Posted by: saabnuts | July 21, 2012

Saaber Blogger

1978 Saab 99 Turbo

1978 Saab 99 Turbo

Pictured above is our 1978 Saab 99 Turbo.  For me, this car is a bit of a time machine.  One of my early cars was a ’78 99 EMS.  I loved that EMS and it is surrounded by wonderful memories of being college age and having a far more care free life than we have as middle aged folks with jobs, a mortgage, etc.

Everything from the lines of the car to the sound of it turning over and starting, to its engine idle sound, exhaust sound and the unique smells inside this classic Saab bring me back to being a younger guy who LOVED driving his Saab.  The 99 EMS went everywhere from the woods of New England to the shores.  I reveled in being out on the roads, having fun even in the worst snow storms that left other vehicles crippled or unable to hold the road.

I’m mentioning this yet again because I’ve just finished reading another post I enjoyed on Saab vs. Scepticism.

For readers unfamiliar with our history of owning Saabs, I’ll mention that we’ve owned a 1978 99 EMS, a 1993 900 Turbo (classic style), a 1994 900 SE Turbo, a 2000 Viggen, nearly identical 2002 9-3 Turbos and the 1978 99 Turbo.  You can check out our Saabs, sans the 99 EMS on the flickr link on the right side of this blog.

On more than one occasion I had the pleasure of driving several of our Saabs in the course of a day, going from the 99 Turbo to 93 900 Turbo or to the Viggen.

I marveled at the similarities between the first 99 Turbo and the 93 900 Turbo as well as their differences.  The 99 is what I think of as pure machine.  A raw, man meets machine kind of driving experience.  The 99 is quite comfortable to ride in and drive, but when you can climb out of that 99 Turbo into the last of the “classic” 900 Turbos (the 1993) you see astonishing differences between the two cars, even though I thought of the ’93 900 Turbo as the last grandchild of the 99 Turbo.  The 1993 had plush but firm leather seats, a nice stereo system, power versus manual sunroof and windows, air conditioning, etc. and a much more refined feel while still retaining a 99 Turbo feel as well in terms of driving.  The 1993 had a more powerful engine and Turbo which made the old 99 seem slow, but I adore both cars.

1993 Saab 900 Turbo 3 Door

1993 Saab 900 Turbo 3 Door

Flash forward yet again, or in our case, park one Saab and climb into another and I’m thinking of how much I enjoyed our 1994 900 SE Turbo.

It really didn’t look or feel as much like the 99 as the 1993 900 Turbo, yet it was still a Saab and every bit as fun to drive.

The 1994 made the 1993 seem slow, and less luxurious, with its even better sound system, climate control and advanced safety, the 1994 NG (next generation 900) was quite a leap forward from the one year older 1993.

1994 Saab 900 SE Turbo

1994 Saab 900 SE Turbo

Flash forward again, or rather, park the 1994 and climb into our 2000 Viggen.

Once again I marveled at the differences between all of these fine Saabs.  The Viggen is perhaps the most luxurious and sporty of our Saabs (I know there are even more delightful 9000 and 9-5 models out there), but I’m focusing on what WE own.

Our 2000 Viggen December 9, 2011 003

Our 2000 Viggen December 9, 2011 003

Once again, behind the wheel of the Viggen, I marveled anew at how refined the Viggen is.  Incredibly comfortable seats (for most people, though not for some of varying sizes and backside widths), an incredible sound system and all of the creature comforts 2000 offered (no satellite navigation, etc.), and an even more powerful engine and turbo.

For me the Viggen is like the 99 Turbo on steroids, and mind you, we kept our Viggen stock save for a genuine Saab exhaust upgrade (we have not replaced chips or reprogrammed anything to deliver more power than when the car left Sweden).

These are my rambling thoughts.  They are things I still appreciate about the Saabs we’ve previously owned or still own.

I am thinking of and writing about them simply because of the article linked above.

I share the sense of how impressive it can be to go from a classic Saab you own and love, to a modern Saab, and revel in the pleasure of owning one of these fine cars.  I too share the sadness these days of knowing, every time I climb into ANY of our Saabs, that these MAY be the last Saabs we ever own.

I do hope the people of Trollhattan have the chance to once again show the world how cars SHOULD be made.

OK, now I am itching to go start the Viggen and take a drive to nowhere in particular.

P.S. While I am promoting other Saab blogs I enjoy (or a blog by a former Saab employee), let me suggest you also check out Swadeology.

Steven Wade has a nice variety of articles including two recent posts I appreciated about the do’s and don’ts of social media for car companies.  Great stuff.  I only wish that Swade had been able to see Saab thrive along with his coworkers at Saab during their last run.

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