Saab 99T Roadtrip – Day 2

It’s day 2 of the Saab 99Turbo roadtrip and right now Drew and I are on a boat, travelling from Melbourne on the Australian mainland to Devonport, Tasmania. The good news is that the Saab 99Turbo is below deck and yes, it got there under it’s own power.
Woohoo!!! And yes, I actually got my hands a little bit dirty…..
Yesterday was very frustrating as fuelling issues continued with the car. When I woke up this morning it was still somewhat questionable as to whether we’d be driving at all today. Some wicked chemistry was performed overnight, applied to the fuel tank in order to clean it and thankfully, when I called the mechanic at 9.30 this morning, I got the good news that the chemical cleaning of the tank had worked.
George the mechanic had actually been on the job since 6:40am – on a Saturday – so by the time we got there at about 11:00am, the car was ready to go.
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We had to transfer some parts that had been stored previously, which gave us a chance to look over some things again. Like the somewaht rare rear louvre, which i’m still considering the use of. Apparently it’s quite noisy when it’s on to the car.
That’s Wantirna Automotive, above, who have gone to some great lengths to get a car up and running when it hadn’t run for a number years. Take note of the condition of the hood of the car – paint quite thin and rusty in a few spots.
Below is the even rarer big rear spoiler. An original Saab accessory, this will NOT be going on the car, but is so unique that I’ve just got to have it hanging around.
We got underway and I’ve got to tell you, it was SO GOOD to be on the road in my own Saab 99 Turbo once again.

When I bought my first 99Turbo many years ago, it was pretty much the last weekend the seller was going to bother with trying to sell it. It was going to go off to the wreckers that week if I hadn’t bought it. I felt like I’d saved the car for another day and formed a really strong bond with it (sounds silly, I know).
The situation wasn’t so desparate with this car, but getting it going again after several idle years, and going through a trip like this to bring it home and restore it…….. well, it feels like the beginning of another great man/machine relationship (silly again, I know).
After picking up the car, we headed to a hardware store to pick up some cheap basic tools for the trip home. Then it was off to (the seller) Gordon’s place to pick up some more parts and change some panels with spares he’d collected over the years.
First up was a new hood, which fortunately was the same colour as the car. It came off a 99GLE that Gordon had broke apart some years ago. I’ve also got power mirrors off that car, too!
That new hood pretty much doubled the calue of the car. Now it was time to triple it with a new rear hatch. Tip for young players – getting a rear hatch off requires a couple of people, but is fairly simple……
…..Getting a replacement hatch back on requires a few more people and is much trickier. There’s a few things to balance and support, with spacer plates complicating the process of bolting it back on. And the thing is HEAVY.
The old hatch was rusted right through and beyond repair, but Gordon had a couple of spares, including this white one off an early 900. Yes, I have a new rear spoiler to go on it after it’s re-painted.
Drew’s an old hand at removing re-fitting glass and got to work on putting the original glass off the car into this replacement hatch. It was a better window with an intact demister, so we figured it was best to keep it.
The bigget item on the day’s agenda was removing the gearbox from the spare engine. Gordon had a few engines laying around in the back yard, so we had to get the right one out from behind a few others. AlAero and Gordon got to work……
It took a little while to get all the right bolts undone. Gordon led the way and his experience in pulling cars upart (and rebuilding them) was invaluable. The fact that he had a hoist at home didn’t hurt, either.
Drew celebrates the initial separation of engine and gearbox in
Drew is an old hand at removing and refitting glass so he thought he’d get to work on the rear window, replacing the original one in the new rear hatch. The original glass had a working heater element and was generally in pretty good condition. Didn’t take long at all.
Here’s proof positive that the car got out onto the road…..
….and proof positive that the car actually got to drive on the road.
Whlst the car is running, it’s pretty rough at this point. The timing seems way out and there’s little, if any boost. It’ll be a slow and careful trip down from Devonport to Hobart tomorrow.
The car was struggling with inclines so the ramp up to the ferry’s loading door was a daunting task. I let the previous car get all the way up so I could have a clear uninterrupted run 🙂
Once inside, we thought we’d choose a spot where the Saab could shine. A plce surrounded by cars so boring and dowdy that it would be like a beacon of automotive excellence.
Mission accomplished?!
It’s 10.15pm as I write this and in around 8 hours from now, we’ll dock in Devonport.
Fingers crossed for an easy and issue-free drive home.
Gordon, Drew B, Al Aero and Simon P were all incredibly generous with their time and skills today. There was a lot to do and quite obviously even the simplest things were beyond my meagre skills (like loosening gearbox bolts).
My thanks to all of them for their assistance. It’s great to be back in a 99T again and I couldn’t have got there today without their help.

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