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Archive for January, 2008

Saab 99 Turbo – Back on the Road

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Well, after 3 months, I finally have my 99 Turbo back. I never imagined when I dropped it off in October that it would be 2008 before I was behind the wheel again. But it was certainly a worthwhile effort. We corrected a lot of issues on this 220,000+ mile soldier.

Since this is my first introduction into the Saab 99 Turbo line, I did not know exactly what to expect, so I had no idea that my 99 was really running below capacity.

I have to give credit to Angelo at Classic Import Service here in Redding. He said he wasn’t going to give it back to me until it ran “like a striped-ass ape” and whatever a striped-ass ape is and/or runs like… well, let’s just say I have fallen in love with this car all over again.

I took my lunchtime from work to finally get by Angelo’s to pick up the 99 that had been ready since Friday. Finally behind the wheel and making my way back to the office, I was about to meet a new friend: the striped-ass ape! It makes me laugh now as I recollect feeling that turbo power kick in. I always appreciated the hell out of that 99 but, man, I had no ideal how much I was missing out on. Granted, I had cleared well over 100 mph back when I turned over 220,000 miles, but this was some real “throw-your-back-into-the-seat” power.

I seriously wondered if the 99 was not too far off the performance of my 1988 900 SPG. Maybe because it’s small and older it just feels faster. Regardless, it was a blast blowing by the other cars on the highway, taking in the thrill of that funky old car showing me what it’s got 30 years after it rolled off the production line.

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Not for everyone. Essential to a few.

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

While I’m waiting for my 99 Turbo to get out of the shop (it’s been in there since October due to some hard-to-find parts), I added my latest dream SAAB to the collection: a 1988 900 SPG. I found it in Los Angeles with only 67,000 miles on it. Black, gray interior. Definitely has some clean up to be done but overall in great shape.

I’ve really been enjoying this car that was spawned by the 99 turbo. Feel like I am completing the necessary circle. Plus this was the first SAAB I fell in love with back in the mid-80s during college in Colorado.

Getting this car was also rewarding because I found my first SAAB in LA in Spring 2000. It was a 1993 900 turbo convertible which I found on Saabnet ( I bought that car to impress a girl I was dating. Flew down on a Friday morning and had a blast of a driveĀ  to meet her for the weekend back home in Northern California (my car before that was a Toyota minivan with about 180,000 miles so it was quite a step up!)
So I got to relive that trip a bit when I took a similar flight down to pick up the SPG, only this time I was joined by that girl who is now my wife (and we have 3 kids). We took our oldest, my 12-year-old stepson Landon, with us. I was excited to share this with Landon as I had shared flying up to pick up the 99 turbo in Seattle with my other son Jaden when he was 3 in 2005.

On the way back we picked up the 2 little ones for the final 4 hours of the trip to Cottonwood, California.

With the SPG, I finally made a breakthrough with Landon, who’s increasingly an ornery teenager with a lot of opinions. I’ve had a lot of great times with my boys, heading off into the mountains or down to the river in one of the Saabs on a weekend. But Landon never thought much of the cars.

He finally said he actually thought the SPG was ‘really cool’ and since then has not stopped bugging me to have it when he turns 16 (not a chance!).

During our great road trip he said, “Most people don’t like Saabs… that’s their problem.”

I agreed with him, and shortly thereafter came up with the tagline, “Not for everyone. Essential to a few.” That’s been a theme of my life. Most of popular culture doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve found a few things though that I really, really love. And those things bring a lot of happiness and meaning to my life. And in these things I have been lucky to find a certain caliber of people. People with a certain heightened sense of quality and values.
I am grateful for those of you who have joined me here. In the scheme of things, there are not a lot of us, but our passion is huge. And our commitment is important.

And I suspect you are working hard to do significant things with your life. And when you can, it just feels good to take a break and go for a drive, work on, or just sit back and appreciate, your cool old Saab.