EnG Snippets – Eclectic Edition

Ladies and Gentlemen, there is simply too much pent-up content sitting in my bookmarks not to share, but how to do it? There’s no theme, just bits and pieces. Most unrelated. Hence the title of this post. It could have easily been “Clear the Attic Edition”.
The Saab “Changing Perspectives” web site has launched.
This is the online companion piece to the recent television advertisement released by Saab.
changing perspectives site dekstop august 2009.jpg
I like it — it’s playful without being too silly. However, “driving” a Sharpie isn’t exactly what I had in mind.
More after the jump….

The Saab 900 convertible disappointment of a lifetime.
There’s no real news to report with my search for the “right” C900 convertible. In review for those of you that haven’t followed this, my wife finished off my 1988 900 convertible last winter. I tallied up the costs of fixing the darned thing, and I figured that it was time to find a better car instead. If my current C900 ‘vert was in better condition body-wise, I’d fix it and roll along. It’s not (of course), so I’m searching.
My requirements are pretty clear: Classic Saab 900 convertible, preferably turbocharged, manual transmission is a must, and the body must be in good condition. No 1987 models and no cars from the Northeastern US will be considered. Everything else can be fixed or at least worked around.
After some missed opportunities simply because I didn’t have the chance to go to Kansas City or Issaquah, Washington to see a couple of really good cars, I started getting discouraged with the lack of cars on the market that fit my description. There are cars out there, but I wasn’t willing to compromise to try to put them back into great condition. Most of the trouble came in two flavors: rust and bad transmissions. Been there, got the t-shirt.
Not really expecting much from a very short, almost terse, Craigslist ad for a 1990 Saab 900 Turbo Convertible in the Indianapolis, Indiana, area, I went to see the car while I was there last week.
I nearly flipped when I saw it. Only 44,000 miles on a 19-year-old car! It wasn’t perfect, but you could see that it was ALL there. No rust ANYWHERE, not even on the ground point of the front cross member, which all C900 owners know sooner or later will be a mess. The little tool kit even had the original plastic bag to cover a flat! Everything worked. No rattles. All for $5500. The only problem: the SRS light was on intermittently and then constantly during the test drive.
I parted ways with the salesman (the car was on consignment) and researched the SRS problem overnight, and guessed that it was a simple connector issue. The next morning, I called to make a offer. By the time that the salesman called me back that next afternoon the car had sold.
I was not happy.
However, hope springs eternal, and I’ve already found a couple of alternatives. Wish me luck.
Saab Sterling Silver Moneyclip
An unusual goodie from a website by the name of Skystone and Silver, a Sterling silver Griffin-themed silver money clip.
A little rich for me at US$120, but some of you may be looking for this very thing.
So, how’s the 9-5?
My 1999 Saab 9-5 SE w/5-speed is getting a new gasoline tank today. That’s a fun repair. NOT. My temporary fix didn’t take and the tank still leaked vapors enough to keep the “Check Engine” light on constantly — the evaporative recirculation system doesn’t recirculate unless the system is sealed. The car will not pass inspection where I live with the CEL on, so I’m reduced to fixing it or parting it. I elected to fix it.
I put new front rotors on myself over the weekend, and with the new gas tank I should be on the road to some more fun modifications. I’m eyeing the air intake mods that Swade made to his 9-3, and I’m considering a turbo tweak and/or a computer swap to bring a little extra boost into my life. More to come there.
So, how’s the Audi?
Finally, for this edition, a little information about my company-owned 2009 Audi A4 2.0 Liter Turbo Quattro: Dang, it’s good. Really.
I didn’t want to really like this car. I wanted it to be too bland, too common and too VW (whatever that means). It’s really none of those things.
The A4 feels like a cat. Ready for anything. Step on the gas, it leaps. Turn the wheel, it knows exactly where to go. And those monstrous brakes stop the car RIGHT NOW. I could convince myself that it weighs half of what the 9-5 weighs based only on the driving experience.
The 6-speed automatic makes a manual transmission unnecessary. I’ve come to realize that my dislike of automatics has probably been because they were three-speed transmissions rather than because they were automatics, per se. This one is very, very solid, very German in feel.
Oh, there are flaws. The cabin is very small. The radio and climate controls are very fussy and have tons of twists and clicks to set them the way that you want them. Since my wife and I share this car, it begs for a seat position memory system which is curiously absent. Low-speed turns produce shudder through the steering. The seats could be a touch longer.
The interior is very good, not great. I’d say that it’s low on style and high on fit and finish. That’s not a bad combination, really, but it’s no 9-5.
The point: the competition is out there, and they’re building really good cars. Cars that people want. Saab, take note: there’s a reason for Audi’s resurgence, and it started with the product.

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