TTAC Throwback: Why You Should Buy This 1973 SAAB Sonett III
The name Sonett has precisely zero connection with the fourteen-line poems Shakespeare was so adept at writing; those are sonnets. Instead, it comes from a Swedish slang expression: Så nätt den är, which I’m told translates more or less to mean “how neat it is.” And neat the little front-drive sportsters are. The first SAAB Sonett was a roadster of compelling curvaceousness. It debuted in 1956, and the trolls in Trollhättan built precisely half a dozen of them.
Quantum Leaps: Geely Saves Saab Instead of Volvo
Rare Rides: The 1989 Saab 900 SPG, It's Sporty, Personal, and Good
Today we return once more to the Saab 900. You may recall our first featured 900, a very early green on green example from 1979. Today’s refreshed and sportified 900 is substantially different from its older brother to warrant another look.
Junkyard Find: 2005 Saab 9-7X Linear
The General had a healthy sales hit with the GMT360 platform in the 2002 model year, when the new Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, and Oldsmobile Bravada hit the showrooms. Since GM had devoured Saab in 2000 and most American car shoppers wanted trucks or truck-shaped machines by that point, it seemed to make sense to produce a Saab-badged GMT360 and extract some cash from that slice of the car-buying populace that craved both the rugged-lifestyle signifiers of a truck and the quirky-yet-sensible Swedish image of a Saab. The Isuzu-badged version— the Ascender— had had its debut for 2004, and so the Saab 9-7X appeared for 2005 (sadly, no Daewoo- or Vauxhall-badged versions were produced). Here’s a first-model-year 9-7X, found in a Denver self-service yard last week.
Junkyard Find: 2002 Saab 9-3 SE
During my years of documenting discarded Saabs in junkyards around the country ( and in Saab’s homeland), I’ve managed to cover the pre-GM American-market models well enough, with a special focus on the 900. In recent years, I’ve been working to cover some of the Saabs from the period of General Motors influence (1989-2000) and control (2000-2010).
I may never find an example of the ultra-rare 9-4x, but it’s easy to find used-up Opel Vectra-based 9-3 these days — and I vowed to photograph the first one I saw on a recent Denver junkyard expedition. That car turned out to be this Silver Metallic 2002 9-3 SE hatchback.
Junkyard Find: 1986 Saab 900 S Sedan
The original Saab 900 was a favorite of Colorado car shoppers during its 1979-1994 sales run, and I still see many of these cars during research expeditions to my local yards. So many, in fact, that I neglect to photograph most of them.
When I visited some of Phoenix’s excellent yards while on my way to work at the final 24 Hours of Lemons race before the Covid-19 menace shut down such gatherings, though, I spotted this ’86 900S and realized I need to document more of these interesting machines.
Junkyard Find: 2005 Saab 9-2X Linear
QOTD: Alternative History of Avoiding Disastrous Consequences?
Last week we played a round of Armchair Alternative History where we discussed missed opportunities in the automotive industry. Conversation focused on actions automakers didn’t take when they should’ve.
Today is round two. Let’s go back and erase things that actually happened.
Rare Rides: A Very Special 1979 Saab 900
Portland seems to be a relative hot spot for old, well-maintained Saabs, and Rare Rides covered this Portland-based 99 previously. And while that little blue sedan racked up 195,000 miles, today’s 900 has covered several times more than that. Just how far can an old Saab go?
Rare Rides: The Saab 9-4x - One Last Gasp From 2011
Would you like a luxury CUV that’s based on a Cadillac, but contains many unique and unobtainium parts? So many rare parts, in fact, that an owner might be scared to put it on the road? Well then, here’s a Saab for you — it’s a 9-4X, from 2011.
Rare Rides: A Tiny and Stylish Saab 99 From 1973
Saab was always a fan of the number nine, and it proved its dedication to the special digit by using two nines for their pre-900 era compact executive car.
Let’s take a look at a little blue Saab 99.
QOTD: Can You Build an Ideal Crapwagon Garage? (Part VIII: Convertibles)
Over the past seven weeks, we’ve spent time filling the various sections of our Crapwagon Garage with the sort of vehicles only a true connoisseur of cheap can appreciate. This eighth edition in the series is the last we have planned, unless one of you enterprising members of the commentary can think of some style of vehicle the series missed.
Otherwise, we wrap up the series with some convertibles. Many of you have been holding onto your convertible selections for about three weeks, as when we covered coupes all drop-tops were specifically off-limits. Now’s your chance to let loose and [s]take off your top[/s] talk about convertibles.
Buy/Drive/Burn: Sporty Compact Sedans From 2006
In the last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, we concerned ourselves with unpopular large luxury sedans. The general B&B consensus at the end of the day was that none of them were a great purchase idea (see, you’re getting the point now). In the comments, Brian E. suggested we cover a trio of compact-ish sporty sedans he evaluated in real life, back in 2006.
So let’s travel to those days before the Great Recession and pick apart some sporty import sedans. By they way, they all have automatic transmissions.
Buy/Drive/Burn: Alternative Luxury Sedans Hailing From 1995
The B&B has proved on many occasions that they enjoy a nice Buy/Drive/Burn or three centered around the 1990s. I sense you want more, so have more! Today’s trio sprang to mind as we discussed the article surrounding Buick’s choice to remove the brand name from all new vehicles. In the comments, things naturally turned to the Oldsmobile Aurora and the modified Rocket logo it displayed.
But what other two vehicles from 1995 do you pair with the brand new Oldsmobile Aurora? Will you want to burn any of these? Let’s find out.
Nothing Lasts Forever, but Your Saab Might (if You Sign on to a New Parts Warranty)
One day, if we’re lucky, we’ll see a documentary showcasing old Saabs in their natural habitat. The slinky 9-3 plying the interstate between Burlington, Vermont and the Connecticut coast, a valiant 9000 prowling between a Denver lawyer’s office and home, and a black 900 convertible sneaking up on a rural farmers’ market.
David Attenborough will handle narration duties.
Until that time, we can draw comfort that a conservation program exists to keep this extinct brand on the road. Started last fall by the defunct automaker’s official parts supplier, the warranty program means Saab owners in the United States, Britain, and the brand’s Swedish homeland can look forward to smaller maintenance bills in the future.
QOTD: What Car Would You Avoid Owning at All Costs?
Today, our question circles around cars with issues. The sort of issues that could send an owner to an early grave or perhaps some preventative therapy, at the very least. Cars with widely-known issues, bad ownership propositions for running costs, depreciation, safety, or something else — they all qualify today.
Which cars would you avoid owning at all costs?
Rare Rides: Ferrari-Powered 1991 Lancia Thema 8.32, the Superior Sister of Saab and Alfa Romeo
It would be understandable if the Lancia Thema you see above put you immediately in mind of a Rare Ride from a few days ago, the gold-plated DeLorean DMC-12. While that car had an entirely different purpose from the Lancia you see before you, the two did have a couple of things in common. Both were designed by Italian legend Giorgetto Giugiaro. And like the DeLorean, the Lancia also suffered (in normal trims) with the same Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 engine that made Eagle Premier owners miserable.
But that’s where the similarities end. Because today’s Thema sheds its multinational, mediocre V6 power for some purebred Ferrari horses. And you don’t even have to do the import paperwork.
The Saab Car Brand is Dead. Mourn (Once Again) for Saab
You can forget about ever buying a new car with the Saab name attached. That’s right, Swedeophiles, the name that conjures up happy memories of a quirky-but-attainable brand that hated column-mounted ignitions is officially dead.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), the Swedish holding company that bought up Saab Automobile’s assets in a 2012 bankruptcy sale, just announced it won’t sell any vehicles under the Saab name.
There won’t be a Swedish Spring after all. Not even in China.
Digestible Collectible: 1988 Saab 900 SPG
The contrast was so stark, it was breathtaking.
Dad was driving his company car, some sort of GM A-Body, as we pulled into the parking lot of a golf course north of Columbus. Golf, of course, is another hobby my dad introduced me to that is as sure as car collecting to drive me into debilitating debt. Anyhow, we were meeting a friend of his for a weekend round, and we parked next to his new Saab.
I was blown away. Of course, I read all of the car magazines, so I knew what a Saab was, but dad’s buddy had a 900 SPG — the high-performance, limited edition hot Swede. Black, with grey three-spoke wheels just like the car shown above. The buff book photos did not do the car justice. It’s such a vivid memory of a not-that-exotic car that is so overwhelming.
Saab is the Automotive Kiss of Death, Apparently
The resurrected Swedish automaker producing electric 9-3s with a Saab badge signed an agreement with Dongfeng Motor Corporation to help stay afloat, GoAuto in Australia is reporting.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden, the Chinese company that purchased the remains of Saab after its parent company Spyker went bankrupt, announced that it would distribute electric cars in China with automotive giant Dongfeng and add a production facility there, the report details.
In return, NEVS will supply Dongfeng with engineering standards to help it meet safety standards in Europe and North America.
Saab Was Way Ahead Of Its Time
So I’m driving along the other day and I notice a badge on the tailgate of the latest Lincoln Navigator that says “EcoBoost.”
That’s right, folks: the giant, bold, shout-out-loud Lincoln Navigator is now using an EcoBoost engine. The V-8 is gone. The big, brawny, “look at me” V-8 rumble has disappeared. Lincoln has now dropped that stuff in favor of turbocharging.
It would be one thing if it were the MKZ, which is a midsize sedan that looks sort of like a woman’s shoe turned upside down. That thing is turbocharged, and nobody really seems to care. It’s just another car, in a sea of cars, looking to eek out the best possible fuel economy.
But the Navigator! The giant, truck-like Navigator. Lincoln’s answer to the Cadillac Escalade, even though it debuted before there was a Cadillac Escalade. The huge flagship model of the Lincoln lineup; something Lincoln drivers across the world aspire to own, from airport limousine drivers to Lincoln dealership owner spouses. It’s now turbocharged.
NEVS Gains Creditor Protection, Loses Saab Name
First, National Electric Vehicle Sweden was going to be taken to district court and forced to file bankruptcy. Then, it was spared. Then, it saw its application for creditor protection denied due to being “vague.”
Now? The application has moved forward, but at the price of the Saab name.
NEVS "Not Insolvent," Will Pay When Possible
Remember when Saab’s new parent company was close to being taken to court and forced to declare bankruptcy by one of its suppliers? New information may have helped changed course.
Saab's Newest Owners Face Bankruptcy Petition In Sweden
Saab’s newest parent company may soon be declared bankrupt by a Swedish court, once again bringing the make toward the grave.
Review: 2010 Saab 9-5 Aero
Back in 1983, my father, entranced by its idiosyncracy, nearly bought a Saab 900 Turbo. He even would have bought one, but with Detroit showing new signs of life I was on a “buy American” kick (the decade ultimately cured me). So he ended up buying the second-place finisher in Car & Driver’s infamous Baja comparison test instead. Down the road very different qualities drew him to Lexus. Apparently, Saab wants him back. How else to explain the new 9-5?