I’m trying to not think of this as buyer’s remorse, and I don’t think it is a case of buyer’s remorse, but I think I have to get this out of my system anyway, just in case.
Those of you who have been hanging around here for a while know that I’m a bit of a serial car-shopper. I don’t mean for it to be that way, but I guess I have a wandering automotive eye.
In January (was that just last month??) I ventured over to the Australian mainland and bought a car that I’ve been after for some time – a Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo. It’s a color that I love and it’s got an interior that I really love (esp now with the carbon fibre dash) and an engine with a heck of a lot of potential. At the price I paid, it really is the bargain of the year.
In addition to that I’ve got a classic flat-nose 16V Saab 900 Aero in silver that’s a joy to drive and has become a car that I’ve got more and more attached to now that it’s come time to sell it.
And in addition to that I’ve got my toy track car, the 16V Alfa Romeo 33.
When you consider that we’ve really only got room for two cars at out place and then you add in my wife’s Saab 9000 then you could well say that I’m rather spoiled…..that I should count my blessings.
So why is it that I’ve been seeing pictures of Viggens this week and feeling myself totally overcome with the automotive equivalent of teenage lust?
I owned a Viggen a few years ago. It was a three-door in Lightning Blue. That meant it had the magnificent blue and black interior with full carbon fibre treatment on the dash.
I’d installed the Abbott Racing steering rack clamp and brace, Koni dampers all round and a new intake pipe. On July 6, 2007 the car was running as sweet as a B235R engine could. On July 7th, it was gone.
It’s hard to believe, but around 6 months earlier, I’d actually become bored with the Viggen. I couldn’t believe it myself, but it was true. It was stock standard and in January 2007 I blew one of my rear dampers as I came around a left-hand corner and accelerated up a hill. That forced me to spend a little money on the car and as I started to do the upgrades I’d always read about, I came to know the beautiful blank canvas that the Viggen really was.
It was a great car right out of the factory. Don’t get me wrong. But the real beauty of the Viggen is the untapped potential. The ability the car has to grow with you.
With the Saab 9-3 Viggen you get a brilliant looking car whose performance just doesn’t quite match up to the clothes it wears. It hurts a little to have to spend the money that Saab should have spent when it was built, but the end result is something to behold.
When you go through an experience like this with a car it tends to bind you to it. It’s still an inanimate object, but it comes as close as a machine can come to having soul. This isn’t peculiar to the Viggen, by the way. Many of you have most likely felt the same with something else and I felt the same with the 99 Turbo I had many years ago.
Take a journey with a car and it stays with you long after the car is gone.
I don’t know if I’ll achieve the same level of connectedness with the Monte Carlo. It doesn’t feel like it right now but then the journey’s just beginning. All I know is that 11.48pm here on the 24th of February 2009, I’d probably take a cheque for all three of my cars right now if it gave me even an 80% chance of getting into a Viggen again tomorrow.
For me, a person who will most likely only ever be able to afford a prior generation car rather than a current one, the Viggen represented the pinnacle of Saab’s achievement. It was a statement car from a company that should have plenty to say. Buying one was a dream come true. Losing it in a track day accident was a nightmare.
If you own a Viggen, then keep it. If you don’t own one and you want to own one someday, then take the chance when it comes. The same goes for any other Saab you view as the crowning achievement that you could obtain.
Maybe I’ll get another one some time. A good mate told me on the phone tonight that you can’t own everything, but you can own everything once.
Maybe I’ll just have to be content with that.