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Readers share their Saab stories

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  January 8, 2010 02:24 PM

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(Boston.com/Will Lehman)

It's not over yet. Despite Thursday's last-minute bid by a Luxembourg investment firm and F1 billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, Saab's board members in Sweden voted to liquidate the company today. Yet reports are pouring in that General Motors is still considering offers, and some members of the Swedish government are purportedly coming to Detroit on Saturday to persuade GM yet again.

Enough about the business, already. The strange and devoted Saab owners among our readers sent us their stories featuring their equally strange cars. Read on, and hope for more Saab memories in 2010 and beyond.

mysaabs-450.jpg I went to college in the mid-80s in a Saab model 99 GLE. It was a hand-me-down from my father. I drove it for three years with no third gear. Otherwise it ran like a top and almost made me feel like a local in Vermont. I now drive an '04 Saab 9-5 Aero wagon, which is the epitome of what a sport utility vehicle should be. Fast, fun, and with decent interior volume for moving stuff around. PLEASE CAR GODS...DO NOT END SAAB...

Peter Dennesen, Beverly Farms, Mass.

Saab-9000-1988-2.jpg

I'm 22 and I have a 1988 Saab 9000 Turbo. I bought it in August 2007, with about 208,000 miles on it, for $50 from a man who just wanted it out of his driveway.

It had been sitting for four years and needed exhaust, a new set of tires and some other standard items (serpentine belt, radiator hoses, spark plugs, spark plug wires, oil and filter, front brake pads, some marker bulbs, and a bulb for the right side headlight). After the parts were replaced I hit the road with this car in nice shape for under $900, having done all the labor myself, with a bunch of new parts.

The car has grown on me to the point that it's one of my family members and my family knows it. My mom told me she heard on the news that Saab owners were driving to GM to encourage them to save Saab, and wanting to join in I searched for the plan and found that I had missed out. I was angry my car wouldn't get the chance to flex its ability to knock down the miles from Coopersburg, Pennsylvania to Detroit with ease.

The car has performed spectacularly since I've had it and I'll have it until the day I die. Along with this I'm sending some pictures from a trip I took to the other side of the state to visit a friend, a 250 mile drive each way, where at 65mph I averaged 32.0 mpg, even having sat for around an hour total in 0-5 mph traffic. The trip was in August 2008 and went on without issue. As of my writing this on January 7, 2010, the car has 221,479 miles.

Will Lehman, Coopersburg, Penn.

When I saw in the news that Saab's story is likely ending, I couldn't help but think, "what a shame..."

While I can hardly call myself a Saab enthusiast, I can appreciate good European engineering and have always liked the unique feel of any of these cars, whether driving or riding in them.  I have also heard loud and clear the testaments that people give about these cars; the loyalty that's there.
 
My current lease on a Mazda crossover was due to be up in March. My husband and I were starting to explore about what we would want. I suggested we look at Saab.  I emailed a friend who owns one and she gave rave reviews.
 
48 hours later we were the owners of a brand new 2009 Saab 9-3 2.0T XWD SportCombi wagon that we bought for roughly $10,000 off the sticker. Where do I begin... I love this car.  It drives like no other car I've ever had.
 
I sincerely hope for Saab enthusiasts (of which, again, I can hardly claim to be one just yet) that the brand survives. It is clearly an iconic brand both here and abroad.
 
If it does not, I feel lucky to have gotten one of the last. As for worries about parts, I am hardly concerned. There are plenty on the road, not to mention plenty of foreign motor repair shops. As for value, my best guess is that there is some Saab enthusiast out there who will one day be willing to scoop up this car for one of these last models. 

But the bigger question remains... would I be willing to sell it?  I'm starting to doubt it.

Marybeth Nelson, Boston, Mass.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee
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