Saab Stories: Sven is for sale

Anyone want to buy a nice classic #saab 900? It's a '93 900S 16v with a 5 speed. Mileage is 222k. Needs work but has had a lot done to it since I've owned it - ecodes, new tires, stereo, roof rack, studded snows. Plus a lot of mechanical work. DM if interested. Looking for $1500. Located in Boston. #saabclub #steadysaabin #saab900classic #saab900 #saabnation #saab4life #saabforsale

So my time with Sven seems to be at an end! I’m now the proud new owner of an ‘84 8V Turbo formerly owned by Jim over at Old Dead Volvos. The ’84, as all good cars do, has a name and it’s Mellis. Once Mellis has joined the fleet in Somerville, I’ll give a full rundown of her. For now, my focus is finding a good new home for Sven.

As a recap, Sven is a 1993 900S, which means he’s got a 2.1liter 16V naturally-aspirated slant inline-four. Power makes its way to the front wheels through a 5 speed manual transmission. The trans fluid was recently replaced with Shell Rotella and shifts smoothly. Total mileage is in the range of 220,000. All accessories – windows, sunroof, fog lights work! With the exception of the front seat, which are pretty beat up, the interior is in good shape.

If any readers are interested, here’s a complete breakdown of what’s been done to him since I bought him in January 2014:

  • New CV joints on both sides
  • New driver’s side ball-joints (sale includes extra parts for passenger side)
  • Thermostat, and top-end hoses (sale includes extra hoses)
  • Valve-cover gasket
  • Major rust repair work – rebuilt front fenders (pic is recent but work is continuing)
  • Fresh V-belts
  • Brand new tires on SPG wheels, plus studded Nokian snows
  • E-code headlights (vastly improved over stock units)
  • Thule roofrack included in sale
  • Pioneer deck with AUX in, Bluetooth and handsfree phone + Rockford Fosgate 4in speakers.

Immediate needs: exhaust from the cat-back has rusted off (replacements are $160 via eEuroparts).

Asking: $1500, obo. 

Saab Stories: Back on the road

Well, a couple hundos later (ugh) it’s back on the road. Hopefully, this time it’ll last!


Meanwhile, as winter continues to stick around (seriously, it’s going to snow tonight!) progress on the Saab has been a bit … slow. Alas, the work keeps adding up! I’ve got a growing list that I won’t bore you with, but suffice to say, this car is gonna keep me in Saab Stories for a while yet. I’ve been balancing two needs – on the one hand, the car needs to be brought up to stage 0-level reliability, and the other hand it needs some livability improvements. For instance, most recently I upgrades the very blown and very bad JVC speakers in the dash to a pair of much nicer Rockford Fosgates. The Rockfords will pair nicely with the Pioneer head-unit I installed last fall. In terms of jobs on the Saab this has to have been the easiest. Seriously, I was done in 20 minutes, my beer, if I’d had any that day, wouldn’t have even gotten warm in the time to do this!

So how’s that for a barn-burner of an update? At least there was no little blood!


Saab Stories: Rites of Spring


After a very long winter here in Boston, we’re back on the road! Ahem, that is until the belts that have been making a bloody racket these last few weeks decide to heave-too and disintegrate. Welp, not this again.


Yeah, that’s no good.


Oh, and I has such plans today! I was off to a friend’s garage to fiddle with a few things, including measuring out the necessary sheet metal to weld up the floors and finish the months-long body work project. Alas, old Sven had other ideas, thankfully the belts gave up the ghost close to home and with AAA the tow only cost me eight bucks out of pocket. The car is now back at ABJ in Somerville, where they’ll hopefully sort the mess for me this week. Ugh.

Makin’ do

As you probably know, Boston has been nailed with historic snow amounts in the late month – the official count is now well over 70 inches! Even more is coming down as I write this. As you might imagine, these epic snow amounts have made having a car in Boston – a city not known for its easily navigable streets and thoughtful urban planning at the best of times – a total nightmare. I’ve shoveled out my car more times in the last 3 weeks than I can remember in all my years of growing up in Michigan! It’s getting to the point where there’s almost no place left to pile the snow.


I’m here to help! Also, this Lego Unimog is just the cutest thing!

Thankfully, I live on a quiet side street where parking isn’t too hard to come by. My neighborhood isn’t one known for the insidious but often necessary practice of parking savers. The real challenge of street parking with snow amounts like these, is finding places to pile it. See after a storm, owners dutifully go and find their cars – usually employing some sort of divining rod, metal detectors or the panic button on their keys. Once the car located under a shapeless mass of snow, the owner begins the process of digging out.

Simple enough right? Except that after 2-3 hours shoveling, people get tired and lazy. Those massive berms of snow between your car and the one in front and behind? Eh, someone else’s problem. You’ve beaten a path to your car and cleared out juuuust enough snow so that you can pull out and truck your way over to Whole Foods because you’ve run out of kombucha, again. Of course, before you leave you make sure your space saver is left behind, securing your parking spot from all the other predatory Massholes out there. After all, that miserable stretch of pavement is yours, you dug it out!


No Whole Foods run today.

See how this can start to become a problem? Thank god for high taxes. Yes, really. We may pay more taxes here, but we do get our money’s worth.


Inset – snow-chewing hell-beast! Bonus: it’s a Volvo!

The City of Somerville does a pretty effective job of handling snow. No major blizzard is going to sneak up on our city officials (I mean really how could one, with the damned Weather Channel each one an “event”) without an appropriate response. The above photo was from a clean-up following our first and second major storms a few weeks ago. Yep, that’s a Volvo front-end loader with some sort of industrial grade snowblower attached, which is chewing up and shooting the snow at high speed into a giant dump-truck. Godbless.

Saab Stories: Happy Saabiversary


Hard as it is to believe, a year ago today I became the proud owner of a well used Classic Saab 900. Owning a c900 has been a great experience and I’ve learned an absolutely ton, and I still have much, much more to master. So let’s take a look back.


As Boston is about to get pummeled by snow, it’s nice to remember warmer times.

In looking back over the last year, I can say that as far as project cars go, this one, on the whole, been fairly cheap! Starting with the original purchase for $860 + $160 to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to make it right with the authorities, I started from a modest $1,020 initial outlay. From there I righted a number of wrongs wrought by years of neglect. The mostly costly repair was also the most irritating – $360 to the local Saab specialists to break a stubborn bolt and change the v-belts, a saga well documented here. I am proud to say, that aside from that bit, all the work has been done by me (often under the close tutelage of friends – thanks Jim, Jesse, Zo and Ryan). I’ll spare you the agonizing details, but at year’s end I had spent approximately $2,443 on the project. That figure includes the initial purchase, registration and the v-belt job, so all in all the Saab hasn’t been too onerous on wallet.


The Saab. Rust work underway, e-codes and roof rack added. It’s getting there!

So what did a year and some $1,500 in parts, fluids and various odds and ends plus my labor get me? Some bloody knuckles and the following odd jobs completed: both front axles, one ball-joint (gotta do the other when it warms up), new v-beltstwo e-codes, a new stereo, a lotta anxious worries and some other odds and ends. I have pretty grand plans for the car but I’m still working to get it to stage zero. Its been a great year and I’m looking forward to the next. Up next on my list – new summer rubber, motor mounts, bushings and struts, a new exhaust, and a bunch of other things small and large that’ll come up along the way.