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Requiem for a machine

I drove my Saab home last night. I could feel the oil and gasoline coursing through it’s veins. The news was bad. Saab may have reached the end of the line, no new offspring to carry on the name. Like an extinct species, Saab has reached the end of the line, mainly because some CEO saw a spot of red ink on his ledger.

“I’m gonna do something about that spot”, says he. “No red ink for me”!

The Saab 92

The Saab 92

Several suitors came and went. Finally the only solution left was to give it away. The Russians said they would take it, if the European Union also gave them 400 billion Euro’s. The EU also didn’t like that red spot of ink either, so Saab is relegated to the scrap heap.

Who would have thought that a guy could have made his living for his whole adult life on a quirky little car made in another country, and one not made in huge numbers, either. And quirky they were. The engineers from Saab, airplane guys, needed to come up with a car after WWII to diversify their company. They bought some old DKW’s in a junkyard to help design their car. The DKW’s had 2 stroke engines, hence Saab’s first cars did too.

I remember this old country boy I worked with. He did Dodge cars, as our dealership at the time had multiple car lines. He remembered some oddball neighbor of his that had an old 2 stroke Saab. “I used to blow past him so fast I ran him off the road”, he said proudly. He didn’t think much of quirky little foreign cars.

Greg and a 1958 93

Greg and a 1958 93

My first one was pretty pokey too, but when they started hanging turbochargers on them, fewer country boys could blow past them. They have quite a following also, by the numerous web sites and forums dedicated to the car.

On Friday the 11th of December, 2009, the CEO of GM announced that talks were over and they are going to close down Saab. The newspaper guys were hanging out at the shop, like sharks looking for a good story. Saab is heading for the history books, like the dinosaurs, Edsels, and analog tv. I’m going to miss them when they’re gone.


1 Comment

  1. Bill

    That just sucks.

    I owned a brand spanking 1986 Saab 900S while I was stationed in Germany. After I drove it a while, I felt like it was truly the best damn car on the road. It had better seats than the 318 BMW, and they were heated. 60% of the weight was over the front axle, so I could go down the autobahn in heavy snow past every other car including Volvos with impunity. And, it looked like no other car on the road. The rear seats and rear deck folded down and came off, so you could carry anything in the back. The hood popped forward and rotated like a Corvette, so you could get to everything on the motor.

    Once in the heavy snow, my then wife was driving another woman to her doctor. Her baby was coming. She spun the car on an exit ramp, hit a highway divider really hard, ran over some curbs, and came to a stop. She calmed down, and then continued to drive. The damage: one slightly bent aluminum tire rim.

    I have great memories of my time in Europe, and my black 5 speed SAAB was in every one.

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