Me, My Cars and My Place

As promised, the first entry in “Me and My Cars”. Hopefully we’ll get a few of you to write in and tell us about what you’re driving, why you’re loving it and maybe a little about where you live and why as well.

Anyone who’s clicked on the “About the Author” button in the sidebar would have read my history with Saab motor vehicles. It was either the second or third post that I ever wrote for this blog and on reflection, it’s a decent read. If you haven’t read it, i’d urge you to hit the link now and have a peek. A little context always helps.

But this is more about what I’m driving now and why, so here goes….

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As you can see, we have a green theme running through the family at the moment. It was never intended to be that way. It just happened. I know the 99T looks white, but when you see it next to a really white car, you notice how strong the green tinge really is.

So why do I love these two?

The 9000 gives me a little bit of relaxed driving pleasure. Like the guy said in the British paper the other day, it’s past its best and there’s a few bits that are clapped out (heater fan switch, cruise control), but it’s one heck of a comfortable cruiser and it will provide some poke from the four-speed slushbox when it’s really, firmly provoked.

Being a relatively simple man, I keep finding things that I never realised the car could do. The other night I notice for the first time that the headlight adjustor switch really did work. I was in raptures, parked in the driveway saying “Look! Watch the beam go up. Now, look again, it’ll go back down!” Like I said, it doesn’t take too much to impress me (you should’ve seen me when I finally found the switch for the foglamps!!).

When we get settled a little more I wouldn’t mind sourcing another 9000, an Aero perhaps. The leather in ours is very comfortable to sit in, but the Aero seats are something else again.

The seats on the 99 are a little less than impressive at the moment:

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These are out of the car and due for a total re-covering later this year.

If the 9000 is for a little bit of cruising pleasure, then the 99T is the complete opposite, and I love it!

I love the smell of this car. The 1970’s upholstery patterns – is there anything more individual? I love the driving position, the wraparound screen. I love the shortened nose on the 99. It makes it look so much more muscular than a 900 (sorry all you 900 purists!). Like a Swedish bulldog. I love the torque-steer when you hammer it in 2nd and I love the way it corners.

I love the way it started first turn after I was away for 6 weeks last year.

The 99 Turbo is perhaps THE MOST underappreciated Saab in the history of the company. For the significance of the revolution it started, it sure remains relatively anonymous by comparison.

I’m hoping to do some fairly serious restoration work on mine over the next few months. You think I love the way it drives now? Wait until it gets a 5-speed, the turbo serviced, the engine rebuilt and some new shocks!! I can hardly keep my underpants under control!

That’s a common joke around our house by the way….

The workbench with stereos to be mixed, matched and mated with the 99T:

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Click to enlarge

Anyhow, a little about where I live. If you ever get the chance to visit Australia, make sure you schedule in a few days for a trip to Tasmania.

Tasmania is the little triangular island south of mainland Australia. It’s shape gives rise to the old, rather unsuccessful Australian pickup line “show us your map of Tassie!”, usually muttered by singlet-wearing shearers after a few ales.

Tassie’s a beautiful place, largely undeveloped and therefore still nice to tour around without suffering from too much hype.

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My old 900 on the East Coast Highway.

Hobart is the capital and it’s where I live. I moved here from the mainland back in 1995 in order to attend University. I loved the peace and quiet of the place so much that I stayed. It’s a place of significance as the English used to send all their convicts to Australia and particularly to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). There’s plenty of old convict-built and colonial relics around, such as Australia’s oldest, still-used bridge at Richmond. Of course, there’s also Port Arthur, scene of Australia’s worst shooting incident back in 1996, when 35 people where gunned down by a nutter named Martin Bryant.

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The first get-together of the Saab Car Club of Australia in Tasmania. All three of us!! In front of the Richmond bridge.

The greatest place in Tassie is on the East Coast, a spot called Binalong Bay. I’ll let this photo do all the talking. It’s small, but the water really is that blue.

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