I will never complain about the price of Saab maintenance again

I just had what I believe alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity.
As you may know (and may be sick of hearing about), I’ve been on the lookout for a Porsche 944. It’s one of the cars that I’ve always wanted to own and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to have a Porsche in the driveway for a little while?
I found what looked to be a pretty good car, and may well be. But in talking to the owner, he mentioned that the car has been running on the same clutch for over 120,000km. He said it feels 100% OK, but 120K is 120K. In addition, the torque tube is a little noisy at idle. Other than that, the car is 100%, with only a few little cosmetic issues to worry about.
As part of my due diligence, my next call was to a specialist Porsche parts supplier, where I learned that a clutch kit for a 944 will set you back over A$1,200!! Same again for the torque tube! Then there’s the labour for the work to be carried out, which won’t be cheap given that the mechanic will likely have “Porsche” written on the front door.
To put that clutch cost into perspective, the clutch on the similarly aged Saab 900 Aero that I sold a few months ago was replaced (with the genuine Sachs item) for a total cost of $800. That’s parts and labour. The 944 will cost a full 50% more just for the part!
This revelation has me totally re-thinking the Porsche route. Yes, I’d love the experience, but what price do you put on it?
It’s also got me appreciating the Saab experience all over again. Yes, Saabs can be pricier than some other vehicle makes, but for standard maintenance they’re pretty much on a par. And if you divide that maintenance cost into the value for money that you get from the vehicle, then they’re an absolute thriller.
Consider my 900 Aero. More power than the Porsche. Pretty good handling, though probably not as good. More practical. More bells and whistles. More comfortable from an everyday point of view though the Porsche is more comfortable in a sports car sort of way.
I sold the 900 for just a shade over $3,000 and the cheapest 944 in the country, which doesn’t even have power steering, is selling for $8,000. It does look great and seeing it’s here in Tasmania, I’ve actally driven it and it’s definitely fun.
But is it worth the maintenance risk?
When raising the issue of a Mazda MX-5 again in my snippets post from earlier today, Jono rightly mentioned comments to the effect that a Porsche is a Porsche and a Mazda is just a Mazda. But for the price of the cheapest 944 in Australia I can get a pretty well kitted out MX5 that’s got great handling, a hardtop and a soft-top, and from personal experience is a lot of fun to drive.
Yes, a Porsche would be highly desireable. But at what price?
And don’t complain about the cost of routine Saab maintenance because on the whole, they’re pretty well built and quite affordable in the markets I peruse: You get a hell of a lot of car for your money.
They ain’t priced like a Toyota becuase they’re a lot more enjoyable to own and drive.

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