The Aspen police department and Saab

This small article has been re-tweeted a couple of times today, and as some of our readers have stated that they don’t use twitter I decided to quote it here.

Through the late 60s and into the early 1970s the Aspen Police Department used Ford Torino 4-doors “rear wheel drive monsters,”…

Although the Ford Torino is a nice car, I don’t think it is the best car for driving in Aspen.

In 1973 a personnel change brought in a new police chief and with that… an open mind about changing the police department. Chief Marty Hershey gave permission to replace the Ford Torino with the Saabs.

Chief Marty Hershey was a very intelligent man.

The Saabs were excellent cars in the snow, though they lacked ground clearance which posed a threat at heavy snow times. They were very nimble, and at a police ice driving training in the late ’90s, I remember just how seriously they out-performed the traditional police vehicles.

I think I don’t have nothing more to add. 😉

But they don’t drive Saabs since 2001, and the reason is spelled G M. 🙁

We didn’t leave Saabs, they left us. …. when Saab was purchased by a large corporation,…, and priced us out of the Saab business.

Now they are driving Toyota Higlander Hybrid, after a couple of years with the Volvo XC90 which replaced the Saabs.

As the police department of Aspen seems to be only interested in hybrid vehicles, Saab should wait till a eXWD equipped car is available in the states, but then SCNA should visit the Aspen Police department with a test car.

fred diesel
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Actually THE only Saab diesel in US has been to Aspen and the PD and Im sure theyd love to test (lease) some beat or new Saab diesels. These cars run at least two shifts a day at high altitude in sometimes extreme weather conditions. Cant think of an easier, cheaper way to get these motors certified.

JeremyP
Member
5 years 1 month ago

I used to work for a now defunct Saab dealer who purchased some former police cars. They were silver 9-5’s and if memory serves they were 2004 models that we picked up some time later (I think 2007- 2008 ish?). Not sure where they were from, but you could still make out the lettering on the doors, marks on the roof from light bars, and there were various holes drilled on the console etc. Are there any other municpalities in the US that were using them? Perhaps they weren’t full duty police cruisers?

Alex740
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Vail CO also used Saab police cars until around ’03, they switched to Ford and then over to Volvo XC90s about a year ago.

I also remember reading somewhere (here maybe?) that Saabs were/are used in some US airports as traction testing vehicles on snowy runways.

It’s really too bad that Saab has lost it’s recognition for being the perfect premium vehicle for the snow here in the US. Having Saab police cars in posh snow resorts probably did a fair amount of marketing for the company.

Alex740
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Saabs in Vail, besides the financial loss, it sounds like it was a very good marketing tool for both parties.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2003-09-23-vail-saab_x.htm

esibley
Member
5 years 1 month ago

That’s funny. If you’ve ever seen the movie Dumb & Dumber (and really, who hasn’t), you’ll see an Aspen PD Saab 9000 in one of the final scenes.

http://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_3941-SAAB-9000-1993.html?PHPSESSID=e71fd3875cf6bd260d55c594b438af24

Great movie. Great car.

Steve C.
Member
5 years 1 month ago

I’ve seen Aspen’s Saab 9000 police cars. The rental 1996 9000 I had on that trip was the same gold color as the police cars.

Mark
Member
5 years 1 month ago
Mark
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Also some info on Vail Colorado police cars:

http://www.saabhistory.com/2009/03/05/the-history-of-saab-police-cars-in-vail-colorado/

Again GM is cited as the reason for the Police force no longer buying Saab.

Alex740
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Yeah, it sounds like the police and town reps were very sad to see them go in everything I have read. The cars were not only fun to drive but a bit of a tourist attraction. Hopefully someday Saab can restart this partnership, it’s fantastic marketing for them.

Tripod
Member
5 years 1 month ago
Red J, Thanks for the post; nice to read about their experiences. So sad that it came to an end. Markac, Thanks for the link. And I would also like thank the Assistant Chief of Police, Bill Linn, who wrote it. I can definitely understand why they liked them; driving in such conditions. And during the early period of their time with Saab there were no competition; FWD and 15 inch wheels, when most had RWD. I can also understand that they enjoyed the ergonomics, the road handling, and that they could be really fast if needed. If I may… Read more »
Mark
Member
5 years 1 month ago

It was part of the slow decline of Saab during it’s fully GM owned.
Ideas and things that made Saab stand out gradually got extinguished.
There is much rebuilding to do…

Mark
Member
5 years 1 month ago

Sorry I meant to write “It was part of the slow decline of Saab during it’s fully GM owned.”

Mark
Member
5 years 1 month ago

“fully GM owned period”.

The phone keeps ringing while I’m trying to type!!!

retired saab
Member
5 years 1 month ago

I remember the Vail police in 9000 CSEs in 1995, when I first lived in CO.

As to the airport Saabs, we still have one at Minneapolis-St. Paul Int’l that we see at Morrie’s every now and then. I see it more often out on the icy runways and tooling around the tarmac. : )

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