Like meeting an old friend in the middle of nowhere. Excellent chair-height seats, visibility, instruments. Five-speed shifter rubbery and imprecise, especially when trying to find reverse (mandatory for removing ignition key from console). Window and mirror controls on dash okay for longtime owner but hard to find for occasional driver. On balance, a superb car for long, hard drives over bad roads.
Car & Driver, July 1983
Right around that time that issue went to press, I emerged into the world, a blubbering baby. A little less than a year later, a platinum blue metallic Saab 900 8-valve turbo rolled off the production line in Trollhattan, Sweden and made it way onto the decks of a ro-ro for the transatlantic journey to the Port of Baltimore. After clearing customs it was shipped out and sold to its first owner. Where it went from there is a mystery lost to history, until it was bought by a woman in New Salem, Mass who owned the car for some period of time before parking it under some trees on her property and letting it sit for a while. Eventually, it made its way on the Craigslist where, Jim found it, in this rather sad state:
Jim, never being one to let sleeping dogs lie, dove into saving the car that his son quickly christened Mellis. A portmanteau of Mouse Ellis from a Judy Blume book. As all good names do, it stuck and I’ve continued to refer to the car by that name. So, in the two-ish years that Mellis was owned by Jim, she was the subject to his considerable care and attention. For a car that Jim used as his winter beater, it’s in damned fine shape now. Sure, she’s still a bit rusty, but I can report that her degree of decay has been halted and in pursuit of a “rolling” restoration, she’s developed a rather nice “patina.”
The result of which, is that I’ve lucked into a pretty incredible car! Despite its age and mileage, it drives nothing like you’d expect a car that’s been to the moon and is on its way back. Whereas, with Sven there was always something on the list, Mellis is a near perfect driver. A fact I was able to put to the test about two weeks ago when I drove her 900 miles to Carlisle, Pennsylvania and back to attended the Carlisle Import and Kit National Car Show.