Call yourself a collector? (part V)

Back in February I wrote an article on one of our local Tassie Saab nuts – Bill H.

Back then he had 5 Saabs in the stable, as follows:


I’ve been back up there today, and in the months since it’s fair to say Bill’s been doing a little shopping.

Photos and story after the jump…..

Last time we visited with Bill, he had a couple of 9000’s, one 900, my old 99Turbo and a 1973 99E.

Since then he’s traded the 9000 Airflow for two more 99 turbos. One of these was basically a twin for my old 99, in Arctic White, but with minilite wheels, aircon and no sunroof.

The other 99T he got in the trade was a black one with only 70,000 kilometers on the clock. That sounds like a pretty good car, except this one lived on the northern beaches in Sydney for 20-some years and unfortunately the salt air has done irrepairable damage to the car. Every panel had rusted out and a replacement bonnet was sourced when it was bought from Sydney to Hobart. That bonnet has now been salvaged for a restoration being done by another club member. The black 99T is below, with a substitute brown bonnet installed….

black99T bill.jpg

The reason for getting this car was the powertrain. It was purchased in Sydney by another Tassie club member, Drew B (he’s now got the Airflow 9000). As mentioned, it’s only done 70,000 kms and after a little fiddling about by Drew this afternoon it started up and it still runs as sweet as a nut. The engine and gearbox will be transplanted into one of Bill’s white 99 turbos in the future.

Here’s some of the rust. This is the back window surround and it’s representative of a bunch of spots around the car.

99T rust.jpg

So with one 9000 down and 2 99T’s added, that’s a net addition of 1. There’s more to come though.

A 1986 900 Aero. Needs a fair bit of restoration work, but the interior’s not too bad. Future uncertain.

900Aero bill.jpg

A 99 GLE four-door sedan, purchased from South Australia. It’s hard to tell from this shot, but it’s painted in a charcoal grey metallic finish. The black wheels were originally black and gold, but have been blacked out completely and don’t look anywhere near as good as they could.

99gle bill.jpg

The interior has also been re-trimmed. The photo’s a bit stark, but the contrasting interior really does look pretty effective (and it’s nowhere near as pink as it looks on my monitor).

99gle int.jpg

Another 99 in the collection is this early 70’s EMS. The body’s a little faded but the engine is in fantastic running order.

99ems bill.jpg


A study in Finnish quality control…..

We have a car club event coming up this Friday and we’ll be displaying a group of owner’s cars at the local Saab showroom for the evening. One of the cars on display will be the white 99T that Bill received in the trade for the 9000. The main point of concern with the car for the display is that the paintwork on the bonnet is a little bit spotty. It’s the original paint and it’s weatherd a little with time.

Bill was doing a few jobs on the car today in preparation for the event next Friday. One idea we had was to remove the bonnet off the car and replace it with the one off my old 99T, which whilst not perfect, was absent the spots that were prevalent on the other one.

Two removals and one re-fit later, we stood back rather amazed at the differences.

Both cars were made in Finland in December 1978. They have very similar VINs and the same paint code, Arctic White, which is white with a green tint in it. I couldn’t photograph the differences effectively, but Bill’s newer 99T seems to be 2 or 3 shades greener than my old (his older) 99T.

In addition, the bonnet didn’t seem to fit too well. Neither car has ever been in a front end accident or any serious accident for that matter, so logically speaking the bonnets should have been readily interchangeable. I’m sure there are some adjustments that we could have tried, but at first fitting, we got one side lined up nicely but ended up with a full half-inch of underhang on the passenger side:

white 99t bill nofit.jpg

A lot of Bill’s cars are works in progress and some are purely for parts. it’s been rather astounding to see the collection grow however, and especially the interest in 99’s. I first met Bill around a year ago and at that time he had two 9000’s and a classic 900. Not a 99 in sight!

Times have changed.

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  1. ……and there I was thinking that I was the only cuckoo enough to own multiple pre-1980 Saabs…..sheesh!!!

    Sitting here, staring in wonderment at the pics of Bill’s collection, I can’t help imagining the final part of Bill’s Saab Trilogy…… could it be that twelve months on, folks, we’ll see a photo of Bill’s house with around 125 cars in the front yard, with Bill himself being dragged off by two men in grey overcoats, straightjacketed, into a waiting minivan? Looking closely at the photo, you’d probably also spot a mysterious figure lurking on a nearby grassy noll, polished spanners in hand…… ;o)


  2. Paint technology has come a LONG way since 1978, believe me. I’ll bet that the paint supplier mixed color lots either with a mechanical measuring device that was a +/- 5% affair OR they mixed each pigment with a hand-measured ‘recipe’ in those days. Factor in the fact that the pigments themselves varied in quality in the same manner and you’ve got variations as you see with those vehicles.

  3. Oh, and by the way: vinyl dye (a type of spray paint for plastics) will bring those pink seats into the burgundy color range without much effort at all (assuming that the fabric is synthetic). My pinkish carpet on my burgundy interior was brought back nicely with a liberal application…

  4. Eggs, the exterior shot of the GLE probably provides a better representation of the interior color. The seats are a beige/tan fabric with the burgundy vinyl strapping. Not sure why the interior shot looks so pink, but it’s probably a mix of sunlight, reflections and a little contrast tweaking before I uploaded.

    That vinyl dye tip is a good one though. Will keep it in mind as a contemplate a toy purchase in the next few years.

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