I don’t currently own a car. It’s a strange feeling – the first time in 24 years. In a few weeks from now I’ll start working again, in a post-Saab position, and I’m probably going to need to buy a car to get there and back. The questions is – which car should I buy next?
I say probably as I actually have access to a couple of vehicles at the moment – a Subaru Impreza and a Toyota Corolla (more on that one later). Neither of those are floating my boat, however, and I can’t see myself going too long without something more….. engaging.
I should say at this point that I don’t mean to upset any Saab fans by posting this. No-one cares about Saab more than I do but I have to recognise that my time working for Saab is over. Even if the company were to be purchased as part of the bankruptcy proceedings, it is highly unlikely that I would be asked to work for the new entity. I poured seven years of my life into this company, and all but six months of that time was as an enthusiast, without compensation. I care deeply about what happens to Saab, but in many respects, I’m also moving on.
I know a few friends of mine and readers of this website are in a similar position. I’ve read comments and had conversations to this effect. People are asking themselves and others – what next? They may not be in the position that I’m in where I have to purchase something quite soon, but it’s happening.
If you’re in that position, what are your options as you see them?
I’d be interested to know if you’re going for another Saab or for a change in brand to something you feel you can live with a little easier.
We still own a Saab – the 9000 CS that my wife drives more than me – and I think we’ll most likely always have a Saab in our family, but not more than one.
Personally speaking, I will probably seek to buy a couple of cars this year. One will be a daily driver and the other a classic that I’ve wanted for some time. A long-term keeper. I’ll most likely look for the daily driver first and I have three criteria for that car:
- Inexpensive (A$7K max)
- Relatively reliable
- Engaging to drive
It may also need to be a decent load carrier, but that’s not mandatory just at the moment.
This post-Saab life is pretty difficult, I have to say. I’ve been scouring the classifieds for well over a month and there’s hardly anything of interest in terms of daily drivers that meet those three criteria. If I keep an eye on load capacity the field shrinks even further.
Right now, the two best non-Saab candidates I can find are both Hondas. The Integra and Prelude VTI-R versions with the V-tec engines. The Integra is the model I’m more familiar with and I know it has the load-carrying capacity I might need with the rear seats down. The ‘inexpensive’ and ‘reliable’ criteria are covered and it should be a decent drive. It doesn’t really have many of the other attributes I’d prefer – like character – but you’ve got to start somewhere, right?
The next best candidate might be either an old Alfetta GTV or an E36 BMW. One might be short on reliability (even if big on character) and the other’s just …… not me from an historical perspective. On the other hand, though, I’ve taken a peek at the E36 and despite the poor personal and historical fit, there is some personal interest in owning a Euro RWD sedan, even if only for a little while. Even if I’m a Saab guy first, I’m a car guy over all, and there are many ownership experiences I want to have in the next 20-30 years. It’d be handy to be able to talk about a BMW ownership experience from a first hand perspective.
None of these are a done deal, but it’s both interesting and very frustrating to do some initial exploration of what might come next. There will always be a Saab around our house, but there’s also a world of possibilities out there.