Swade is not Alone

One of our technicians, Liam Telfer, who emigrated from the UK (where he was already a Saab master tech) more than a decade ago has had a number interesting cars since coming to the States, including Saabs. Perhaps enjoying the “American Dream,” some of his vehicles have been quintessentially American. Currently, he is one of the few here who isn’t driving a Saab. His latest dalliance is with a Dodge Challenger! It is certainly a car with much presence, and is much more masculine and handsome than the cartoonish Camaro or ubiquitous and ordinary Mustang. Still, Liam’s choice of car seemed a bit unusual, but in light of Swade’s revelation, perhaps not!

21 thoughts on “Swade is not Alone”

  1. Even as a red blooded American, I have always found Muscle Cars an aquired taste at best. In my college days (late 60’s), I drove a 2 year old Oldsmobile 442 for a while … the Olds version of the GTO. 442 stood for 400 HP / 4 Speed / 2 Exhaust. This V8 beast was also blessed with twin 4 barrel carbs and a drag geared tranny. It was loud, it rode stiff, and it was amazingly fast off the line. If you stood on it, you could actually watch the gas guage move … but at the time gas was only $0.30/ gallon.

    The problem? … After a long drive, you were deaf and it generally took about an hour for your body to stop shaking. Another problem? … with rear wheel drive, the slightest hint of a wet road, let alone snow, and keeping the car under control was a task that defined muscle car … not the car’s muscle, but the drivers. Finally … in a world before radial tires, an attempted hard corner generally meant you were going straight.

    I’ll take SAAB comfort and great handling over drag racing any day, but then, maybe I’m just a bit beyond that stage in my life!

    • A man after my own heart. One of my favorites from my youth was a particular 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme convertible. This was because the friend of mine had such a car, or at least his step-father did, and was generous in letting us borrow the car. It was a very reserved looking car. It was silver, black top, 5-spoke GM sport wheels, and the elegant lines of the rear quarter panels which were much more handsome than those on the non-Supreme, including the 4-4-2. Once inside, though, there so much more which made this car special: full instrumentation, four spoke sport steering wheel, bucket seats, and a Hurst shifter for the 4-speed transmission. The car was equipped with a 4 bbl 350 (so not at all like a 4-4-2, but it would still pull 60 mph in first gear), front disc brakes, dual exhaust and front and rear sway bars. It was all so elegant, especially with the top down. This Cutlass was the ultimate gentlemanly muscle car, I believe, of its day.

      • Can’t agree more. I own a ’71 Cutlass Supreme convertible. 350 with 3 speed auto. My wife (bless her soul) bought it in high school with her baby sitting money (late 70s) and will never let it go. Unfortunately, she was young and had a boyfriend who tried to make it into a ‘442. I’ve had to spend some money getting it back to it’s native state (still not there yet, interior still needs some work, but the mechanicals are fine. Always a higher priority in the budget.). On the plus side, he installed a high performance cam that makes it perform better at high revs, and gives it a cool “blub, blub, blub” sound at idle.

        Clearly, my Saab is a far better daily driver.. but on a nice spring/fall day (summer can be too hot baking in the sun), it is a rare treat. At every stop light somebody offers to buy it. It’s also nostalgic to have a car that takes some skill to start vs. today’s push button wonders.

  2. I do have to say as a kid growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, I thought the American muscle cars were pretty cool…and enjoyed seeing them at car shows, etc. But when I got to driving age, one thing that was nice (and I somewhat miss today) was how easy it was to work on those older cars with so much space in the engine bay! In college I had a Plymouth Valiant with the slant 6 engine and no air conditioning and you could practically crawl in there with the engine to work on things…there was so much room!

    A modern Saab is certainly a much better car, but there is not a lot of room around a Saab engine.

  3. I think they´re beautiful, Challenger, Charger, Chevelle and Camaro SS (1969) I´m not just a Saab-nut, I´m a car-nut. A black Charger, a blue Renault Alpine, a brown Saab 99 turbo hatch and a new 9-5 would be my humble dream-garage.
    I saw a black 9-5 today at a parking lot, and from the rear it has some 60thies muscle car feel to it, hasn´t it? Proportionally small tail-lights? I always liked that. (for example the 99 hatch rear compared to the 900).

  4. No, not alone, my driveway has my 9-3 convertible and my wifes new Challenger. It certainly makes my car invisible, that car has presence!

  5. Chrysler is and has always been the “Saab’s” of american auto industry – much smaller than the “big ones” (GM & Ford) but making cars for the “car-nuts”. Creating legendary models with high performance engines, better chassis than GM/Ford and much better looking cars. I’m a Saab employee since almost 40 years but I’m also a MoPar-fan/owner since 1975. Saab and Chrysler has a lot in common when it comes to its “genes”.
    Regards / Proud owner of a Saab 9-5 Vector and a Plymouth Barracuda 340 Formula S

  6. I’m probably missing the point, and I do have a soft spot for muscle cars, although I don’t know why but…….what happens when you need to go around a corner? Ahhh, there’s the source of my reservation. I’ll take an RS Clio over a Challenger any day.

  7. A bit off topic but the guys at Springman’s just sold their first 9-5. Jealous of its new owner? Absolutely! Congratulations to Jason and his sales team. 🙂

  8. Old school Mopar, now that is a thought that require my remaining hairs to stand up. Yes, old Saab 96’s and 900’s sitting next to an 383 hemi with a torque-flight transmission, almost heaven. Why? I don’t have a clue. But I do think I have make some changes within the fleet to make this field of dreams come true.

    • Couldn’t agree more, Beren. And the Challenger is the worst looking of all of them. My buddy has the new ‘stang, and that’s pretty nice, but the Challenger looks more like a box on wheels that anything else.

      I guess I’m wrong though – It sounds like that by all the comments people really like them!

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.