MY SAABS - 1974 to 2007

Through the years...

We're currently owners of our 9th Saab, obviously our LAST, a silver-gray 2007 9-3T sedan. Purchased as a late-year new car, it's a great ride. We were shocked when GM decided to shed SAAB, and were saddened when bankruptcy was the only way out. Our local Asheville GM dealer no longer carries or services SAAB, so other than a local independent garage, we have either a 60 mile (Sitton Saab, Greenville, SC) or a 100 mile (Saab of Charlotte) trek for factory service, the latter including a visit to our closest Trader Joe's!

Our 8th Saab was a 2002 9-3 hatchback. Another lease return purchase, it is much more practical than the convertible. This was the last of the Saabs with an ignition key rather than a stub containing a chip. This particular car had brake and wheel noise problems resulting in our replacing it.

Our 7th Saab was a model-year 2000 black 9-3 Convertible. Our first Turbo!! It was a fun car, but with its very tight rear seat and practically nil trunk room, was not terribly practical for a family of four. The convertible was the first of three cars we have purchased as lease returns. It was three years old with about 20,000 miles on the odo, a pretty good deal, considering the 100,000 mile warrantee Saab includes with its "Certified" used vehicles.

The 1995 900S was our 6th Saab, and our last hatchback. It's a 2.3 liter 3-door naturally-aspirated automatic. My wife never learned how to appreciate a stick shift, so what's to do but give in... Just as the warrantee ran out, this car required $3000 worth of work to repair a snapped timing chain tensioner. It's a plastic piece that keeps the chain that rotates the camshafts from flopping around in its housing. Before the end of the warrantee period, I pointed out to a mechanic at the dealership that the strange chain noise coming from the engine was suspicious, but no written record was kept of the complaint. LESSON HERE: IF YOU SUSPECT SOMETHING WHILE UNDER WARRANTY, HAVE THE TECHNICAL ADVISOR WRITE IT DOWN! DOCUMENT IT!

Our 5th Saab, a 1991 silver 900S - a real beauty - was sent to the junkyard (with only 53,000 miles on her) by a drunk in a Fiero, open booze in the car, who ran a red light at a major intersection near our home. It was the last day of school in 1996, and the Saab's trunk was filled with goodies for kindergarten kids, with food for the weekend, and with my tools... Boom, the hatch is up, the glass is shattered, yogurt is everywhere, the tools are scattered over the street. Three cars behind the Saab was a police cruiser. But the driver of the Fiero got away with a slap on the wrist.

Our 4th Saab, a 1986 blue 900S, was sold at 85,000 miles. We had a fold-away trailer hitch installed on the car, and pulled a 1/2 ton fold-down trailer from Chicago to Quebec and back, enjoying Bar Harbor (Acadia Nat'l Park), Boston (love Durgin-Park!), and so on along the way. With the trailer in tow and the A/C on full, we were lucky to get 12 mpg at 65mph.

Our 3rd Saab, a 1985 cherry-red 900S was picked up in Gothenburg, Sweden under the European delivery plan. Beginning a three-week tour, we drove north from Göteborg to Amsterdam, then on to Umeå, where we stayed with a former student. We headed west for Norway and on to Trondheim where we stayed with friends. Our first taste of the midnight sun (in reality there was three hours of night). Then on south to Lillehammer - of Olympic fame - and finally to Oslo. We stayed in Katrinaborg, where we were told that cars with transit plates were fair game for thieves, and to leave the car unlocked and empty
Finally we left Norway and crossed the Skaggerat by ferry to Copenhagen. What a wild boat ride! I had never gotten seasick before, and my wife had me go below and check to see if the car hadn't flipped over on its back... It hadn't, and we enjoyed Copenhagen, then drove through Denmark, stopping off in Orrefors for some crystal and in Legoland - the original - for some toys. We dropped off the car in Amsterdam at the auto shipper, and picked it up a month later in Baltimore.
This car met a sad end out in California. The people we sold it to neglected to care for it in the way Saabers do, and the engine suffered a holed piston!!! It takes a LOT of neglect to have that happen.

My 2nd Saab was a 1982 yellow 5-speed 3-door 900. My favorite mechanic, Mike at the late lamented Wigglesworth Saab in West Chicago installed a Saab aftermarket moon roof for me. This was my last manual shift car, as my wife never learned to shift for herself, as it were.

My 1st Saab was a brand-new 1974 99LE. With its midnight orange color that became the most gorgeous purple at night - a 4-speed notchback sedan, I purchased it because I had terminally bounced my 1973 Audi Fox over a large rock in the weeds up in Plymouth, Wisconsin, coming back from Elkhart Lake. From about 1968 to 1976 I worked corners (Flagging & Communication) as an SCCA member at both Blackhawk Farms and Road America. In the photo we're competing in an SCCA Solo II event.
Desperate in 1974 for new wheels, I went to the Saab dealer, the former Goettel Motors in the now-demolished art-deco styled Baker Hotel Garage. As the salesman was a friend, he proposed that (1) there were lots of orange 4-speed two-door hatchbacks at the docks, and that I'd get a pretty good deal if I decided to buy one and (2) I could have a 99LE for the day to see if I liked it. Liked it? I loved it - what a performer! I had also looked at the BMW 2002 - but at $6,000, it was out of my price range. The Saab 99LE, however, at $4,200 was a great bargain.

My very first car, back in 1964, was a 1955 Pontiac. The car was a junker, but thanks to Bob K., a master mechanic who taught me how to do some of my own engine work, it carried me around for a year before I bought my first brand-new car, a 1965 Mustang. After that came a '68 Bug, then a beat-up '67 BMW 1602, then a 1973 Audi Fox.


July 2012: my 2001 BMW Z3 2.5L

My two defunct Miatas, '93 and '01