Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Saab Story

Well folks it's been a huge month. Let me start with a little preface about what prompted a little adventure I had with my friend Mike.

On February 3rd I lost my job. They eliminated my position in the company, and that was that. They did offer me another position, but it turned out to be something I'd never apply for as it would keep me away from home on business too often. And so, I took the severence package and began deciding what to do with myself. That, in itself is an entire post, but I'm not going to focus on it, except to say that I'm attempting to move back to technology. Going to get some certifications, and pursue something in that direction. Now...on to what you really came for. ADVENTURE! A warning. Brace yourself. This is a long one, but I promise it'll be fun.

You see, my company has provided me with a car for the duration of my employment there. I didn't have to worry about it. I realized, however, that as my time there came to an end, so would the company fleet car. And so I needed something I could drive, and quickly. Some of you may know, and some may not know that in college I drove a black 1987 Saab 900 Turbo. Happened across is quite by chance, and never imagined I would miss it when it was gone. It was a little worse for wear. No headliner, rattling tailpipe, questionable interior, no air. But heaven help me if it wasn't more fun to drive than anything else I've driven. That was about 10 years ago now. But I never forgot that car. Many of my friends (and my girlfriend to whom I am now married) thought that the car was as ugly as the day is long. Here's one like it. You be the judge.

I think it is a stylish design. But I will freely admit that it demands an opinion. You love them or you don't. It's ok if you don't. I won't ban you from the site. :)

Alright, so I was determined that I would own another Saab, similar vintage, only in better condition that my original 900. I started looking. Now we had money saved up in the event that something like this might happen. These cars aren't all that expensive, but finding a good one for my money was tricky. The ones nearby were all battered from seasons of the harsh weather we experience here. I knew I wouldnt' find one that wasn't more than a little rusty in this part of the world. So what could I do? Well, the best ones are in California...too far. Too expensive...out of the question. Or Florida...heeeeey....wait a second. My local airport flies to Orlando, non-stop, extremely cheap. Craigslist....Orlando....They're literally everywhere. Perfect!

So my plan was to book a flight, rent a car, test drive about three of these guys, buy the best one and drive it home. Easy. Now the most astute of you may notice a flaw in my plan. Once purchased, how to return said rental to the airport? I needed another driver. I asked Michelle first, but she was attempting to save her leave. Regrettably she declined. I looked on MSN, and my good pal Mike was on.

"Mike? I need a wingman"
"Ok. Ma'am, is this guy bothering you?"
"No, an ACTUAL wingman."
"Fly to Orlando? Buy a car? Drive it home? Ok. I'm in."

Ok, now, I have everything booked. I had eliminated for one reason or another, all but one of the Saab 900s I was to see. The one I loved as soon as I saw it on the ad. 1988 Red Saab 900 Turbo. Convertible. Restored black interior. Beautiful. Very high miles. 191k. But wow. Pretty car. I was going to look at a couple more just to be thorough, but the red one was the one I wanted. And it was in fact the best one.

Then, a mere four days before we were to leave for Florida, another car popped up on Craigslist. Green and tan, 1992 900 Convertible. 107k miles. OH NO! This can't be happening! It's not only the kind of car I wanted, but the miles are ridiculously low! My sense of responsibility asserted itself, and I knew that unless something was very wrong with that car when I saw it in person, I'd have to buy the green one. Most people I showed the cars too seemed to feel the same way. They'd say, "Yeah, you pretty much have to go with the green one." Then they'd eye the red one. "That one sure is pretty though." I was a little heart-broken, but prepared to do the right thing.

Now I had the red one and the green one lined up. Down we flew. We ended up in a rented Prius which was fun. We were on the way to see the green Saab. The hands down sensible choice.

I'll tell you up front. I got the red one. Why? Mike and I decided that it was destiny, because that sounds better. Here's what happened:

I called the guy with the green Saab. He didn't answer so I left a message. We were halfway to the location when he calls me back.

"I'm sorry. I'm not even in the state. I'm out of town. I didn't think you would show up."

At first I'm a little taken aback. I thought, "Didn't I email you and tell you I was flying to Florida from Ohio to see your car?" But then it hit me. If I can't get the green one...then...YES! I mean, that's too bad. It really was a sensible car. But red sure is pretty. :)

So it fell through. My sensible car fell through. My attempt at responsibility was blown out of the water. Well, nothing for it then but to see this red Saab 900 Turbo Convertible with Restored Black Interior and way too many miles. (Although, 191k really isn't all that bad for a well maintained Saab.)

Mike and I test drove the car. Sure, it's got some quirks and foibles. What 22 year old car doesn't? But you know what, It sure is pretty:

We drove it up the coast that night and stayed at my grandparent's place. We did discover that the car did not have working heat. That became an issue around North Carolina. Mike and I made many stops to warm up. We bought convenience store gloves, socks and hats. We used a quilt, drank hot chocolate and drove through a heavy snowstorm. We drove through toll booths looking absolutely ridiculous. It was a hero's trial. We had to earn this car, and believe me, we did.

Well, we fixed the heat the next day. A simple matter of a disconnected linkage. I've been tinkering with some of the small things that aren't working. Replacing bulbs and the CD player and what have you. And so after 10 years, I'm back in my Saab.

Ladies and Gentlemen, My Saab Story. :) Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed living it! More pictures are available here.

Thanks for reading!

Oh and as a PS, Recently you may have heard that Saab was being disolved as a company, but fortunately Stryker is now buying them and they aren't going away! Woohoo!! :)


Gina Cooper said...

I'm sorry to hear you lost your job. However you got the Red Saab so it's all good right?

Trudger said...

It's ok. It'll be fine in the long run, and yes. Yes I did get my Red Saab. :)

Anonymous said...

Saabs are the work of the devil!

Joel said...

Cool, my recently acquired automobile is also a convertible, and I thoroughly enjoy it. Sounds like a fun adventure!

Justin Strawn said...

It's a great car, Jon. Sorry about your job.