Well… I finally did it.
After years of trying, I successfully recovered my first car. It is now safe, and dry- err moderately moist in my “TODO” bay at home.
Once upon a time, as a teenager that couldn’t drive stick and desperately needed a “cool” set of wheels I was bequeathed the family’s albatross, a 1984 Saab 900 8-Valve Turbo 5-Speed Sedan. It previously was owned by my brother, who rejected it because he had to check the oil, and my uncle before that, who gave it away after he blew the head gasket. It used oil, had dirty upholstery, needed a radio and new headliner, and was pretty far from “cool”… but wheels are wheels.
The Saab took me on many an adventure. From getting a flat in the middle of an abandon military complex during a full moon, to moderate off-roading, to just cruising around town. From Washington to California, and then on to Louisiana and later Oklahoma, I put a lot of miles on that car and, in my own way, loved it.
After deciding to go to college in neighboring Oklahoma, the Saab dutifully carried me, my junk, two arcade style DDR pads, and a 10-disc changer full of burned j-pop CDs to and from Tulsa six or so times through my freshman year. At this point I would like to add stories about first times, beer cans in the back seat, and fogged windows, etc. But, as it turns out, I was in college to be an engineer and didn’t actually party or date like… at all.
After a year of holidays back home, grocery runs, and just driving around, my dutiful Saab was nearing 200,000 miles and starting to show the strain of heavy use. After a breakdown during the journey home, my parents, reasonably concerned about the extended reliability of a 20 year old Swedish sports sedan, presented me with a 2-door Honda Accord EX V6 as a bribe to keep coming home and actually making it there without the use of a tow truck.
At the time I saw leather, automatic climate control (COLD AC!!!!), six cylinders, and three liters. And it was good. I didn’t really give a second thought to maybe missing that old Saab. It was in the rear view, both figuratively and literally. I left it with my parents and didn’t really give it a second thought.
Fast forward to the year 2013 and I am now an adult (allegedly) an engineer, and a petrolhead. Several project cars under my belt, an empty parking bay in the garage, and a Top Gear tribute to Saab (S18E5) have me thinking about my old, faithful daily driver. I wonder what it is doing these days…
Little did I know this was not going to an easy or cheap car acquisition. One text message is sent and it sets in motion three years of hostage negotiations…
The Saab had been sent to the mechanic some years previous (2004 I think?) for a starting issue and never returned. It wasn’t a priority for either of my parents, me, or the mechanic. So there it sat.
Fast forward to 2013 and as you would expect it needed some work. The mechanic had worked on my family’s cars, but especially the Saab, since 2001 and we had a good, friendly relationship. He couldn’t fathom returning the car to me without it being in running order, so he got to work bringing it back up to spec. Not having a good way of dealing with a non-running car, I figured this was a win-win. So I waited.
Finally, after two years of texting, calling, pleading, and threatening… I gave up. Yes, that’s right. I said “fuck it” and forgot about my dreams of bring the old beast back under my care again. I was in a bad place at the time. I hated my job, was having some exceptionally painful medical problems, and my other project car wasn’t panning out. So in order to exercise control on something in my life, I went out and bought Bessie (the Dozy Cow), my 1999 Yukon. Very long story there, but let’s go with I wanted one for a while. So I bought it, thus filling my theoretical garage. And there ended the Saab saga.