Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saab Sister

I didn't always drive European cars.

My first set of wheels was a 1983 Plymouth Reliant K Car. That sweet ride was a gray two-door with a maroon quasi-soft top, complete with an eight-track tape player.

Looking back on it, it was kind of cherry. In 1995, it totally blowed, considering some of my classmates were pulling in to the school parking lot with convertible BMWs, brand spanking new Jeep Grand Cherokees and their parents' Jaguars.

But wheels are freedom, and I was happy to have em'.

The Reliant died when my dad and I drove it through an insane, springtime Nor'easter during my freshman year in college. There we were, cruising through five-foot salty waves crashing on to Middle Beach Road. Dad manned the wheel - I rode shotgun with the camcorder.

The sea water got into the engine and the car died before I came home for summer break.

The plane landed and my dad picked me up at Bradley, jazzed to show me what he and Brigid picked out as our new vehicle-to-share.

It was a ten year old, black, two-door Saab 900 S with a sunroof. We called it Black Beauty, and my parents affectionately called Brigid and me the Saab Sisters.

God, that car was fun.

A quintessential New England kind of car for two teenage girls on the Connecticut shoreline. I still miss those days.

Since then, someone in our family has always owned a Saab. My mother is partial to Volvos (her fire engine red 240 turns 19 this year - and I think it only has 90 K miles on it), but we girls have always loved Saabs.

My dad still dreams of getting a convertible.

I bought my 9-3 four years ago (a good proxy is pictured above) - I am excited about the prospect of owning it outright this fall. The car is built like a tank, though I think GM watered down some of its distinct, Swedish features.

Thankfully the ignition switch is still in the funky place in the console to the right of the driver's seat, and it's still expensive as hell to fix.

Saab is a quirky brand worshiped by thousands around the globe, and its faithful are hoping it can survive the tumult that comes from severing ties with GM. This past week, Dutch automaker Spyker made a $74 million cash play for Saab, offering up stock options and other creative financing to (hopefully) seal the deal. This comes several months after Swedish sports car outfit Koenigsegg was unable to follow through on its interest to buy Saab.

The brand is on life support, and this deal is akin to breaking out the defibrillator.

Born from jets - here's to hoping Spyker can make this deal with Saab take flight.


spydrz said...

Spyker makes some really neat's to hoping they keep the Saab quirkiness.

tamaralubenski said...

It's indeed the history of Saab that makes them so special for me.
The design is nothing but "different".
Some years ago I read a interesting characteristic of Saab drivers: "People that don't want to see their car on every corner..."

TGirsch said...

I knew I liked you. My wife has a 2005 9-3 Aero. Great car, and I hope the brand emerges from this ordeal. It would be a shame if they didn't.

For those who have never driven one or ridden in one, I tell them it's all the class, comfort, and performance of a BMW with none of the pretentiousness.