Hopelessly devoted to changing cars…..

Eggs and I have just got involved in a really exciting project for next year. It’s in the baby stages at the moment, but progressing very well and I hope to be able to start talking about it a bit more by the end of the week.
In getting it going, though, I read a comment by one of the guys leading the project and he said something that hit me right between the eyes – don’t ever sell your first Saab.
Then, last night, I posted a Saab Pride piece from Jochen in Germany, who has kept his first Saab 900 in addition to buying himself a MY09 Saab 9-3 SportCombi.
Am I sensing a trend here?
This is not my first Saab. My first Saab was a 1972 Saab 99E with an automatic transmission and it was written off by my ex-wife. This is actually my second Saab, but it’s the first one I ever connected with.
Photos fom Saab Car Club of Australia. I can’t even find my own photos of it anymore!
It’s a Saab 99 Turbo from 1979 and as you can see, it was in pretty poor condition. The dealer-fitted sunroof was leaky. An old next door neighbor had backed his car into the front quarter panel. The interior was torn. It had no roof lining whatsoever as the fibreglass insert broke when I tried to re-cover it. The paint was powdered and the antenna was in need of one of those pills I keep getting emails about.
Eventually, one of the gears (either 2nd or 3rd – can’t remember now) started making a constant clicking sound and I knew the little car’s time was up. It was my daily driver and whilst I adored it, I needed something more reliable and I didn’t have the room to keep it or the knowledge to fix it.
Perhaps I should go back in time a little here…..
Those photos you see above are actually from the second time I owned this car.
About 5 years before this, I bought the car from a painter here in Hobart. It was just good fortune that I had seen the advertisement as he was going to send it to the wreckers that week if it didn’t sell. It was full of old cans of paint and whilst it would start, the gearbox was broken.
I paid $400 for it, got a friend to help me trailer it home and set about cleaning it up. My mechanic, Steve E, ordered a reconditioned gearbox that turned out to not be reconditioned at all. The second gearbox was OK, but after we got it going it was noted that the turbo needed to be replaced.
After a very enjoyable year or so, I sold it to a young guy in northern Tasmania. He drove it relentlessly for two years and then decided it was time to get something younger. Luckily he kept my contact details and I was the first person he called when it came time to sell – and I didn’t hesitate for a moment.
A few more years passed and the car was fantastic fun, but when the gearbox started clicking (as described above) I felt the need to buy a new car as well. That’s when I bought my Viggen in 2005.
You see, this car and I have a history together.
I sold the car to a mate of mine here in Tasmania, Bill H. He’s still got it and it’s still got one stuffed gear. He’s also got the white 99T at that Saab Car Club link, above, and a black 99T with a good engine and gearbox but a completely rusted out body. I think the plan is to one day make one or two good cars from the three in stock.
Earlier this year I bought myself a 1989 Mazda MX-5 as I wanted something fun to drive. I also wanted to try living the convertible life. The Mazda is indeed a really fun car to drive and I don’t regret the purchase at all.
But somehow I am continually drawn back to my old Saab 99T. This model is still my favourite Saab of all time and I can’t help but think that at some stage, maybe after a good spring and summer in the MX-5, that I’ll have a 99T on my list again.
I’m pretty sure that Bill’s not interesting in parting with his. I’m also pretty sure that the chances of another coming on the market will be pretty slim.
Maybe I’ll have to look into building a 2-door one when the Mazda leaves the stable?
Whatever will happen, will happen.
But I’d like to back up those wise words I heard last week – don’t sell your first Saab.
I know it’s too late for most of us, but for some, those are words to consider.

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