The picture above shows my old Saab 900.
It’s a fairly notable model in Saab’s history as it was made in late 1984 as one of the first 16-valve cars. I couldn’t confirm it, but a story told to me by someone around at the time was that it was actually one of the press cars bought into Australia at the time of the 16-valve’s introduction. Those cars were supposed to go back to Sweden but let’s just say that stock control in the mid-1980’s wasn’t what it is today. Some of the cars were sold and apparently this might have been one of them.
I sold the five years or so ago after a relatively short period of ownership. It had an intermittent problem that would see it just cut out and die for no apparent reason. I gave the car to my mechanic for a week and told him to drive as if it were his own car for the week. It never gave him a problem. A friend of mine had it for a couple of months while I drove a Subaru WRX. He had no problem with it, either. But it died on me several times, once on a 110km/h highway with a friend in the car on the way to the airport.
I couldn’t rely on the car and no-one could diagnose what was wrong with it. So I sold it.
That was five years ago and last Friday, I saw the car on the road in a suburb just south of Hobart. It’s still owned by the same guy I sold it to. We were heading down the same road so I ended up waiting just behind the car at a set of traffic lights. I turned off my radio, wound down the window and listened to that 3-inch exhaust amplifying the traditional Saab 16-valve burble. There’s not a sound in the motoring world that’s quite like it.
Tonight, coincidence or otherwise, the guy contacts me via social media asking to connect. I connected and sent him a short message about how I saw the car last week and I’m glad he’s still enjoying it, etc. I haven’t heard back from him yet.
I know he’s put the car on the market once before. He had just replaced the engine, was asking too much and the car didn’t sell.
I don’t know how he found me via social media, but what if he’s interested in selling the car again and figured I might like to buy it?
I’ve bought my own car back once before; my first Saab Turbo, a 1979 Saab 99 Turbo (built in December 78).
I loved the car but I had a real crush on the Saab 900 model, so I sold the 99 and bought a 1986 Saab 900 Turbo. I remember having both the 99 and the 900 sitting out front of my house and thinking “what the hell am I doing?”. The 900 was a flash in the pan compared to the love I had for that 99 Turbo.
A few years passed and the 99T’s new owner eventually needed to get something more modern. He’d put a new exhaust on it, a second-hand gearbox and a new windscreen. The price was very right, so I jumped at the offer to buy it back.
I drove that car for another two or three years until the gearbox gave out. I enjoyed every minute of it and have actually tried to buy the car for a third time (or it’s pigeon pair brother, both now owned by a friend who doesn’t want to sell).
There was something very special about that car. It would need a hell of a lot of work but it’s still one that I would like to own again, even now.
I didn’t have great experiences with that car because of the intermittent narcolepsy issue. I recognise how much of a classic model it is, but I don’t have anywhere near the connection with that car as I had with the 99.
Thankfully, I had a wonderful 900 when I was living in Sweden. It cemented my love for the 900 model. I’d respected the model previously, but I hadn’t had an experience that led me to love it.
This whole article is theoretical, of course. The owner contacting me could just be because that’s what you do on social media – contact people. But seeing the car last week and having him contact me today did make me pose the question to myself: would I buy it back if he offered?
I’d certainly take a look at it. I’m much less certain that I’d be tempted to go back there, though, even if a flat-nose 16V is a relatively rare beast.
Have you ever bought back one of your old cars?
What was it, and what made you do it?