Yeah, except for the fact that engine is installed backwards and the gearbox is made from paper mache, but otherwise, yeah sure.
Q: What is the aim of a Saab project car? A: To keep it running.
I have much to learn. And as it turns out, this 21 year old Saab I bought for all of $860.00 is intent on teaching me. You may be wondering what’s it like owning a car that’s done miles nearly equivalent to one leg of a moon journey? Honestly, not too bad. Sure the old girl’s got some problems – she pops out of reverse (discovered that neat trick on Sunday), she’s got a few rusty spots (but not as bad as some I’ve seen – see video), she leeks a bit of oil, and her dash has more cracks than a plumber’s convention. Still its not all bad – her motor fires right up, she revs happily and idles smoothly, and she cruises very nicely at 70 miles an hour. All in all, the Saab seems to be a good project car candidate. I’m sure I’ll come to rue this, but I think I did alright!
So this is definitely a project. Off the top of my head, I can tell you the following things it needs. New valve cover gasket (in hand!), replacement fog-lights (check!), v-belts (more on that later), head-liner (what Saab doesn’t) and a good tune up including all new fluids and possibly hoses. While the rust ain’t bad for c900, the car isn’t perfect. Both front fenders have rot around the wheel edges and I’m sure there’s more where I can’t see it. In terms of taking care of that, I’ll probably POT-15 the worst damage, cut and repair what can’t be saved and give it the poor man’s paint job: plastidip.
As I said, this car seems intent on teaching me. I’m also sure it’s also intent upon drawing a lot of blood in the process. My first lesson came about a week into owning the car, after I’d brought it down to Jim in PVD for his thorough appraisal. To his eye, the car mostly checked out. Aside from the wobbly feeling gearbox, the obvious oil leak and more immediately, some very worn v-belts. Now on most cars, belts are a fairly easy fix. Not so on a Saab 900. Why you ask? Because this Sorry Automobile Assembled Backwards is actually really backwards. See, like the ground-breaking Citroen Traction Avant, the 900′s engine is installed backwards. The crankshaft leaves the engine at the front (or is back?) of the motor and is routed down to the transaxle via a set of chain driven planetary gears. The transaxle is bolted to the bottom-end of the engine and forms the oil pan, but perplexingly, the engine and gearbox have separate lubrication systems. Finally, despite being a front-wheel drive vehicle, the engine is mounted longitudinally, like in a real wheel drive car. Yeah, look I’m just as confused as your are, and I own the damned thing!
So what does that all have to do with replacing worn v-belts? It means they’re an ever-loving pain in the ass because they’re wedged up at the back (er front of the engine) next to the firewall. What is it with me and buying cars with annoying engine configurations and layouts that make common maintenance jobs such a pain in the ass? At any rate, my lame attempts at changing the belts lasted about as long as it took me to drain a Guinness in Jim’s driveway. I knew almost immediately, I was beat and would need help from without. Enter my saviour Amazon and Lord Bentley and his 16 Valve Service Manual. So while our first outing left the score Saab 1 and me 0. I’m confident that with a little help from this hefty tome and more than a little help from my friends, I’ll be basking in the glory of victory soon enough! Stay tuned…
For real this time! I am happy to report that I am the proud new owner of a 1993 Saab 900S Sedan! I’ll update soon with more information and some proper photos of the car, but for now enjoy these fantastic cutaway technical drawings done by the inestimable Rony Lutz.
Once again, I was up too late the other night engrossed in my usual Searchtempest/Craigslist ritual, when I came across an ad for a 2001 Saab Viggen. I’m always a fan of Viggens so I took a look at the ad, what I found within pretty much sums up the Saab ownership existence.
The text is small, so I quoted the good bits below. Preach it brother!
Up for sale is my 2001 Saab 9-3 Viggen 3 door Hatchback in Laser Red. I picked up this car about 2 months ago as a fun car that would be a reliable mode of transportation while I finish up getting my Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. Since I’ve owned the car, I’ve dumped a ton of money into it, which is exactly what I didn’t want when buying this car 2 months ago. Today, the car blew a radiator hose leaving me stranded and having to walk nearly 5 miles with a 50+ lb backpack (because Engineer).
Because of all of this, I’m simply giving up on it and deciding it’s best that someone who knows these cars well and has the time to tinker with it can appreciate it. Radiator hose is being fixed and the car will be 100% driveable upon time of sale.
I’ve dumped an insane amount of money into this car over the past two months and I’m willing to take a big loss just to offload it. Looking to pick up a Honda Civic next week.
I grew up in a small town in Northern Michigan. It’s a nice place, full of nice people. The kind of people who volunteer on the local fire and rescue squad. My dad was one of those people, so consequently, as a kid, I got to hang out around firetrucks a lot. It’s not something I’ve thought about for a long time, until today when this photo popped up on the Facebook page for the Almira Township volunteer fire department.
By my reckoning, this photo must have been taken in the early to mid-90s. I remember well that Dodge Ram (second from right) as it was bought from the Army National Guard and converted on the cheap into a rugged 4WD brush truck for forest fires. The two heavy-duty Ford
F-600 F-750 trucks to the left – a pumper and an engine – were also most likely hand-me-downs, probably sold off from another jurisdiction were the first new trucks ever bought by Almira. Remember, these was a time long before DHS handed out MRAPs and other military surplus to local departments like candy so for small departments, making due took a lot of spaghetti dinners and pancake breakfasts. As an 8-year-old kid, those big red trucks towered over me and climbing into the cab took considerable doing. The Ford Econoline ambulance, as I recall, was the only vehicle that was off-limits to us in those days, and probably for good reason.
These days, the department has been fully modernized with a brand new, state of the art facility and a fleet of much more modern equipment and apparatus. But to me, the Almira Township Fire Department will always look like this in my mind.
So the Volvo fixation continues unabated. I’m becoming deeply familiar with Turbobricks and SwedeSpeed as I seek to learn as much as I can about 200 and 700/900 series Volvos. (’cause what else am I to do with my evenings, right?) While going through a couple of gallery forums, I came across this 244. While I’m not much of a fan of “stance” this 244 is just right in my book.
Holiday shopping, being what it is, had me darkening the door of my nearest Barnes & Nobles the other day. You may know B&N as a purveyor of rustic holiday totes, mustache grooming kits, and whatever the hell this thing is; what you may not know is that B&N also sells books, newspapers and magazines. And so it was during my recent visit, while acquainting myself with the firm’s fine collection of British car mags, that my eyes fell upon a recent issue of Thoroughbred & Classic Car which included a glorious spread on Lancia Stratos.
Now, one of the things I most enjoy about buying British classic car mags, are the specialist classifieds found in the back. Mostly, the ads contain rarities and delicacies like Bentley turbos, big stately Mercs like the 600 Pullman, as well as a plethora of TVRs, MGs, Triumphs and other dead British marques that are slowly rusting away in damp English air. Then there’s this:
So what’s remarkable about a beige Chrysler Le Baron Town and Country faux-woodie wagon? Well, it’s a turbo – that’s what those louvers indicate. Oh, and it once belonged to old Blue Eyes himself. Yep, that’s right, this car was owned by Frank Sinatra. Even better, the car was a personal gift from Lee Iacocca to the Chairmen. I mean, it’s not Jon Voight’s K-Car, but that pedigree gotta mean something right? It can be yours via Oldtimer Manchester for “substantial offers over invited” whatever the hell that means.