EnG Snippets – Tax Abatement Style

Good evening all Saabisti! A few ruminations from my head to yours.
As expected, Saab Cars North America was approved for a tax abatement from the city of Royal Oak, Michigan to locate their new headquarters in an existing facility in that city.
Where is Royal Oak? It’s about 15 miles north northwest from downtown Detroit.
Here is the specific location to which Saab Cars North America plans to move:

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As reported earlier, Saab Cars North America is also expecting incentives from the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA), a state-level agency, and will not commit to the location until that agreement is reached. Apparently the local tax abatement, which is only about US$6,000 per year for the next four years, is necessary for the city and Saab to apply for funds from MEGA totaling about US$1.2 million.
You would have read this article about five hours ago if you were following me on Twitter.
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A funny thing happened to me at the hardware store….
Today I got my hands a little dirty and replaced the worn tie rods on my 1999 Saab 9-5. It’s not a particularly difficult job, and I’d gotten the tie rods about a month ago via mail, so today was the day.
I got the car up on the jack stands, wheels off and started to get the old tie rods off. Judging from the size of the nut, I figured that it was a 17 mm. I got my trusty socket set out and turned back to my work only to find that the nut was larger than 17 mm. So, naturally, I tried the next larger size from my socket set — a 19 mm socket. It was too big. Now, this is where things get a little dicey for us in the US: Were these replaced at some point with parts that used English measures? Quickly doing the math in my head, I confirmed that the 19mm is virtually equivalent to three-quarter inch, which leaves 11/16-inch was the only reasonable choice. Knowing that the 11/16-inch iss very close in size to the 17 mm, I didn’t think that was right, either. Figuring that it was worth a shot, I tried and failed with that one, too.
It was an 18 mm. How annoying. Virtually no consumer-grade metric wrench sets available in the United States include an 18 mm size.
I trekked down to my local hardware store who I trust to have this kind of stuff. They carry the details. I’m thankful for that. This is the kind of place where they still have six or eight knowledgeable staff around even on the weekends, so I was not surprised to see someone approach me as I perused the sockets. Not even looking up from my task, I was surprised at what I heard upon approach. I heard a voice saying, in perfect deadpan, “I’m not at all surprised to see you here looking the metric sockets.” Looking up, I recognized a semi-famous friend of mine there getting a little grass seed and a box of fireplace matches.
You see, this fellow has a new-generation Saab 900 convertible that has a balky top. At this point he’s got about $2,000 invested in the top alone, and he’s had a couple of odd ball electrical issues with the car. He loves it, but he has a defeated sense of humor about the quirks of working on his Saab. He and I have compared notes on numerous occasions. Because I’ve been primarily a C900 owner, I’ve not experienced some of the pain that he has suffered, and I often find myself defending Saab while he rants a little about the weird things that he’s encountered. Today, I had to admit that he was right. Right as rain. I was at the hardware store, buying a tool that I would likely use once and never again just to change the tie rods on the 9-5.
That’s right, I’ll use the 18mm socket just once because the OEM replacements came with 19 mm nuts on them. Really.
That’s quirky. I know that Swade hates that term, but it’s reality sometimes.
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Your moment of zen.

sm lime yellow 9-3 convertible beach sunset 2009.jpg

Courtesy of Flickr.

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