At what point is it OK to sell a classic?

I can’t cast any judgement on the following story. I’ve owned and sold one of my own favourite Saab 900s in recent years. And I know that everyone has a time, no matter who they are, when priorities will be reorganised.

As I read this story, however, I couldn’t help but feel that if Toby does what he’s thinking about doing, that he’ll regret it.

Those Carlssons are mighty nice…..


As a regular poster and Saab nut you will have heard me rattling on about Saabs enthusiastically for many months now-certainly since the run up to Jan 17th last year when things reached a “peak” and when I started tuning into to SU, which seemed to be the hub for the willing coalition of Saab fans.

Before that, and for many years, I have had a deep love for Saab not least because my Father worked for Saab Scania and always had the latest Saab on the driveway as part of the company car scheme, his first being a rust coloured 1973 95 and his last being a 1992 Red 9000CSE. Since I was able to think and reason my Father let me help him choose his next Saab. It happened roughly once every 3 years or 60,000 miles and was far better than Christmas.

I took over from him with real ownership (company contract hire is for wimps!) with a lovely back Saab C900 T16s Aero. Well, I say lovely…it looked nice but other than that it was a dog, a very, very expensive dog.

I recall with a smile the time it let its gearbox go through the tail pipe in tiny pieces at 80mph littering the A14 with cogs and teeth and bringing me to an emergency stop without even touching the brakes… or a week later when she was repaired and needed a clean – the electric windows packed up as the car wash started to squirt gallons of water into the cabin and I thought…”I do like Saabs-just not this one” as I held my coat up to the window ineffectively. I did have a nick name for her but I’m afraid I can’t tell you that for decency’s sake.

I then bought a convertible 9-3, 2.3 in Nocturne blue, and a 1992 Black 9-3 Aero and now I own that plus 2 x 900 Red Carlsson’s and a black 900 t16s Aero (LPT).

My wife is beginning to think I’m obsessed and 2011 is the year I have to make some tough decisions about what is most important to me. I just have too many hobbies – I take photographs of jets, I fly model helicopters and have thousands of pounds worth of UAV equipment which needs testing and flying and I have 4 Saabs when I only really need one…… or maybe two 😉

To that end I am having a wee sale and at the end I might just have enough for the 2012 ng9-3.

This is not intended to be a sales advert to those here – for that purpose I have enlisted Piston Heads. It is however a look at what one of your SU friends is doing this year, and an excuse to gaze at what I consider to be a fine looking car, it is tinged with some sadness but frankly I’m stretching myself too thin, so Its time to give a couple of things up.

First up is the best of my Carlsson’s she is close to showroom condition and secretly I don’t really want to sell her anyway, despite what the wife thinks. She sure is pretty, ain’t she?

For close followers of SU you will notice I finally found a replacement for the rear Décor panel that got broken by my “Valet/ Wash” guy. I won’t tell you how I found another one but let’s just say I was the one that was robbed…

Grrrrr. I’m ok about that now though…no really I am.

22 thoughts on “At what point is it OK to sell a classic?”

  1. Toby, two real beauties there – wish you well with the sale. I have but one ‘classic’ , my Viggen which is also my daily commuter doing 25 miles/day and the occassional 200/300 mile round trip for work. Hoping to stretch to a 2007- 9-3 wagon or a leased 9-5 in the winter and keep the viggen for weekends 😉

  2. I did have a nick name for her but I’m afraid I can’t tell you that for decency’s sake.

    I must admit I am really curious as to what you called her 😉

    That redhead looked seriously good!!

    • Well in the beginning I used to call her Black Beauty (a name now reserved for my 9-3 Aero-that is a damn good car even today but not a classic yet-not sure it ever will be) So with the original Black beauty in mind then imagine you have just spent £3000 on a new gearbox and the windows wopn’t go up in the car wash and you are getting very,very wet…what would you say…what would you call her?

      Its similar to that….

  3. I wouldn’t sell the car. I did sell over 15 years ago my old VW Camper. Now I bought an old camper from California and let shipped it over to Europe. It cost me more than kept the old Camper.
    A classic car needs a general technical fresh up and than you have fun. You’ll miss the sound of the 900 classic and the big luggage room. The only bad thing on this old classic 900 is the gear box shift. But I could live with that.

    Keep the car, refresh it and keep smiling on every ride. This car is a hobby and hobbies could be expensive.

  4. “First up is the best of my Carlsson’s she is close to showroom condition and secretly I don’t really want to sell her anyway, despite what the wife thinks. She sure is pretty, ain’t she?”

    Hi Toby, could we have a photo of the car and the wife side by side? That would make it easier to decide which one has to go.

  5. I feel for you my friend.

    I’m having a similar dilemma myself at the moment…. my 900 hasn’t been driven in perhaps 6 months, and although I’d love to keep her forever it just isn’t practical sometimes.

    My Viggen has stolen my heart, time, and money… leaving little left over for the poor 900 🙁

        • Ooooh Mike I think (if I may) I’m going to have that as my desktop-they are a lovely pair and I just love that photo-did you do it yourself?

          Simply stunning. (if you have only got two keep them.) I have 4 so I can renegotiate with THE WIFE once I get down to 2 I hope…

      • Toby…must be “something in the water”…because I have been thinking of downsizing my fleet as well.

        I’ve had these two 900 SPGs since 1990…and am starting to think it’s time for them to have a new home…maybe JAJ or VM would like them for the museum? Hmmm?.

        The black one I purchased new…the red one was purchased to “replace” an ’87 900T that had the complete SAAB AirFlow kit on it (the US version of the Carlsson) that was totaled in an accident. The Whale Tail & rear vent covers from that car are on the red one.

        The red car was on the show stand at the 1990 New York Auto Show. I know that for a fact, as I worked that show for SAAB, and later the car was put into service by the New York area Parts & Service rep. When he had to turn the car in (only had 1600 miles on it), it was purchased by a friends dealer at the time, for use by the owner. He didn’t want to drive his Porsche in the winter. I was able to get the car just before it was to be used by the owner, due to my wife’s ’87 car being destroyed.

        They both have warts…and are in need of a good restoration…but both are driven regularly in the warm weather.

        So I’m with you on this dilemma. 🙁

  6. Well you really are in a pickle here aren’t you? There are plenty of us who have been there ourselves.

    I can only say this. There really is no replacement for an OG900… I drive one every day, my summer car is a NG900 (highly tuned) and even after driving that rocket, I love my OG900. My brother sold his silver ’87 Airflow and he is still kicking himself because he didn’t realize how much he loved it until it was gone.

    I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. The OG900 is the best car ever built. I’m a car guy and I have driven hundreds of cars and I always go back to the OG900. Always.

    Just my 2 cents.

  7. Nice car. Your decision should depend on how you want to spend your time and money. If the car can be maintained then it probably is only going to appreciate in price with time. I tend to want to collect things but only ever keep two cars. That is based on the size of my garage. Good luck with your decision.

  8. Wow, absolutely stunning… I’d suggest keep it and get rid of one of your others… But then again, it might be time to let someone else take care of and enjoy it. I can only imagine how hard it’ll be and how much you’ll miss it. Still, at least you have the others!

    Oh, and thank you for the new computer desktop pictures. 😀

  9. Hmm food for thought gentlemen thanks-to” 900s” who says get rid of the others thank you…I hadn’t thought of that…maybe the 900LPT and Aero should go instead? I must be stupid…but that Aero is the best drive I have ever had (Abbott Stage1=big smiles in your car, shocked faces in other “better” cars). Since I have the limelight for another 10 minutes probably…why am I nuts about the 900?

    I love the huge clam-shell bonnet (hood) and the absolutely cavanous hatch back, not like any other-it is massive, and not squared off, it seems estates today are the only competitor-maybe the A7 “sportback” or whatever its called at £42,000 coming on stream now.
    The wraparound glass -even the rear pane if you look carefully is nicely convex-Kudos to Saab for picking up on that element in the 9-5

    The solid quality of the interior the T16s lpt I have is now as 226,000 miles and looks like new inside-people just don’t get how that’s possible-even me…but there it is.

    The sound-they were tuned special-they sound like nothing else. what a burble from the exhaust-reminds me of an old 911 turbo.
    The pressurised HVAC system again wierd and hissy but effective at heating and cooling and unique (I call it Darth Vader having an asthma attack) but I like it.

    Performance/ecomony even the LPT outdoes a basic rep-mobile today, it is match to the base deisels-it is 20 years older than they are, the economy is the same as their 2.0 petrol variants.

    The unique styling-people just stop and stare-and we know they aren’t ungly -they’re sort of unusual/pretty aren’t they? Just don’t know what non saaby folks think of them, but they are deffinitely thinking something as they pause for a moment.

    The super clear analogue look to the instrument bin in very clear if not “pretty” colours-that military green and orange arrangement (often used by Nasa in the space program, and by Omega in their limited Speedmaster range) its retro but cool. and easy to read without even consciously focussing on it.
    The redundancy across the back end. 4 tail lights two fogs 2 reverse lights…how many bulbs would you have to blow in order for folks not to see you…light wise it was virtually double redundant. no idea why but i like it and you can spot them a mile off from the rear. I just love the symmetry.

    That’s about it. if VM/JAJ and the gang use even 10% of this car as a “what does saab mean tro its buyers” stick in the ground they will gain much ground from their competition.

    It was truly Saabs independant thinking at its best that brought us the Saab 900 T16s (Aero)

  10. I tend to keep most my cars but the garage space seams to be the factor that keeps control of things. I really miss selling this 900 T16 CV bought a Sonett II V4 but that was not the car for me. Nice to look at but a disaster to drive and live with. I am to tall and the handling even with adjustable shocks and better springs and polyurethane bushing did not help. No sport what so ever. I just had to get a CV again so i bought a 9-3 NG similar to the OG 900 CV in looks but 100% better on the road and after Konis Eibach shortshift and MapTun(ing).
    But I miss the song of the OG 900 through the 3,5 inch ferrita exhaust…….

Comments are closed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.