In this series, we’re celebrating the cars that made us happy. The ones that surprised us and made us smile (even if they made us walk once in a while). They may not be the best on paper, but they proved themselves on the road with more smiles-per-gallon than anything else we’ve driven.
Today we’re on the road with Pierre B, the Service Manager for Charles River Saab (now located at Boston Volvo Village).
We had our first Saab 9000 in the early 1990s, a no-option 1986 9000T which proved an excellent family car, with much more room that the 900s we had owned. We bought it with close to 200,000 miles, and while quite excellent mechanically (it had belonged to the general manager of CRS), we started to have some breakdowns and decided it was time to replace her.
In about 1994, I was walking in the rear parking lot of CRS and noted a very tired and sad white 9000T. It had rusty steel wheels with worn out snow tires, and it was clear that not one bit of wax had ever been applied to the Cirrus White exterior. After a few days of not seeing it move, I inquired with the sales department as to the car’s disposition. “You want it? $2000.” It had 90,000 miles, so I took it for a ride and had the shop go through it (I had already determined that it had been well maintained in our shop). Though dirty and ugly, it drove perfectly. We bought the car.
It’s amazing what a good compounding and the installation of 1995 Super CS 15×7 Fondmetal wheels did to transform the appearance. Now it looked at sharp as it drove, and the plus-1 tires made it corner brilliantly.
Photo circa 1988….
It was Sue’s car in the early years. She toted the kids, the car went to the beach (as we lived a mile away in those days), we took the car to Cape Cod and Maine on vacation with full Thule carriers on the roof and bumper, and in later years used this car to tow our boat. I inherited the car in 2001 as a daily commuter when Sue got her 9000 Aero. I loved driving that car every day. It was exceedingly comfortable, and while the Aero had the “best” seats, those in the 1988, draped in Edwardian Grey leather, were easily the most comfortable of any car I’ve owned. The massive carrying capacity, great fuel mileage, performance and creature comfort endeared me to that car. I even enjoyed the torque-steer and turbo lag; why those characteristics were ever viewed as vices were beyond me. They just reminded me of how much fun I was having.
We drove the car to 235,000 miles. At that point, an ABS problem appeared, and the rear chassis was getting quite rusted so the decision was made to part with that lovely car.
It might be something you had when you first learned to drive. It might be the car you bought last week. What’s the best car you’ve ever owned? Email me the details and I’ll post it here on site.