I keep a list of cars that I want to own at some point in my life. There I said it. I’m sure this will come as no surprise to gear heads. No, I’m not weird. People who don’t keep lists of cars they ultimately want fall into two distinct categories: non-car people (those who think the Smart car or Nissan Versa are where it’s at) or those people who can acquire any of the cars anytime they want. I’m not in the former group, and if my latest ATM balance check is any indication I’m not in the latter group either.
My particular list includes a picture with a brief description something like the model year or trim level as a placeholder for a future spot in my imaginary garage (it will be epic, someday). Initially, the paper roster was comprised almost exclusively of American models starting in the thirties (Deuce Coupe), rolling straight to the start of the seventies (Plymouth Satellite – Ford Mach I), and finishing in the current year. There was one notable exception to the American domination and that was the 1971 Datsun 240 Z. I have a personal connection to the Z this post can’t provide enough space to go into all the details. Lately though I’ve noticed my list has grown to include makes from distant lands.
Where I’m headed with this is that of all the cars, and trucks I’ve become enamored with nothing is more surprising to me than finding a Saab made my list. And a Saab 900 to be exact.
My only previous experience with the Saab brand was through a person where I grew up who, when asked what kind of car he drove would respond without fail the same each time, “It’s not a car it’s a Saab“. “Douchebag”, I still catch myself saying instantly in response. I grew up in Southern Indiana, a place known for customs, hot-rods, modifieds, and racing cars of many forms. It was not known however for the proliferation of cars manufactured outside Michigan. In full disclosure I did have a friend who’s mom drove a Volvo, and drove an E class Benz. Ok, besides those three vehicles my hometown was pretty homogenous, automotively speaking. Now, my interest in the Saab marque is most likely due to the proliferation of YouTube videos, with people posting wonderful videos of their rides with all the work they’ve done. I’ve seen many good examples with their owners narrating the drive. And then it hit me, I like the design of the 900. I do, and to show you why, I will systematically list the reasons why I shouldn’t. The front end, displays a rather stoic expression most likely emblematic of its Swedish origins. Then there’s the huge curved windshield that wraps around the front to meet the A pillars on the side instead of the front providing maximum visibility. Additionally, the windshield isn’t raked too far, seemingly vertical even though it really isn’t. Then there’s front section, a long hood, reminiscent of a roadster or a Jag E-Type that’s been mated to a land bound cockpit or “lift back” as Saab called it. Finally, the spoiler. Well, there’s nothing strange about the spoiler, it just works. The sum total of all the pieces add up to a design that appeals to me. There’s a ton of technical innovations, and unique characteristics made famous by Saab with this model, but I don’t have the time to go into those in this monologue. No, I simply want to cover why aesthetically the 900 made my list after all these years. It’s safe to say the 900 wasn’t strictly a looker, and the performance of this model when it debuted in 1978 as a 1979MY, with a four cylinder turbo engine propelled it to a very respectable level of performance.
In closing if this kind of change is possible after all these years with a car maybe it’s still possible for me to appreciate the band Rush you know besides the universally recognized Tom Sawyer. Well, maybe it’s best to take it one day at a time.