Why classic Saab 900s should be loved nowadays, not raced

I called into my mechanic’s workshop at lunchtime today to talk about the work that’ll be done to the Monte on Thursday.
While I was there, he brought out a little treat from the workbench.
This is what a normal piston should (sort of) look like. This one’s actually been glued in place, given a coat of clear and been turned into a basketball trophy (we were called the Deloitte Pistons)
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The piston, above, is from a 4.0 litre Ford motor.
The piston below, is from a Saab 2.0 litre 16v engine and as you’ll see, it’s not in nearly as ready for work as my basketball trophy.
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That’s not just any old Saab piston. It’s the #3 piston out my old 1985 Saab 900 Aero 16V.
You might remember that the guy who bought the car from me was having a little drag race with a friend of his in a Nissan Skyline when he pushed things a bit too far. This was the result.
Steve the mechanic found the pieces in the sump when he took things apart. Remarkably, Ahmed the new owner limped around for three weeks with the engine like this! Just as remarkably, the bore was totally intact.
A new engine was found on the mainland, shipped down to Hobart and fitted some time last week. Steve’s wound back the boost a little so hopefully it should last a while longer.
Whilst I feel somwhat inclined to poo-pooh Ahmed for blowing it up in the first place, he does win back significant credits for fixing the car instead of just scrapping it. It must have cost almost the entire value of the car to replace that engine.
I don’t how easy it is to find engines and gearboxes in your part of the world, but here in Australia they’re reasonably rare. That makes it all the more important to treat these great cars with the respect a 25 year old classic deserves.

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