By on February 20, 2011

The RBankRacing Saab 900 Turbotook the overall win at the 2010 Southern Discomfort race, but almost everyone many observers felt that performance was a fluke. The RbankRacing drivers are very, very good, and the car is seriously quick (like most Saab 900s we see in LeMons racing), but just about all plenty of turbocharged Saabs blow the hell up have mechanical problems when they scatter their connecting rods all over compete on a 24 Hours of LeMons track. If the engine holds together for the remaining five hours of racing, RBankRacing’s 13-lap lead should be insurmountable. If the Saab nukes its engine, the Magnum P.U. Prelude and Hong Norr CRX will find themselves duking it out for the win. Check in later this afternoon to find out what happens; you can also follow the TrackGeeks’ live webcast, complete with in-car camera action.

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15 Comments on “Southern Discomfort 24 Hours of LeMons: Saab 900 Turbo Dominating...”

  • avatar

    note to Saab team: It doesn’t matter if you win by a nose. Make the other emeffers blow their engines trying to cut your 13-lap lead.

  • avatar

    For a moment I thought you guys were going to write something positive about Saab – but within half a sentence you managed to turn your report of a car running a 13-lap lead into an insult. Bravo! I look forward to seeing you weasel your way out of complimenting the marque if they win.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Southern Discomfort?  How bout you guys hold one of these next year on a frozen lake in MI or something?  That could make it more interesting. 

  • avatar

    I think I should remind people about “The Long Run” at Talladaga back in 1987. See This-

  • avatar

    Looks like the podium positions went to a Mazda MX-3, a BMW E30, and a Honda Prelude. It seems to me that if Honda had been leading then Murilee’s post would have been about the inevitability of head gasket trouble. If the BMW was leading, he’d have speculated about past M20 or electrical issues. If a Datsun Z car had been leading, or something with a Chevy small block, or pretty much any frequent competitor, then this is how Murilee writes his race updates. The only difference with a leading Saab is the indignant response of Saab fans who take it personally that cars which were never very dependable often go to pieces when they’re raced twenty years past their sell-by dates.

    • 0 avatar

      Ah – apparently, this is the wrong place to be passionate about cars. Sorry!
      Actually, I’m actually not much of a car person; in an odd way, I read this site because it’s foreign to me – and thus I’m constantly learning things, which I enjoy. Really, it wouldn’t bother me at all were the coverage of *anything* Saab-related not so relentlessly negative. (I’m sure there are other unfairly-savaged marques out there, but I just don’t notice because I don’t own one and know a lot about them.)
      As an example: the coverage of Saab vs. Volvo pricing – TTAC compared a fully loaded 9-5, that was optioned to the gills, against a stripper Volvo. When you accounted for the content – which TTAC does in every other case – the Saab came out a little bit ahead. But it was reported as being ~$6000 (IIRC) more expensive than the Volvo. It’s fine if it’s actually The Truth about the cars. When it’s deliberately spun in a misleading way, it raises my ire – not because I’m a fan of Saabs, but because I’m a fan of honesty.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      TrueDelta’s price comparison tool is pretty good for getting the real story on prices and various options.  It was pretty illuminating when (just for argument’s sake) I ran a base Kia Optima and a base Sonata GLS through the comparison tool, it was pretty suprising to me which one came out ahead when standard features vs non-standard features were factored in. 

      There are days when I think there are better places online to be passionate about cars, perhaps a site started by a TTAC alumnus? 

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Dan: +1.
      CJ: Having driven a classic 900 as my first car in high school (thanks to the parents for sticking me with their hand-me-down) I’m surprised that Murilee didn’t highlight how utterly horrible the Saab manual gearbox was. Their Saab had a new transmission put in by the original owner right before they purchased it, and by the time they sold it in 2000 after more than a decade of ownership, the tranny would occasionally pop out of gear. The Saab manual gearbox was known for fragility. For what it was worth, the gutless little 2.0 liter 8v 110 hp engine sounded nice when thrashed and never hiccuped, except when the fuel pump fuse blew. I learned to carry spares around.
      My take from an driver’s perspective: Hastily engineered and improvised little car that was far inferior to the late 1980s/early 1990s Honda Accords several of my friends drove. The Hondas outran and outcornered the Saab, and the driving experience was far superior.

    • 0 avatar

      @Sam P – As much as I love Saabs, I’m with you on the gearbox. I learned to drive a stick on my parents’ 9000. It was hell. I swear to god they had a Formula One racing clutch in that thing – what the hell?
      Either way, Saabs are in the blood. My parents had a 99, a 900s (and my uncle had a 900 turbo, which I remember riding in as a 10-year-old and having an involuntary grin plastered across my face), and a 9000 – and now my mom has a 9-3 and I have a 9-5. With any luck my next ride will be an NG 9-5 – I can’t stand the though of going back to a non-driver-centric layout, and as far as I can tell, almost nobody in the business is doing anything but pointing all the most important stuff at the empty space in the middle of the back seats. Car manufacturers – what’s wrong with you? If you made laptops, the monitors would always point 30 degrees out of the way of the user!

    • 0 avatar

      I have fond memories of putting many miles on Saab 900s back in the late 1980’s.  They were very solid, honest, and quirky.  The leather seats from that era were the absolute best, in my opinion.  The gauges were crisp and meant to convey information, rather than to entertain.  And I’ve just always felt that the longitudinal engine layout of Saabs and Audis was the right way to do it.  Never mind the ultra-rubbery gearbox, the flaking bumper paint, the multiple dash cracks, the sagging headliner, and the million other quirky squeaks, rattles, and electonic glitches.  They just sounded sweet (especially the turbos) and looked so odd and special.  Had to love them.

  • avatar

    What does “were never very dependable” mean? Where does this anecdotal hooey come from?

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