Fundamental change in thought…..?

You’d think with my track record and that headline, that this post would be about GM.

But it’s not.

It’s me. Wondering whether to stick to my 99 Turbo or upgrade to a more recent model.

In short, the dilemma is this. I love the 99. I saved it from a trip to the wreckers, fitted a new gearbox and turbo, sold it, bought it back again because I missed it, and have been driving it ever since.

The plan has been to sell a block of land that we have here in Tassie and then use a small portion of the proceeds to restore it to a decent standard. I had a really nice red 99 Turbo until earlier this year and put it in one car show here and I had a ball, lining up with all the other cars and just hanging out with other enthusiasts. As it is, though, my white 99 is not yet close to being up to this sort of standard, and may take some substantial investment to get there.

The seats need re-trimming. It needs a little rust surgery (very minor) and a full paint job. The roof lining has been removed and a new one is required.

Currently, I have an Alpine-Saab stereo with CD changer waiting to go into the car and the wheels are prepped and ready for repainting. The mechanicals are all OK, with the exception of the shocks, which need to be replaced.

So, the question is: do I go to work on this baby, or put the money into something more modern and with a little less distinctiveness, but more comfort, speed and longevity?

I’m thinking that either a 900 or 9000 Aero would satisfy. The first time I sold the 99, I bought a 900 Turbo. it didn’t leave me with a great impression, though that was mainly down to the fact that it was an auto. I think a newer manual car would provide me with the platform I need.

But then there’s the historical significance of the 99 Turbo. There’s few around and even fewer in good condition. Restoring this one won’t be cheap, but it might be less costly than buying a really good condition 900 or 9000. And could I ever part with the 99??

All thoughts appreciated. As you can see I’m in two minds about this one.

For Greg Abbott’s benefit (see comments), here’s some pictures of my old 99 Turbo, the red one I sold earlier this year with only 80,000km on the clock.

DSCN0050sml.JPG Click to enlarge

DSCN0052.JPG Click to enlarge

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  1. I bought a non-running 99 turbo off eBay last year, and I’m really torn about what to do with it. It has 204,000 miles on it, and it sat for 7 years before I got it. It’s not entirely rust free, and I could easily spend $12-15k (US) on it, getting it up and running and fully dealing with the rust issues, only to have to still deal with rust issues again in a few years.

    OTOH these cars are so rare and so significant I almost feel a moral obligation to restore it.

    And I used to have a ’75 99LE Wagonback, kelly green, with an automatic transmission, which I foolishly traded in on a new Acura Integra in 1990. So perhaps restoring the 99T is penance for getting rid of a Saab I should have kept.

    Check out the pictures:

    So I sympathize.

  2. Who would you sell it to? Surely you can’t let it go to the crushers! Any chance of running the fuel out of it and putting it on blocks or turning it into the weekend car?

  3. Greg, you summed up my thoughts exactly. These cars ARE so rare that I also feel the same moral obligation. And Ryan, you’re right too – how could I possibly let it be crushed? It’s done 322000 kms but it still runs pretty well. It’s a matter of financial priority I guess.

    If I had the room at home I’d definitely deregister it, buy a newer car as a daily driver and then do the 99 up over a prolonged period, but we’d need a bigger house to do that (which is not out of the equation).

    I think I’m talking myself into keeping it.


  4. I’m sure I’m not helping, but you should get the bigger house, keep the 99, and get a shiny new 9-3 sedan to keep it company. I know that’s what you’re thinking anyway…

  5. i love to look at the classic 99’s. i’d probably still have one, except it was too expensive to maintain.

    …fun car, though.

  6. You’re right Adam…..Another $100K on the mortgage is not going to help (though it may be necessary, and not just for automotive reasons).

  7. Well, your old 99T is the RHD mirror image of mine. It would be interesting to take two identically spec’d 99T’s, one RHD the other LHD, and drive them back to back — just to check out the differences.

  8. LOL! For me, it’s the ‘Wow, that one’s a ‘true’ Saab — it even got the Incas!’ way. Just one of the endearing quirks of the Saabs of that era. Right up there with the racing green of those 1960’s Jaguars or the distinctive red striped tires on an early Mustang — the Inca wheels are just archtypically Saab. It’s something that you’ll miss!!

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