Nines 353 – July-September 2018
Three Wheels, Saab Power 10
First Time @ Saabs@Carlisle 16
Saab News 17
What’s Old is New Again 23
The Saab Heritage Car Museum USA 24
Electric Sonett 28
NEVS News 29
Rare and For Sale 36
SCNA and Club News
SOC 2018 8
Saab Services and Discounts 26
North American Saab Clubs and Contacts 34
SCNA News 35
From the Archives by Bruce Harbison 6
On the Column by Bob Miller 18
Professional Perspective by Chuck Andrews 20
Through a Windscreen Darkly by Linnea Krajewski 22
Classified Ads 38
|President’s Letter – July-September 2018|
|Dear SCNA Members,
Being President of SCNA definitely has some perks, like the opportunity to see and sometimes buy some of the nicest Saab vehicles in the country. I am lucky enough to personally own some of the most well-preserved examples of Saab engineering and style. I have told you about my 1982 900 Turbo in previous letters, so this time I would like to tell you about my 9000.
Last summer, after our convention in Pomona, some board members and Saab friends were invited to the nearby Palm Desert home of Jeremy Morrissey, who has a collection of some of the nicest Saab’s in the area. While we were at his home, he showed us a little 9000 S that he had saved from the junkyard as it was turned in to the auction with some minor mechanical issues. Both the interior and exterior reflected the fact that this car had spent its entire life garaged in Northern California. The paint was a bit scratched but still shined nicely in the hot desert sun. The interior looked and smelled as new, with hardly a crack in the leather seats or dashboard.
The 9000 went through a number of changes throughout the model run, and the 1990 S model marked a significant chapter in its life span. 1990 S model 9000’s received a 16V 2.3L non-turbo motor for the first time, and this was the first motor using infamous DI Cassette. While many of us have learned always to carry an extra DIC in the trunk of their Saab, this technology, like many pioneered by Saab, was ahead of its time and was the forebearer to engineering that exists in almost all new cars today. This particular S model also boasts a manual transmission, dual powered leather seats, and a glass moonroof. It was also the final year for the flat nose front end, and of course the original “three-window” hatch back glass that defined the first generation of the model.
This past fall, I was lucky enough to purchase this beautiful car and store it in my father’s home in Palm Springs, CA. My father kept it safely garaged and warmed up through the winter months, and this past April it came time to move the car from California to its new temporary home in Denver, Colorado. While I hated to take the car out of California, I was also excited to take one of my first extended drives in a 9000. What was it about this model that causes some of our favorite Saab experts to exclaim that it was Saab’s finest car, despite having the key on the steering column.
My adventure started in San Diego, where I flew in and was able to take an Uber directly to the home of fellow SCNA member and friend Alan Izzo who had picked up the car from the wonderful hands of J & B Imports in Orange County. I jumped in and drove the two-hour drive to Palm Springs without a hitch. The next day, we checked the fluids and tires, gave it a good wash, and filled up the tank for the long journey to Denver.
Although I was on a bit of a time crunch, I wanted to enjoy the ride so I decided to start off driving through Joshua Tree National Park. This route ended up being an ideal way to avoid the Coachella traffic that was clogging up any road heading west out of Palm Springs. The drive through Joshua Tree was breathtaking, and I was able to cut up and stay on secondary highways for almost the entire trip to Las Vegas. It was fun being the only car on a long, straight road with clear, sunny skies and a pleasant breeze. Once I arrived in Vegas, I met another good Saab friend and club member Saunders Lee for dinner and a short insiders tour of Las Vegas. I was nervous to allow the car to be valet parked at one of the casinos we stopped at, but Saunders reminded me that it was OK since it doesn’t have the reverse lockout that has confused many a valet driver and ruined more than one C900 over the years. After my tour, I pushed on to stay in Mesquite, NV for the night.
The next morning, I left for the long 12 hour stretch to Denver. While I was comfortable in shorts and flip flops, I noticed that there seemed to be some light snow as I began to head north towards I-70 across Utah. As a Boston native, I am not used to the temperature changes that come with higher altitude areas. Short of Mt Washington, you don’t often experience major temperature changes when driving around the New England area. As my 9000 continued to barrel along happily with the cruise control set at about 78 mph for hours on end, I began to worry about the weather since I could clearly see dark clouds ahead. After spending the past twenty-eight years away from snow, and even rain for the most part, this little 9000 was about to be put through its paces getting over the Rocky Mountains before arriving safely in Denver.
As the altitude rose, the snow began to get worse. I remember seeing signs for Vail and noticed the temperature display on the dashboard had gone from the 70’s down into the teens. The windshield washers promptly froze up, and my unsuspecting California windshield wipers were suddenly being put to work! I could hardly see anything, and as I slowed down and downshifted to 3rd to keep moving up the mountain, I finally saw the glow of taillights in front of me. I kept two hands on the wheel, and the car felt planted on the road although I could see other cars spun out and stopped in both the left and right shoulder. The 9000 soldiered on, and I finally saw the entrance to the Eisenhower Tunnel through the salt-covered windshield.
Thankfully, once we emerged from the tunnel, the snow wasn’t quite as bad. The roads were covered, but the wind was light and the sun started peeking out from behind the clouds. As I continued down the mountain into the greater Denver area, I almost needed to switch on the A/C! I was so grateful for a safe arrival, and so impressed by the performance of the 9000, even with its naturally aspirated engine.
That next morning, I promptly washed the snow residue off the car, cleaned and vacuumed it, and went down to Mile-Hi to visit Jerry Danner and show him Denver’s newest Saab resident. Jerry helped me with a few minor tweaks, including resetting the air bag light with an ancient early 9000-only SRS computer.
I hope to have the 9000 at the convention in Solomons, MD this August 9-12, which should give many of you yet another reason to come out, enjoy the fun and view some amazing Saabs.
President, Saab Club of North America