My name’s Swade. Well, actually it’s Steven Wade, but there’s a lot of people out there that call me Swade, most notably my wife.
I had my first Saab experience at around age 21. Until then I spent most of my time laughing at cars like Saabs, Citroens etc. The only Euro car I ever liked (apart from the supercars) were Alfas.
Around age 21, a friend of mine got a 1986 9000 Turbo. It would have been about 5 years old at the time. Being my usual Holden-bred self, I stirred him about having such a piece of Eurotrash. Until he took me for a ride in it.
First there was the leather. Then there was the climate control. Then there was the stereo he’d installed.
Then he hit the go pedal with a heavy right foot!
My lasting memory of that car is travelling into Phillip Island. His folks had a holiday house there and a bunch of us were going to stay for a weekend. There we were, Nathan and I in the 9000 with a BMW sitting on our tail…..at 200km/h!!!
Needless to say I was sold.
I didn’t get my first Saab until many years later. It was a 1972 99E, with a little Triumph motor and a 2-speed automatic. We bought it from a wrecker for $1,000. After getting it home we pulled the interior to pieces and cleaned the whole thing back up again. A cut and polish later I had a beautiful, absolutely gleaming fire engine red Saab 99. It was as slow as a wet week, but I was a happy camper.
Unfortunately my wife wrote the car off in a minor accident. It didn’t take much to write off a car valued at so little and we just didn’t have the money at the time to fix it. I should mention at this point that the wife that wrote this car off is not my wife anymore. This isn’t why, but anyway.
My next Saab was my current 99 Turbo. I bought it for $400 from a painter. If I hadn’t purchased it then it was off to the wreckers in the next week. I bought it knowing that it needed a new gearbox, but not knowing that it would take 3 gearboxes and 2 installations to get the right one. As well as all this, we ended up having to get a new turbo too. These were frustrating times, but in the end I had my first Saab turbo, and I couldn’t have been happier.
Why I sold it for a 1986 900 Turbo, I’m not quite sure. The 900 became available and I’d always wanted one, so I took the bait. Unfortunately, being single again at the time and sharing someone else’s house, I didn’t really have the room nor the funds to sustain 2 cars. The 99 ended up selling to a kid in Launceston, who proceeded to thrash the crap out of it over the next 2 years and ended up having to replace the turbo, the gearbox, the head gasket, the exhaust, the windscreen and most likely several other bits and pieces that I don’t know about.
After a few years of replacing all these parts that he kept wearing out, he got sick of spending the money, so I bought it back from him. The 900 was OK, but the 99 was the car I’d really become attached to so I jumped at the chance to buy it back again. In the meantime I’d remarried to the wonderful PJ and she took ownership of the 900 when I got my 99 back.
Since then the 900’s gone and been replaced by our current 9000. PJ really liked the 900 though, so I can see a time in the future when we’ll hunt down a really nice 900 Aero for her. Probably when her kids are off our hands and the 3-door thing doesn’t present a problem like it would now.
I’ve also owned another 99 Turbo, albeit briefly. I purchased it from a member of the Car Club here in Tasmania but again, space and finance dictated a sale was in order. This car was in show condition and it was a shame to have to move it, but move it we did.
Along the way, I managed to play a hand in getting the Saab Car Club of Australia established here in Tasmania. I first joined the Saab Car Club of Victoria somewhere around 1999. Soon after, the club went national and I got together with the few other Tasmanian members. With the support of our local Saab dealer (the very supportive and generous Tony Breckenridge at Motors Saab), we put an ad in the newspaper and attracted a few more members. In just a couple of years, the Tasmanian branch of the club has grown exponentially. I spent the first year at the reins, but have since handed over the hard work to another, Drew, whose car(s) will no doubt get some airtime on these pages.
This site is envisioned as being a decent repository for all my Saab musings, all the news I can find, stories from club events and some techo stuff if I ever get it together, although I’m more likely to refer any queries people might have about tech stuff to the SCCA Forum. I’ll also put a history section together as I get the time. Basically it’s intended to be all the things I’d like to see in a Saab site. Current, entertaining, historical and all of this in a well presented manner.