It must have been sometime in the 90 years. I had just become happy as a proud Saab driver with my new Saab 900s, this was a Saab 99 Turbo on the farm at my Saab dealer. With an interior decorated in different shades of pink and red that appealed to all taste buds. Somehow I got to the car key and it went through the city and the Spessart. There are rides that you will not forget. If a Saab 900 Turbos 16S was already a caliber in itself, the smaller, lighter 99 Turbo was even more direct and equipped with an infinite turbo lag.
But as soon as the turbo commemorative break was over, the legendary use of turbo came and the Saab never stopped. That's what jet pilots have to feel like when the afterburner ignites ... I thought at the time. The test drive through the Spessart, on third-order country roads, came to an end quickly. And I had one more problem 20 years ago. Buy another Saab or not?
Back to the present. There should be people who have owned more than one Saab 99 Turbo. Christian, who is a friend of Götz, lives in Hamburg. Anyone who is friends with Götz inevitably comes to the topic of Saab. Because Götz not only lives Saab, he is Saab. So it is not surprising that Christian had four Saab 99 Turbo in his possession in previous years. Two cardinal red Saab 99 Combi-Coupes from 1978, one Saab 99 Sedan from model year 1979 and one from model year 1980.
The acacia green 99 Turbo from 79 was also equipped with an original Saab water injection accessory. Christian's acceleration orgies on the Hamburg motorway feeders are said to have been legendary ... set at 1.2 bar boost pressure according to Saab regulations, the 99 was on par with high-priced southern German sports cars. And the Kassel mountains were “flat ironed” with dedication… Saab turbo drivers know what we are writing about. And, as I said, everything was the fault of his friend Götz, who had brought him to Saab.
People are getting older, people are becoming more reasonable. Or they are fighting with the turbo gene, which has settled somewhere in Christian years ago. A cure of the turbo gene is not possible, it is sometimes believed to have overcome it, because there are also phases in these people, where they seem completely unremarkable. But it always comes back and accompanies us for a lifetime. I speak from personal experience.
Anyone who once owned a Saab 99 Turbo can theoretically live without it. Practical but not, because again and again you miss this emotional, turbocharged part from Sweden. So it is good to have responsible friends. In Christian's garage, therefore, one of these gems of Swedish engineering should move in again. Friend Götz took the responsibility and helped with the search. Where can you find a Saab if you are looking for one?
In Trollhättan, of course. A Saab friend from Sweden wanted to sell one, properly stored in a barn for five years. Of course, not to everyone, but only to a proven Saab fan and if so, then as far away as possible. Because see the 99 every day when, let's say, the neighbor drives it ... unbearable. Understandable! The first viewing appointment came in January, followed by months of price negotiations by email. In September the time had finally come. Off to Sweden!
With the 9-3 Aero to Kiel, where the Saab must remain in the parking lot. No home leave for the 9-3. By ferry to Gothenburg, where Götz and Christian were picked up by friend Johan from the Historic Rally Racing Service, which was booked as technical support. Because what if the turbo didn't wake up from its “sleeping beauty”?
Johan and his team went towards Trollhättan. The few kilometers to Saab City on speed-limited Swedish roads can be very long.
Then finally he stood in front of the two, the 99 Turbo, in a barn. With the 900 bumpers, height-adjustable headrests, speedometer are 240. Not tinkered, model year 1980, the last development from Trollhättan, not restored, but always only professionally serviced. A dream in the legendary Saab color “marble white”, which then appears greenish on snow. In addition a "frog green" interior with the original floor mats. Anyone who is a little jealous of the Hamburg boys shouldn't be ashamed. That is normal. It was the same for me when I got photos and mail from Götz.
The Saab runs smoothly. More than 30 years old? Because of old! The Saab drives like a young used car, and Christian suddenly feels good 20 years younger. For safety reasons, the Saab but on the trailer. First it goes to Johan in the workshop, where the Saab is checked through with a positive result. Now briefly another oil change, the Johan performs, and off it goes south. The ferry is waiting. On the way emotions come up. The turbo, the Saab sound, the unmistakable, round windshield like in an airplane cockpit. The old, incomparable Saab 99 feeling.
Back on the ferry and off to Kiel, where the 9-3 is waiting at the Schwedenkai. Then in formation off to Hamburg. Twice Saab, twice Turbo, 20 years difference and yet Turbo fascination with both cars. The 99 Turbo leads, Götz in the 9-3 aero. Something has changed. 20 years ago, everything went a little faster, now Christian “strokes” the turbo. At noon the 99 stands in the garden on the Elbe. After 17 years a 99 Turbo is finally back in the family. Next year Christian will celebrate a milestone birthday, the Saab is the preferred gift. A good decision, because as Götz says, "... if not now, when ..."
Saab is happy, and a 99 is just a particularly strong piece of Saab. Congratulations to Hamburg! I myself did not buy the 20 before 99 years ago. Maybe it was because of the pink seats, maybe then I thought, another Saab was enough. How to be wrong!
Images: Götz & Christian for saabblog.net
Even more Saab stories?