How did you end up buying your first Saab?

Something to pass the time……

A story from earlier in the week prompted a few Saab purchase stories from the pre-internet days. Forgetting the internet for a moment, it’s always interesting to hear how people first get into Saabs.

I received one such story via email but I haven’t sought permission to share it here as yet. I’ll do that shortly. In the meantime, I thought I’d reminisce a little……

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The archives of my first Saab website, Trollhattan Saab, are out of action at the moment. If they were operating, you’d be able to read about my first Saab experience in a mid-1980’s Saab 9000 at 200kph. I’ll re-write it one day.

That experience, in the very early 1990s, got me thinking about Saab. I was in no position to buy one, but rather than lampooning them as I did with many European cars during my misguided youth, I started to look for them.

I finished my university studies at the end of 1997 and got married (first time) the year after. Let’s just say that my first wife was not exactly a car person and it took a reasonable amount of arm twisting and good behaviour before we had a consensus that it would be reasonable to start looking for a ‘fun car’ for me. She had a Toyota Corolla at the time and I had a rotating garage door that saw several different Fords and Holdens from my employer of the day – hardly inspiring stuff.

This was the late 1990s and there were quite a few Saabs advertised back then. Tasmania actually had one of the best per-capita Saab dealerships in Australia during the 1980s and early 1990s, so the local stocks were pretty good. I can remember testing a magnificent blue Saab 900 Turbo, with a blue velour interior. It was a very early model, perhaps 1980 or 1981 and I was stunned by how much fun it was to drive (it had been around six years since my first experience in the 9000 – a long time between drinks).

I also tested a Saab 9000 Turbo in Rose Quartz metallic, with a dark red interior. It was like being in a mobile gentlemans club. I loved it, but it was well out of my very shallow price range.

That consensus opinion led to me having an allocation of only a few thousand dollars, but I wasn’t discouraged. I ended up perusing the newspapers on Saturday mornings, when the local rags had their classified listings. One particular Saturday, a dismantler had an ad for a Saab 99 in the paper – a complete running car that he wanted to sell rather than break up.

The car turned out to be a red Saab 99E from around 1972. It had the blue badge on the silver grille and given that it was being sold by what we call a “wrecker” here in Australia, you can imagine that it wasn’t presented in pristine condition. In fact, it was filthy.

The dismantler did some mechanical work on the side and the owner of the car was an elderly lady who was a client of his. He’d worked on the car for a few years and assured us that it was in sound condition. Time for a test drive, then….

A little bit more context is needed at this point. Please remember that I’m talking about Tasmania in the late 1990s. The closest thing to a computer in my possession at that time was a first generation Playstation. I had no point of reference for an early Saab and scant knowledge of the company’s history. To me, based on the Saab 900 and 9000 Turbos I’d driven, all Saab were wonderfully well equipped and quite fast.

As it turned out, a 1972 Saab 99E with a single-carb, 1.85L engine and an automatic transmission is nothing like a turbocharged Saab 900 or 9000. The car was as slow as a wet week and I refer you to my earlier comments about its presentation. There wasn’t a lot to get excited about, to be honest.

BUT….. it had oodles of character and despite the problems getting it started, it did get down the road OK (eventually). I wasn’t getting the Saab experience that I’d counted on, but I was definitely getting a Saab experience. And after so many months of wanting a car to play around with, a car with character, I decided to negotiate a price and we eventually took the car home.

My first wife and I didn’t get along that well in the end, but the demise of our marriage had nothing to do with sub-standard cleaning skills. We got the little 99E home and proceeded to pull apart the interior and she worked absolute wonders in stripping the insides and cleaning up every little nook and cranny. I felt a little bit ashamed at how much more thorough she was, compared to what I would have been. I took care of the exterior and I have to say, the car shone like some sort of miniature Swedish fire engine by the time we were done with it. The transformation was absolutely amazing.

As mentioned earlier, this was right at the beginning of my professional career, post university, and well before the digital age that we enjoy now. Thus, there are no wonderful digital images for me to post here. Somewhere there are a couple of blurry images from my old 35mm camera, but I couldn’t find them for this piece.

It looked quite a bit like the one to the right, except it was the first year of the black-bumper models and had square headlamps instead of the round ones shown here. The car had a red velour interior and the headrests shown in that image (the funkiest headrests EVER!). There was no center console under the dashboard, which was great for spreading your feet out over longer distances.

We had a pretty good, albeit short time with the little red 99. My now ex-wife took it to work one night and on the way home, she did some damage that seemed uneconomical to repair (this was not the reason for the separation and divorce, I might add).

In hindsight, I think we could have fixed it, but it would have meant pouring quite a bit of money that we didn’t have into a car that we didn’t really appreciate the true value of. If only I’d known then what I know now.

The demise of the Saab 99E saw my buy an Alfasud Sprint – another short-lived ownership story thanks to a terrible cooling system – and then my turbo journey began with my first Saab 99 Turbo.

But that’s a story for another time……

If you’ve got a first-Saab purchase story to tell, please do get in touch. It’d be great to share a few more of these.

And pictures would be wonderful if you’ve got them ūüôā

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26 Comments

  1. My first Saab: I became aware of Saab sometime during the early sixties on frequent visits to Erie, Pennsylvania from Salem, Ohio in our 63 Studebaker. There was a Saab dealer along the way, and all those oddball red machines sitting out front intrigued me, so I stopped one day for a test drive. What an enlightenment! Then I started reading about Erik Carlsson, front wheel drive, winter rallies, etc., and had to have one, but couldn’t afford a new car, unfortunately. Then one day in 1967, passing by a small family Saab dealer, Flick Motors in Canfield, Ohio, operated by a horse breeder named Amos Flick, I saw a used 1966, in my favorite red color, sitting out front. This one I could afford and the deal was soon done. I can’t find words to express the magical feeling of sitting in my very own Saab, the rally-winningest car in the world!
    My very first exciting experience occurred on the trip home on a wintry day over rural snow covered roads. The freewheel feature fooled me into thinking the car was slowing (because of the engine’s silence) for a sharp right, snow covered turn, when in fact it wasn’t. I noticed a Chevy Corvair coming up behind me with a wild-eyed driver, as if he was feeling he had to challenge me, and then almost simultaneously noticed the speedometer was showing 60 mph, but it was too late to slow, I was entering the turn. I didn’t believe I could make it and briefly thought about just driving straight into the field ahead, but I turned in anyway, expecting to crash on my first trip. What a thrill to steer through that turn (on Goodyear G8 summer tires!) under full control! I then saw the Corvair exiting the turn tail first. Fortunately, he stayed on the road and didn’t crash, but I never saw him in my rear-view mirror thereafter. I was hooked for life!

  2. What drew me to Saab?¬† It was an unrequited love affair with a 99 EMS back in the ’70s.¬† Saab in those days, was a frequent focus for articles in either Car and Driver or Road & Track magazines.¬† Whether touting their rally prowess or showing off some technical feature that was either in the car or in a prototype, Saab seemed to me to be one of the most intelligent vehicles around.¬† As the USA passed through two fuel crises, having a vehicle that had an unusual amount of functional space and performance, driven by a small displacement turbocharged engine was irresistible to me.¬† Unfortunately, my income in those days didn’t match the entry fee for Saab ownership (and I’ve always been used-car-averse).
    I bought my first Saab, an ’84 900S 4-door, after I’d begun work as a development engineer for IBM.¬† While not a stoplight-to-stoplight sprinter, this car remains in my mind as one of the best over the road driver’s cars that I’ve ever owned.¬† In those days, I would often get up an hour early so that I could take a long stress-reducing drive before work.¬† I sold it after too-few years because my kids long legs had outgrown the available room in the back seat.
    It was the warm memory of the 900S that led me to purchase an ’03 Vector Sport Sedan.¬† I was initially disappointed that the hollow, metallic exhaust sound that I loved in the ’84 had been refined out of the ’03, but that was easily rectified by adding a Ferrita cat-back within a few months of purchase.¬†
    I’ve put around 109K very enjoyable miles on this car and have an outstanding relationship with my dealer, Crossway Saab.¬† I jump into this WEBsite every morning for the latest news (thank you, Swade!) and am one of the thousands hoping that this intelligent brand survives.

  3. One of my school friends dad had a Saab 9000 in the 1980s. I always thought it was cool that the “Please fasten your sealtbelt” light would come on, just like when you traveled by plane. Plus it went like a rocket. I never forgot it.

    When it was time to get another car for the family when we moved to the states, I knew I wanted a Saab so I got a 1-year-old 2003 93 (and about a year later the wife bought a 2005 92x Aero). When we decided to get rid of the 93 (the first year 93’s were not the most reliable vehicles in the world), we looked around and nothing was as fun to drive as a Saab. Hence we ended up leasing a brand-new 2006 93 sportcombi. I loved that car, the reliability was bulletproof ¬†and regret that GM’s bankruptcy at the time made it impossible to buy the car at the end of the lease.

  4. My first (and to date only) Saab was a 9000 CS LPT in Imola Red. I bought it used at a small independant Saab dealer here in Scotland. My wife had always liked Saabs and had often told me about an old 96 her brother had had and how different and cool it looked.
    What swung it for me was the reputation for safety that the 9000 came with. Having two young daughters at the time and with a son on the way made me think I needed something that while reliable and comfortable, which the 9000 was, I also wanted a car that could protect me and my family should the unthinkable happen.
    We kept the car for over five years and while it did have some issues over that time, it did become more than just ‘a car’. When it came to letting it go, my wife could not even bring herself to watch as it was driven away.
    Since then I have been feeding my love of Alfa Romeos and am now on my fifth in a row. Having said that, I need a change and as far as I am concerned, there is only one brand that I will be going for. Now all I need to do is decide which model! 

  5. The first time I drove a Saab, I was in high school and, to be honest, having some fun at the expense of the local dealership. Took a test drive in a 900 turbo (this was in 1986) under the pretense that I was choosing my graduation present. Wow. The acceleration was mind blowing and I was instantly smitten.

    Fast forward to GM’s initial purchase of half of Saab. My father was, at the time, a GM employee, so as soon as the initial info regarding employee pricing came along, I started to prod him into a Saab (his eye had gone initially to Lotus, GM’s other new toy that year). The model that caught his interest was the ’91 9000CD, so that’s what they got. Scarab Green with the tan interior. It was a 2.3 turbo car, but, as with all US CDs (save Mrs. Bob Sinclair’s lone 5 speed) it was saddled with the ZF auto. Despite that, I found frequent excuses to drive their 9000 until they decided it was time for a new car. As they moved on to a Cadillac Catera (nee Opel Omega), I bought their 9000 for a song.

    I massively hooned that car, swapping out the lamentable ZF for a manual (thanks Saab for leaving the clutch pedal hanger on the automatics) and running racing gas (112 AKI/116 RON) which, thanks to APC, I could actually make use of. Oh, and random parts from the Abbott catalog.

    Eventually though, I cooked the engine…not by running it too hard, but by having a catastrophic coolant hose failure in bumper to bumper LA traffic.

  6. It has long been my mothers dream to own a red classic 900 ‘vert. She oodles and gawks at every classic Saab, although never owning one. There began my interest in the quirky turbo Swede-machines. I took up¬†auto-mechanics¬†in¬†high-school¬†and shortly thereafter got a paid internship at a Chevrolet dealer, leading to a slew of short-lived car ownership¬†experiences¬†consisting mostly of GM products. I always felt safe in the solidity of the large Oldsmobiles, and Caprice I had. I had saved up almost $1000 and was looking for a good winter car on Craigslist a few years ago. Admittedly,looking for a new land-yacht¬†but then¬†stumbled¬†across a white NG900, with a standard transmission. The asking price was a mere $800 and with the exception of all the dashboard gauges, everything worked. After a short test drive (and many engine stalls later) I knew I had to have it. I had driven a standard a few times before but never owned one. ¬†I had 7 (yes, only seven) glorious days with that car before I¬†totaled¬†it. I was feeling brave on the highway one day and got into a drag race. No car I had ever owned or driven was so¬†exhilarating, so fast, so captivating.¬†Completely spellbound by the screaming turbo and adrenaline of watching my¬†opponent¬†dissapear in the¬†rear-view¬†mirror, I almost missed my exit. I estimate my speed north of 120mph although I will never know since the dash was lifeless. Feeling¬†invincible I plunged the hatchback into a very steep offramp without slowing. Consequently I lost control, not mastering a manual gearbox yet didn’t help, and the car turned around and continued off the road, backwards, at an insane speed. I struck a total of 5 trees and came to rest before dropping off a bridge to another highway some 20 feet below.¬†¬†Both me and my passenger got out of the car without so much as a bruise or scratch. My passenger wasn’t even wearing her seat-belt at the time. When the tow-truck arrived nobody could figure out how to retrieve my car, nestled nowhere you dare take a tow-truck. The tow driver actually got into my wreck, started the engine, and drove it back out. I knew at that time no other car would ever suffice. I have since purchased two more, 1 OG and 1 NG 9-3, and learned an incredibly valuable lesson. I will never forget my 7-day Saab that gave its life for mine.

  7. My First Saab:
    I am the youngest of two older bothers, therefore I get a lot of ‘hand me downs’ ¬†When I was 16 the first car I drove was a Mini…. van, a 1998 ford windstar that used to be my mothers, I knew nothing about cars, but looking back now I there are so many signs that I loved cars. Also mainly because I drove that van like a sports car everywhere.

    Then in 2009 my mom let me ‘permanently’ borrow her saab. A 1998 2.0 tubro standard 3 door. I knew nothing about stick shift; dad took me out for 15 minutes and thats all the lesson I got on it. ¬†My parents (mostly all american brand car owners) both said the car was old and costly to maintain and said it was about at the end of its life, at about 83,000 miles. I took it easy on the car until I met my first car friend, who currently owns 3 classic saab 900’s; he told me its young and got a lot of life in it still.¬†

    Ever since then I drive my car like its an off-roader, sports car, moving truck, etc. (I even beat a mercedes convertible on the highway once) Its only been 3 years and my car now has 132,000 miles on it. I drive Everywhere! and I Love it, especially in my saab.  It has so many problems with it but it still drives like a champ.

    http://i27.tinypic.com/ie32xh.jpg

    I am DYING for the unveiling of the new 9-3.

  8. I was always interested in cars growing up, but not much in non-US cars as my parents only bought American cars (my dad had a Fiat, I think, before I was born, but other than that…US cars).¬† In the mid-80s, my parents bought a Volvo 240 for the safety aspects.¬† I was out on my own at that point and while the Volvo was OK, it was not really my kind of car.¬† I guess the first Saabs I ever noticed were the c900 and the c900 convertible when it came out.¬† I liked them a bit, but since they were out of my price range, I did not pay much attention.

    In 1989 I bought my first brand new car.  I was debating between a Honda Accord and an Acura Integra.  I ended up getting the Integra because I liked its sportier handling and the space of the hatch for hauling stuff.  (Little did I know I was on my way to Saab ownership.)  The Integra ran for 160,000+ miles until it was totaled in a snowy parking lot by an SUV.

    So, I began shopping for a new car with a bit more room and features.  At that time the VW Passat was popular and I was considering the wagon/estate.  As I read reviews of the Passat, I kept seeing it compared to the Saab 9-3.  Remembering how I had enjoyed the Integra hatchback, I went and test drove a 2000 9-3 hatch and was immediately intrigued with how it drove and the obvious driver-centered design (being an engineer myself).  My only concern, not knowing much about Saabs, was to really check into its reliability vs. the Passat.  After much research at Saabnet.com and learning more about all the engineering that went into a Saab (safety, night panel, seats, driver cockpit design, etc.), I was sold.  I pulled the trigger on my first Saab, a silver 9-3 hatchback. 

    I am still driving it today and it is at 182,000 miles and still going strong.¬† During the sale from GM in 2009, I started following SU and Swade’s posts got me interested in the Sonett III and attending the Saab Owners Convention.¬† After attending the 2010 convention, I got hooked on Sonetts and finally bought a ’71 Sonett in September of 2010 (which is in my profile photo above).¬† So, now I own two Saabs….and am waiting for the new 9-3 replacement….very likely my next Saab.

  9. My first contact with a Saab was being blown away by a jet black 99 Turbo on country roads in Northern Ireland and then seeing them race and rally around the UK.

    From 1981 I worked in a variety of jobs which all had company cars the best of which was a 1990 Audi 80 but I was always keen to test drive alternatives but never managed to get my hands on a Saab until 1999 when I was made redundant and had to buy my own car for the first time in nearly 20 years. With little money I looked to see what the best ‘quality’ car was that I could afford and I found a 1990 Saab 9000 T16 S. It had a few problems, most noticeably a very reluctant turbo, but it was well built passed its MOT without problems and did me for a year, 6 ¬†months of which was a weekly round trip of 500 miles from home to a new job. In the space of 4 months I put nearly 10,000 miles on the car which finally took its toll and the 9000 had to go and I was seduced by a Ford Focus, a good car but not a Saab.

    I am now on my fourth Saab, a 2001 9.3 SE, having had a 900 V6 and 9.5 2.3 which lasted nearly 5 years.

    One day I will be able to afford a new Saab, but in the meantime there are plenty of under-rated previously loved cars to be enjoyed.

  10. In the late seventies I looked at buying my first Saab and it was a very similar one to your’s Swade. ¬†It was a 1973 99LE red automatic two door. ¬†I was only an eighteen year old student at the time, and a rather sluggish automatic did not appeal to me. ¬†Had it been a manual I guess I might have reconsidered, but I ended up buying a red 1971 Fiat 128 two door instead. ¬†It felt like a lot more fun, but was the most unreliable car I’ve ever owned. ¬†I replaced the Fiat a few years later, with a 1975 VW Passat TS coupe which was far more reliable, but the little 99LE had left an impression on me and somehow I knew I’d probably end up with a Saab one day. ¬†Anyway after about six and a half years, I finally replaced the VW with a silver 1976 Saab 99EMS and my journey with Saab had begun. ¬†Hopefully it’s a long way from finishing! ¬†I wonder how many red early model 99s were sold here in Australia?

    http://www.sparky.ch/autos/img/i5961372-l-SAAB-99-LE.jpg

  11. I was first enthralled by Saab with the Viggen. I was maybe 15 or 16 and I my parents were looking for a new car – we checked out all sorts of different brands and models, but the only one that stuck out to me was a lightning blue 93 Viggen. My parents decided to go a completely other route and got a Land Rover (no complaints – I loved that truck, especially in Canadian winters), but ever since seeing that Viggen and the carbon fiber-esque dash… I became one of you – a Saabite.

    In 2004 my parents bought a 9-3, which I tried to drive as frequently as possible. At that time I had been driving a 2003 Mitusbishi Lancer, which, for a young guy, was pretty nice, but it was my parent’s car and at about 250,000 km, the motor was about ready to give out.

    So, MY first car, just bought in July 2011, is a 2007 Saab 9-3 2.0T 60th Anniversary Edition… and it is quite the car.

    I find it quite amusing when people see it and sit in it for the first time – the most common ¬†responses are “Wow, this is beautiful!” and “I didn’t know Saabs were this nice!”

    When Saab replaces the current 9-3 with a new model, and I am in a position to get a new car, there is little doubt in my mind what kind of car I will be getting. All I can say is that I hope they have a model called Viggen and they make it in Lightning Blue.

  12. I wanted one when I first drove one in the 70s, a friend let me try it.¬† I loved the way it handled, loved the strange¬†look of the car, and it was a hatchback, which meant I had an easy way to store a stroller.¬† My first husband said, “we couldn’t afford one” “we should buy American.”¬† I had a serious accident with a Cadillac, and the size of the car probably saved my life.¬† So, I bought another one, lemon didn’t begin to describe it, maybe grapefruit?¬†¬† Newly on my own, there was going to be a Saab in my life.¬†¬† The cost of the demo with 4k miles was less than a new GM anything.¬† That car has 207k (take that GM!), no major repair, and has the company of a red convertible.¬† A success story?¬† Only if Saab survives!¬† I want my granddaughters to drive them, by the way, I did my homework and Saab has one of, if not the safest cage in the business (take that GM!).

    1. You don’t say what year car is, but given the current mileage quoted, most likely it IS a GM product. Plus you admit the Caddy probably kept you alive. Just don’t get the GM hate, even though I know it’s quite the popular thing to do…

      1. the hatchback is 2002 – last year it was made; the convertible is a 1996

        Subject: [insidesaab] Re: How did you end up buying your first Saab?

      2. I dont  HATE GM , they just dont have anything I want , save a little co-operation . after all SAAB was a part of their develoment team , and they do sell parts for GM . Also the 9/4 is money in their pocket . Last I saw they still owe the taxpayers in the US some bailout money we had no choise in . Without that  they whould be bankrupt and closed , The union brothers in sweden need jobs too . IMO

  13. Completely different approach, I did not arrive at Saab by chance or love, but by decision: When it was about time to replace my aging Renault 19, I first collected information on all FWD cars built in Europe, in the size of the VW Passat. These included the A4, Passsat, Lancia Lybris, Citroen C5, Peugeot 406 (or was that 405?), Lancia Octavia, Alfa Romeo 156, Volvo V40, Volvo 850, and some more.

    I studied the material to find out which of the cars came close to my needs, Diesel, sufficient towing capacity, big trunk, decent interiour space, good design etc. I then made an initial ranking:
    1. Audi A4
    2. VW Passat
    3. Saab 9-3

    Deciding on the A4 took me just a few minutes, open back door, close back door, open tailgate, close tailgate. The space was a joke. I then test drove the Passat, which was much roomier. I however did not like the seats, nor the suspension. I then test drove the 9-3, which turned out to be much nicer, better looking and with better suspension. The TiD engine was rougher, though. The final decisive point then to me was that it was a hatchback.

  14. Back in 1969 I encountered one of the very first SAAB 99 among many other 96 Types during a Rally to Monaco, this had been the start for my personal¬†liking of SAAB cars and up to 1991 I purchased a total of 19 different SAAB’s. The type I liked most had bee my first 99-turbo in 1978 and the last one I purchased new was my faithful 9000turbo2.3 in 1991.
    Although disappointed by the mingleup with GM resulting in poorer quality¬†within SAAB’s production line, I am still in favor of this innovative¬†Swedish carbuilder and found myself a great old classic: a SAAB900S turbo automatic – which suits me perfectly as an old age pensioner in today’s stop and go traffic ūüôā

  15. Everyone who is divorced knows that this means a lot of changes in your life.
    Friends change, habits change and even the place where you live might change.
    For me one of the things that definitely had to be changed was my car!

    It was a VW Golf, a cheap and reliable but very boring daily driver.
    As I had owned several convertibles before I bought the Golf for family reasons,
    it was quite clear that I wanted to go back in history and own a softtop once again.

    At that time, the family of my fiancee owned a nice old villa near Lake Garda, Italy.
    This house was painted in a warm yellow, a typical Italian color.
    It looked great in the sunlight.

    During a vacation in that house, my brother handed me the car keys for his beautiful 1992 Mercedes convertible. My fiancee enjoyed the top-down cruise as much as I did, so my wish to own a softtop fell on fertile ground.

    Some time later, again in company of my brother, I accidentially stepped into a show room of a local Mercedes dealer. (I was born and raised as a Mercedes child since my dad was a long time Mercedes employee!)

    And there she was: a black SAAB 900-II convertible with parchment leather! I wanted her immediately! But the salesman told me that another guy had announced his visit to see this car, so I would have to wait. And imagine, this guy bought “my” Saab!
    But by that time, I was already in flames for the small Swedish brand.

    Some time later, I found a car that caught me even more than the black 900-II: a yellow 9.3-I.
    Only 4 years old, heated leather seats, auto-softtop, CD changer and aircondition.
    In other words, a dream on wheels.
    And in the sunlight, the color reminded us of an Italian villa…

  16. I could say I’ve been a Saab fan nearly all my life. After all when I was very young my dad replaced the VW beetle with a Saab 99 Automatic, sea green. It was probably a 1972 or 1971 model year. We had that car until 1986 or something. I remember one when driving up to S√§len for skiing. It was a lot of snow and the old road that was used then was very steep. My mum got a bit worried and said “Shouldn’t we put it in first gear.” and my dad said “No need. It’s a Saab.”

    My first own Saab was actually by coincidence. I was in the process of getting a drivers license so I looked around for a car. I looked at a BMW 318i, but it was too rusty. Then I saw a 1988 900i at the parking for a good price so I bought it. I became a member of the Swedish Saab 900 club and later also the Saab Club. Via their forum I bought a 1973 Saab 99L for a mere 500 SEK (about 50 Euros) that I spent some 10000 SEK on restoring. Probably not financially sound, but a very nice car and it’s still fun to drive it. I have used it for trips to the international Saab club meeting in Cesis, Latvia and to the one in Ljungbyhed, Sweden. Later I also bought a 1971 Saab 99 convertible, a 1982 900 Turbo (same as James Bond), a 1986 Saab 90 and the old -88 was upgraded to a -91 900S. I also have access to a 1999 Saab 9-5 via my girlfriend.

  17. My first introduction to Saab was as an impressionable 8 year old in the early 60’s. Mr Fabianski, a charismatic Pole, owned High Cliff Motors, the local Saab dealer in Cleethorpes, England. He was trying to persuade my father to by a 95. Dad couldn’t afford to go for it, but I was hooked. I still have one of the brochures he gave me.¬†

    In the mid 60’s a couple who were friends of my parents came to stay. She was Swedish and they had a Saab. I got to ride in the front seat, and he apologized that he didn’t have a Jaguar or a Rover. I think he was surprised how enthusiastic and knowledgeable I was about Saab.Twenty years later, in the early 80’s, with a wife, a young family and a mortgage, my job was made redundant, and I needed to replace my comfortable but rusting Renault 16 on a meagre budget. I wandered round to the local Saab dealer, South Humberside Motors of Grimsby (now Humberside Saab) to see if they had anything I could afford. The salesman knew his stuff alright – he gave my 3-yo son a large plastic model of a Saab 99 (about 20cm long), saying “Every time you see that it’ll remind you that you want one.” Sure enough, I soon did a deal on an Amber ’73 99L 2door they had traded-in, registration “DET438L” – affectionately known as “Dettol” – for ¬£700. It really needed a paint job, but hey! I was in a Saab! We loved that car and kept it for about 4 years, covering over 40,000 miles. It let us down a couple of times, but at least it didn’t oxidize away!

    The arrival son #3 plus a company car (’75 Saab 99 2.0) meant that we could no longer justify keeping it.¬†It would be another 14 years before we needed to buy a car. Amongst the company cars in the intervening years were ’90 900 S, ’93 900 SE, ’96 gm 900 SE and a ’97 gm 900 V6. When we need a car due to a change of employer, we chose a lovely Amethyst Mica Metallic 9000 CS 2.3t Anniversary. Sadly, I emulated Eric “on the roof” Carlsson in that, but that’s another story!

  18. ¬†In March 1980, my grandmother, who was an ultra generous¬†woman,¬†moved from Florida and came to live with us in New Jersey after my grandfather passed away.¬† Because my parents would not accept her money for living with us, she wanted to buy me a car, but it had to be with my parents’ approval.¬†¬†¬†She said she would give me $3000, which seems like a decent amount of money even now for a first car.¬† I was 18 and a car nut.¬† My parents had always owned European cars (VWs, Volvos and an Audi up to that point), so I was interested in buying a European car.¬†¬† I particularly liked the BMW 2002; my search began there.¬† My dad went with me to look at several of them in the $3000 price range, but by 1980, they had all begun rusting in the rockers, top of the shock towers and along the rear edge of the front fenders.¬† My dad rejected two BMWs that I thought suited me fine and I sulked with disappointment.¬† About a month of searching did not turn up anything decent or at least anything that my dad thought would pass muster.¬† ¬†One day, I was waiting for¬†him to pick me up after school at a doctor‚Äôs office where the school bus dropped us off.¬† In the parking lot¬†sat an Aquamarine Blue 900 Turbo 5 door, exactly like the one I coincidently own¬†now.¬† I remember seeing Saabs driving around before – but they looked like they were owned by messy people; they were always stuffed with junk and were usually filthy dirty with mud and the 96s and 95s all had doors with their bottoms rusted out.¬† This¬†900 5 door was different from what I had seen previously and I was immediately¬†taken with its good looks.¬† ¬†When my dad arrived, I suggested¬†that we go to a Saab dealer to look at what they had.¬†¬†He thought that was a great idea and felt it would be a good first car for me, with safety and traction of FWD.¬† Years earlier he had considered a Saab 99, but did not feel the dealers were showing growth and shied away from buying one.¬† We went to the two local dealers which back then were only a few miles from one another.¬† The first dealer we went to was Schwarz Motors, Dodge-Saab dealer and the first Saab dealer in New Jersey.¬† Schwarz did not have much to speak of in inventory and maybe had 2 new Saabs in stock and one used Saab – a 1972 4 door 99 Automatic which we drove.¬† It was not very exciting.¬† Schwarz also had lots of 99, stroker and V4 parts cars out back.¬† ¬†The same afternoon, we went to the other local dealer, Reinertsen Motors.¬† Reinertsen had several new 900s and a 99.¬† Most important, it had a much better selection of used cars.¬† After another month of waiting for the right car, in June 1980, I traded my 1979 Motobecane moped on a Topaz Yellow 1976 99GL 4 door with 90k miles on it. It was right in my price range and Reinertsen allowed my $600 for my moped, which we thought was a great deal because that was what I paid for it a year earlier.¬† That yellow 99 leaked virtually every fluid from underneath and made very interesting, almost Rorschach-like, patterns in our driveway, much to my dad‚Äôs dismay.¬† I learned to drive in my first ice/snowstorm when getting our 1980 Christmas tree in it.¬† It never, ever got stuck during that very severe winter and the heated driver‚Äôs seat had me hooked for life.¬† It was the first of many, many Saabs to come in my family.¬†

  19. I was working at a local dealer¬† and they gave a SAAB to me¬† for some service work , once I was done¬† with the service¬† I drove it¬† and it was a¬† WOW !¬† I like the way¬†this drives¬†! That was in 1976 . The car was an orange 99 EMS , haven’t owned anything but SAAB’s from that day¬† on

  20. I own a purple 99 1972 E¬†1.85 , just like the one in the Ad . Just part of the fleet of 6 SAAB’s I have. 45,000 miles on it ,¬†found in a garage in columbus . After going to the glove box I found invoices from where I had done service¬†on it in 1977 . It just gives you a smile . guess it’s a keeper =)¬†

  21. Well, actually, my girlfriend bought my first Saab in 1999: a cherry red 900i two doors from 1984. I payed my half by servicing it and paying for the parts. She needed another car for her work and decided it had to be a Saab because her neighbour had have several over time and she loved the cars. He had a 96, a 99, a 9000 et cetera. He passed away since but his wife still drives a 9-3 (how about that for loyalty)
    On a sunday, bicycling near the west coast of Holland we came along this red Saab 900i for sale in what once was a Saab dealership. It had to give up the dealership because of its remote location but still had most of the Saab customers who once bought a new Saab there. This Saab was traded in. I wasn’t a Saab fan. I never owned a car before. I had been a motorbike rider for 22 years untill then. I wasn’t interested in cars. No performance, no cornering, no topspeed, no adrenalin, no big moments, no thrills, wobbly. Actually they scared the shite out of me. Too big, too heavy, no room for error as in nowhere to go if the situation got hairy. And I didn’t like the fact that the limits of adhesion were so easily reached and beyond. Not to mention understeer. So when my girlfriend said she needed a car I was a bit indifferent.

    Ok, so we saw the Saab. A few weeks later I asked her if she wanted to take a test drive. She reacted a bit annoyed. “Why should we”, “I don’t want to”, “it’s to expensive” and “It’s too red” where a few things she said. “Too red?. What do you mean ‘too red'” I said. “I don’t like that bright colour”. ‘It’s cherry” I replied. I tried to convince her to take a look but she was as stubern as a woman can be.

    In the mean time I had read a few things about Saab and was beginning to like it. The fanatasy of owning a 900 Turbo one day was becoming very appealing, but for that moment a 900i was nice to begin with. 

    On a saterday we went for groceries and on the way back I decided to take the long way home.  But my girlfriend knows me too well. She immidiately knew that I wanted to take her to see the car and said she wanted to go home straigt away. But I had the steeringwheel!
    When she saw the Saab she started to laugh a bit histerically. In her mind the Saab had become Ferrari red but now she saw it she actually loved the colour.

    She bought the car and I kept it rolling for the next 5 years. It never missed a beat. We added 150000 kilometers to the 168000 it already had, before I decided to take it apart. I kept a lot of (chassis) parts which was a good decision because we bumped into this beautiful Saab 900 Turbo SE. Fun thing was it had come on the road just one day after the 900i on may 30 1984. And the colour? Cherry red (-;

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