control panel is located on the console in the driver’s compartment. In addition to providing a variety of control switches, the panel also houses the electronic circuit boards which control the function of the friction measuring equipment; performs calculations and provides digital and printed output of the system.
Watering System: The watering system is made up of a 105 gallon water tank, water pump, nozzle and pressure gauge. The watering system provides a controled layer of water ahead of the measuring wheel for friction maintenance testing. (The watering system should not be used at temperatures near of below freezing)
In addition to the the SFT being used with with a Saab 900, it also currently being used on a Saab 9000, Saab 9-5 Sedan, Saab 9-5 wagon and trailer unit.
Once the grand tour was over, I got a chance to take a look at some of the literature from the Saab Friction Tester which included ample time to read through the official SFT workshop manual which is where a great deal of the aforementioned material came from.
The best part about the experience with the SFT was that while checking out the instrument panel, guages, computer control panel, I noticed that the Saab 900 had only 16,563 miles on it!
If I had the opportunity, I would love to purchase the vehicle since it is quite a rare Saab and it is in beautiful pristine shape throughout. One would only hope that when the 20 year contract with Saab runs out soon with the Burlington International Airport, they will decide to purchase another Saab Friction Tester because this one has lasted quite some time and isn’t showing any signs of going away anytime soon.
New England Saab Association
New England Saab Association
Post Office Box 119
Keene, New Hampshire 03431
Posted on 27. Jul, 2007 by Ryan.
Photo Credits: Scott Hutchings
Scott Hutchings, the President of the Saab Owners Club of Canada, has just provided Saab History a press release appropriately titled “What happens when a hobby becomes more than just a hobby“?
Christian Skovbjerg as pilot and Scott Hutchings as co-pilot have now officially launched Aktive Motors Inc, a Saab Sales & Service business in Toronto, Ontario Canada. I am very excited for them about this venture and wish them well!
Here is the well written press release below:
What happens when a hobby becomes more than just a hobby?
You end up with something called Aktive Motors Inc.
Aktive Motors Inc. is the brain child of Christian Skovbjerg, a veteran of over 25 years of experience working on Saabs. Christian was educated in Sweden as an automotive engineer and worked for Saab Scania for many years, including roles such as Service Educator in TrollhÃ¤ttan at the head office for Saab.
Christian was also the first Saab Scania Master technician in the GTA.
He has worked in a number of the dealerships in the GTA and even spent some time in Singapore as a General Service Manager for a Saab/Porsche importer.
Obviously, Christian takes his â€œhobbiesâ€ very seriously.
This is where I come in. When Christian mentioned the idea of opening a Saab specialty shop to me, it was like a giant light bulb went on all of a sudden. â€œWhat would it be like to work in a place that deals with something that has become my greatest hobby?â€ Ideas started flowing and we started talking about this seriously. Christian wouldnâ€™t have to do this on his own. I offered to work for him in whatever capacity he felt would fit. That was well over a year ago and on Tuesday July 3, we opened the doors on Aktive Motors Inc.
Donâ€™t get me wrong, this is Christianâ€™s business â€¦ he is the big cheese, the head honcho, the owner, but we will be building this business together.
Our mission is simple â€¦ to provide Saab owners with a place they feel at home, where they can come in for a coffee and a chat or have their Saab rebuilt from the ground up. We wonâ€™t be the cheapest place out there, but we also will not be cutting corners. When you come in for a brake job, you can expect the little things â€¦ like ensuring that you have had your brake fluid changed within the past 2 years. As part of our service, we will paint your callipers for you. Need an oil change? Youâ€™ll also get a complimentary wash and vacuum. Getting a major service on the car? Weâ€™ll take the extra time and detail your car for you.
We plan to have an extensive supply of new and used parts and are working with several suppliers of Saab performance parts. No longer will you have to order stuff from the US, the UK, or elsewhere. You will be able to buy in Canada and not worry about the hassles of customs, duties, or brokerage fees. And if we donâ€™t have a relationship with a supplier, we will be happy to look into developing that. You will either be able to pick up the phone, stop by in person, or eventually, order on-line and have the parts shipped to you. Not only will we be able to supply the parts to a DYIâ€™er, but we will also provide professional installation services for those not interested in getting their hands dirty.
Without any question, our focus will be on providing quality service and support for Saabs that no longer enjoy the benefits of warranty. However, for those who choose not to use the dealers for basic maintenance while your Saab is covered by the factory warranty, you will now have a place to go that will understand and care for your Saab with the highest level of professionalism available. If there is something on your Saab that requires the attention of your dealer, we will give you a full report and suggest that you take your car there.
Our objective is not to be in competition with the dealers, but simply to be an alternative to going to the local garage that knows nothing about Saabs. As a matter of fact, we will likely become one of the biggest customers of the dealers as they will be the main source of Saab parts for us.
There will be times when the best place for your car might be a dealership and the reverse could be just as true in other situations. By working with the dealerships instead of against them, we hope to be able to provide Saab owners with the best of all possible choices.
We will also be getting into selling â€œpreviously enjoyedâ€ Saabs in the future. Exactly when that will be is hard to say as we need to focus on building the base business first. One thing you can be assured of is that we will approach those cars the same way as we approach our service â€¦ with professionalism and integrity. We take pride in the Saab brand and it will show in everything we do. When you come to see our Saabs, they will be clean and detailed and we will have them in proper working order for your test drive.
Our Saabs will also come with a warranty, something quite unheard of for use vehicles of any kind. And we arenâ€™t talking about 3rd party warranties either â€¦ we will warranty the Saabs ourselves. We are still working on the details of this, but customers will be able to buy used Saabs with confidence. We have confidence in them, why shouldnâ€™t our customers?
We are located at 886 Winston Churchill Road, just south of the QEW and Royal Windsor Drive. Our hours of operation will be Monday to Friday 8:00AM to 6:00PM with extended hours until 8:00PM on Tuesday and Thursday, plus Saturdays from 8:00AM to 12:00PM. Our phone number is 905-842-0017. Our web site will be located at www.AktiveMotors.ca once we have it up and running.
Until we meet again, Happy Saabing!
Posted on 12. Apr, 2007 by Ryan.
Photo Credit: Tom Lease
I received an e-mail recently from an individual about a writeup done in the San Francisco Chronicle that is quite interesting about the uniqueness of the Saab Automobile. This writeup features an individual by the name of Tom Lease who is a speechwriter for a California Secretary of State, who is a proud owner of a 2001 9-5 Saab Aero SportWagon.
Please take a look at this writeup at this link here at the San Francisco Chronicle.
Posted on 20. Feb, 2007 by Ryan.
Photo Credit: Aaron C. Gilbert
Aaron Gilbert of the Pacific North West corner of the United States recently provided me a writeup of how he found his way into the Saab brand. His writeup describes how the classic 9000 model (1985-1992), has and will always be in his opinion, the best model for all of his his needs. In addition to his writeup below, he has also contributed to the next video project, a film that covers the introduction of the Saab 9000, that with some more donations, will be ready to send out to be converted to digital format.
Thank you Aaron for your writeup, donation and enthusiasm for the brand!
Here is Aaron Gilbert’s story in his own words.
I’ve always liked Saabs ever since I saw their magazine ads in the early 80′s, though I could not tell you exactly why I liked them. However, nobody in my family ever had one, even up to today. In the mid ’90′s, my first car was on it’s last legs, and I wanted to upgrade. I wanted something with four doors and a hatchback (or wagon), that could get out of it’s own way. So naturally, Saab came to mind, but I had no idea if I could afford one. As it turned out, I could afford a used one, and so went shopping. When I first sat in a 9000, before I even turned the key, I was hooked. It was a ’88 9000 turbo, red with black interior. The interior seemed huge compared to what I had known before, and the dashboard was perfect and cockpit like, a plus for me since I have always been an airplane enthusiast. Even without driving it, I knew it was the car I wanted. I didn’t end up buying that car, as it was after all the first I’d looked at, and probably because I just wasn’t ready for a red sports car yet. The dealer called me back a couple weeks later and said they had just got in a trade that was in immaculate condition. It was a white/black ’87 9000 turbo without a scratch on it inside or out, despite the 151k miles. It was automatic, which I was unsure about, but it was such a beautiful car that I could not pass it up.
I later named her Elke, and she was with me for 10 wonderful years. In that time, she had just about every mechanical part on her replaced, except the turbocharger! That was still original at 330k miles, amazing. I loved the perfect combination of ride and handling. And I say combination, rather than compromise, because it was by far the best riding AND best handling car I’d ever been in, much less owned. It would be some time before I would explore her limits, but eventually, I upgraded her to nearly 9000 Aero power, improved the suspension and brakes, and added various minor cosmetic upgrades. And she always had a quality stereo – but nothing too over the top. I loved the ease of replacing the stereo head unit and both the front and rear speakers. I really loved the fact that when you took something apart on the car, be it a door panel, interior trim, top of the dash, or any other piece, it always went back together just as securely as before. This was a totally new car experience for me. I loved that she could get 30 MPG on a long road trip, after I had her converted to manual transmission. Of course, I loved that you could carry all kinds of odd shaped things that have no right going in a car – a full sized door, 10′ long lumber, lazy-boy recliners standing upright, and of course my custom 65″ tall home theater speakers. I always felt safe in her, no matter what speed we were traveling.
Alas, I had the shop remove her air conditioning, because it needed a complete overhaul, and would have cost a fortune to repair. I thought, I barely use it and so it’s just extra weight. How was I to know that I would meet the girl of my dreams in Utah and that I’d drive down to spend time with her in July? Elke took the trip in stride with well over 300k miles on her odometer, but I knew I needed a vehicle with air conditioning. And though Elke had almost everything repaired that ever goes bad on a 9000, in the back of my head, I thought I might want something more reliable that would never strand me and my girl. I imagined that buying another 9000 would simply be buying the devil I don’t know vs. the one I do, and might still be prone to breaking down (this is now 2005) and expensive repairs. So, I took the plunge and bought a brand new Suzuki Aerio SX. In form and function, it was the closest thing to my old 9000 I could find brand new, in my price range. It had auto climate control, 155 HP, tons of cargo space, roomy rear seat, even a timing chain and heated mirrors. I sold Elke a few months later for a ridiculously low sum but fortunately she went to a Saab loving home, and is still doing great today! I would not realize the depth of my mistake until I took the Suzuki on it’s first major road trip, to Yellowstone National Park in 2006, a year later. While the Suzuki makes the perfect commuting and around town car, the personality is completely opposite when asked to carry two people and a trunk full of camping gear on an extended interstate road trip. To be fair, it does get better fuel economy and seems highly reliable, but unfortunately, those are about the only advantages it has over the 9000, on the open road. So, after that 2100 mile trip, I began my search for a new Saab, either a 9-3 five door, 9-5 wagon, or 9000.
Despite really loving the drive and quality of the 9-3 and 9-5, I could not bring myself to consider them my final vehicle, for several reasons. I could not live with the insane folding rear seat design in the 9^3 hatchback, which I felt was a huge step backwards from any previous model Saab. Also, I felt that the interior storage space in both the 9-3 and 9-5 were quite poor compared to the 9000, and neither had as much rear seat legroom as the 9000, or for that matter, my compact Suzuki. To top it off, a good one in the model years recommended by my shop, were quite a bit more money than I wanted to spend, and even so, still came with no warranty. A 9000, being older, could be had for much less money, saving a bunch for future repairs and maintenance. Initially, I was thinking 9000 Aero. However, they are not only hard to come by, but the owners really seem to demand a significant premium for good ones. Also, the loss of the glove box in all but the ’93 model was a big turn off for me, while the ’93 model had TCS, well known for extensive and expensive repairs. The Aero seats, while extremely attractive, did not seem significantly more comfortable to me, and certainly less useful in the rear. Also, while I find the newer body style 9000 attractive, I still thought the original style to be somehow much more stylish and unique. So, my search continued for about four months. I even flew down to Phoenix, AZ, to look at a ’94 Aero, which I didn’t get, for several of the reasons noted above.
I eventually came across a 1991 9000 Turbo in Spokane, WA (about 290 miles from my house). It looked to have been well loved and taken care of, and the owner was a true Saab person, having both a 9000 Aero and 9-5 wagon. I contacted him almost immediately, only to learn that there were two potential buyers already. I asked him to let me know if they did not want the car, but fully expecting that it might be sold. As it turned out, they were teenagers just looking to get a very fast and cheap car which they could modify to be even faster. He did not want to sell to them, and emailed me to let me know. We exchanged many emails and phone conversations that week, which only solidified his position that he would rather sell to me, and my position that this was my next car! Despite one of the coldest weekends in history, my fiance’ and I drove the 290 miles, leaving our house at 5 AM to arrive in Spokane. It was a balmy 4 degrees outside. The car looked to be in great shape, though had some minor issues of which I wasn’t aware. Still, the owner had most of the repair bills, and some of them were quite major, including a complete transmission and clutch replacement just 15k miles prior, and a complete A/C system overhaul and retrofit just a couple years before that. I bought the car and enjoyed every minute of the 290 mile drive home! It’s been about a month now, and I have already replaced and/or fixed many of the issues that it had. eBay makes a great place for used Saab parts! I had her fully detailed. The paint shined up very well after years of oxidation, and steam cleaning made the engine compartment look new. I have big plans for her ahead, but nothing over the top. She’s already quite a big improvement over my old Elke in many ways, and yet, so much the same. I’m looking forward to many happy years!
Posted on 16. Jan, 2007 by Ryan.
Here is a story of how a Saab saved a life of a visitor that owns a 9-2x. In case you did not know, the Saab 9-2x was ranked as â€œTop Safety Pickâ€ by the IIHS Only Luxury Car Manufacturer with Two IIHS â€œGold Awardsâ€ in 2006.
Below is the official press release on safety from Saab Automobile USA.
Detroit, Mich. â€” With the 9-2X premium compact joining the 9-3 Sport Sedan, Saab is the first luxury carmaker to receive a pair of â€˜Top Safety Pick – Gold Awardâ€™ designations from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The Gold Award is a best-of-the-best distinction that recognizes car designs that provide the best occupant protection in front, side and rear crashes based on Institute testing.
â€œWe commend Saab for making the 9-2X the second Saab vehicle to earn our demanding Top Safety Pick awardâ€, said Adrian Lund, President of the IIHS.
The IIHS frontal impact test is carried out at 40 mph against a deformable fixed barrier, with a 40 percent driverâ€™s side offset. In the IIHS side impact test a deformable barrier constructed to resemble a full-size sport utility vehicle, is propelled at 31 mph against the driverâ€™s side of the car to measure side impact protection. The rear-end test simulates a 20-mph rear impact into a stationary car, during which the front seat/head restraint performance is assessed.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a non-profit research and communications organization in the United States funded by auto insurers. It investigates the crashworthiness of vehicles. More information at www.IIHS.org
This personal story should set the record straight for real-life safety in the Saab 9-2x.
Thank you very much for your contribution below.
I was driving home from work Friday, less than a mile from home when suddenly a Sante Fe pulled a left hand turn in front of me, I slowed to miss her and then
the trailing GMC S15 pulled in front too. No chance to avoid, hit her head-on at 40mph. Both bags deploy, I unbelt, jump out and help the teenage girl driver out of her car and to the side of the intersection after checking for injuries.
Both cars look totaled – GMC had to be 4-wheel dragged off the road – front totally squashed, wheels turned in etc etc. My Aero is totally crumpled back to the wheel wheels – radiator crushed and drained, hood rolled up to the windshield – but all 4 wheels were were turning and the tow rolled it out of the intersection. All doors/hatch still opened, no glass or crush into the passenger compartment. Police thought I was a responder (active duty Navy in uniform) vice one of the victims – deputy was surprised that I had walked out unaided.
I’m sore and have a sprained wrist and a bruised right shin (I was downshifting to avoid car #1) but the hospital kept Xraying looking for broken bones – couldn’t believe I had escaped so cheap in a high energy accident. Waiting to hear about other driver – her insurance called that night to claim responsibility and make arrangements.
I know this thread needs pictures – I’ll get them from my professional photographer neighbor who came down and photographed everything.
I want my car back but I’m thinking it’s a total.
My takeaways – wear your belts, hone your driving skills, drive a car that can avoid trouble and if it finds you, drive one that can help you survive.
Posted on 15. Dec, 2006 by Ryan.
I want to share with everyone, a remarkable story that was provided to my former club, the New England Saab Association http://www.nesaab.org/stories/rbarth.html back in the year 2000.
I’ve been sold for life.
Long day March 2000 to many dead-lines to many hours. This pretty much described my days for most of this year. Building a new plant, first employee, Plant Engineer. Along with the pressures of proving myself to my new employer I had the responsibilities of over seeing the construction of their new facility in North America. A German company, my colleagues in Germany would ask “why a Saab?”, why not a “Good German car?” though the thought crossed my mind it wasn’t the top of my list. It wasn’t my first Saab, that was a 1986 900, not much of a car, it was a “gift” from a friend and my wife and I needed a second car bad. Once I got the 86 home I started to think of things to do to it, why didn’t it have the headlamps like all the Saabs I’ve seen? was it a different model? What do I need to do to the Saab to make it look like the style of Saab that I see in the parking lots around town?
My first Saab the 1986 was a very used car, our “friend” said it was a good car and only needed a couple of things. Ok, I said to myself “a couple of things” no problem, I would make a list, roll up my sleeves and get to work… First on the list.. some kind of manual, hey…I said to myself the 1987 models have the headlamps I like…and the little rear wing….no problem when I get the car running I’d find some parts to make my 86 look like a newer one. Well it never got that far…I made my list…Front brakes, complete…and struts, timing chain, exhaust from the cat back, rear brakes…Oh, and weld the frame all back together, I had my work cut out for me and this didn’t include replacing the interior that the dog ate. While all this was taking place I had started to read, read everything, about Saabs and looking for a parts car to fix my new 86 Saab 900.
One day about a week into the “don’t worry honey, I think we can fix it up” I found a 1988 900 turbo parts car at a local Saab garage…$300.00 and I brought it home…Opps…did the guy forget to tell me that the 88 and the 86 really didn’t have a hole lot in common? Still, something came over me, the shape of the car, the way the hood opened…these cars had class. Still so much to do and we needed a car bad. I kept looking, kept reading, one day and add read in the local paper- For Sale 1988 SPG – SPG? what’s an SPG, ok lets go look at it…maybe between the 86, the 900 turbo and this mystery car, the SPG, I could make one good Saab out of the three. I called the guy and he told me a lot of people have been calling about it, but if I wanted to come look at it he would be home that night. Told the wife I was going to look at another parts car to fix up the 86 and believe me, that was tough enough. When I arrived at the guys house I didn’t see any Saabs, ok, no problem maybe it got sold before I got there. I went to the door and told him that I was here to look at the Saab…He took me out to his garage, while we were walking I was getting the cars history, how his brother bought it new, how his brother would fix everything and how only dealerships would be the one’s to fix it, hey he only wanted $4000.00 and I still had the idea of fixing up my 86 and using parts from all three cars…Until he opened the garage door…That was it…Even for all the dust on the body I could see this was my car. It was black, had really cool rims, the headlamp style I like and Hey !!! there is that “little wing”. Original miles he said, needs an oil change, he said, after that I don’t remember if he was talking or if I was got lost in this car…my dream car, the car that would show everyone that I had a good job, and was able to drive “A Saab”…. After going through the car and smelling that leather, not the same smell as the 86 if you know what I mean. I wanted this car…Still, $4000.00? where was I going to get $4000.00? I just started a new job…He was still going on and on about the car, then out of the blue I heard, “I’d take $2700.00 if you’d buy it right now”. I was prepared for $200.00 maybe even $300.00….but $2700.00? this was supposed to be another parts car…Ok, I thought fast, I had our check book, I could write him a check, $2700.00, there was about $1000.00 in the bank, but it might buy me some time…Who do I make the check out to? I got home that night, exited, nervous (I still had some explaining to do to my wife) but I just might of bought the car of my dreams…I had until the next night to pick up the car and to give him the balance of the money. I called everyone, friends, family….Mom…and by the next morning I had all the money…My wife and I went to get the car that night..She said that she has never seen me smile so much, not even when our daughter was born…We both knew, I had found the car of my dreams…
Well I got the car home, sat in it most of the night….next day I started to clean her up, wash, wax leather conditioner the works…nothing was to good for my baby, every night I would be doing something to her, exploring her, learning about her, reading all the receipts from since the car was new, looking through the original Saab brochure. I was a happy man. What ever this car needed she got… I drove this car and was proud, felt safe with my children when they were sitting in the back seat or when my wife took it to the store – as long as she wasn’t gone to long- Well that was the way it was for about four months, then one night driving home at around midnight on a Friday night after a 90 hour work week and half way through my hour drive home..it happened…BANG…that’s all I heard, when I came to, I saw a tree about 3 inches from my face, and I was on my side, the seat belt was holding me in and I tried to reach for my cell phone, had to call some one, call my wife, call anybody….all the phone said was “no service”, stupid phone…After fighting my way out of the car and walking up the bank onto the street…it hit me…Oh my god…my car…It was a country back road so I was alone… I started to walk down the street, maybe if I walked I could get this cell phone to get a signal. I was shaken up, about 20 feet down the road I decided to sit for awhile and keep trying the phone. During this time I didn’t see the car stop and the driver get out, he went down to my Saab and was yelling…Is everyone all right!!!!????? Anyone hurt!!!!????? I didn’t answer, I was to busy trying that stupid phone…Then I heard another car and another, I heard…look for a body…there has to be a body somewhere…they had to get thrown from the car !!!!! No one could of lived through that…..Look for bodies !!!! I walked back towards the car, before anyone could fall into that bank and get hurt, still shaking up abit I said “I’m your body”, I’m the driver….He asked was there anyone else? no I said I’m it…. After about 20 minutes the police, fire department and an ambulance showed up…The fire department cut her positive cable, the Medic had me sit in the ambulance and looked me over, he said, if he didn’t know any better he would of never guessed I was driving that car, he said I should be dead….my answer…it’s a Saab…maybe not the most intelligent answer, but it was true… Finally the police…He asked where you drinking? some one hit you? what happened? I fell asleep, I fell asleep and wrecked my Saab, my baby, my dream car…..Unsafe movement to the right, a warning….He took me home…. The next day I went down to the towing company and asked about her, you were the driver? they asked…yes now what about my car? I went over and looked, spent an hour just looking..went home and told my wife that I couldn’t bare thinking about the car sitting there and I wanted to bring her home…They towed the car to my house and we put it in the driveway… Most of that day passed and later in the evening I decided I wanted her in the garage, I didn’t have to open the hood, it was hanging off the side, put an extra tire I had on her and was going to push her inside, where it was safe. She didn’t roll very well because of the twisted lower control arm in fact she wasn’t about to roll at all. Then I figured why not hook up the battery cable and see if she’ll start? so I did and without any hesitation she started right up…I ran into the house and got my wife….The car was running in the driveway…I told her see that’s way it’s a Saab, show me any other car that could do this….It’s a Saab… and this Saab saved my life….well it’s been a year and that SPG is still hanging around, getting ready to take apart…won’t be fixing up the 86 900, but I won’t be taking her to a junk yard either… Still think about that night once in awhile…that car saved my life….I hope if it ever happens again that my 9000 will do the same for me, I won’t be driving anything else, I’ve been sold for life.
Rhichard A. Barth, Connecticut
New England Saab Association
Post Office Box 119
Keene, New Hampshire 03431
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