Beginning to mid-November, we stand together at the grill over a cold beer and review the last meeting of the season. The classic city in Frankfurt had invited to the end of the season, of course with Saab participation, which, as always, drew attention under the car to enthusiastic audiences. Attend the last meeting in really good weather and then store the 900 in the garage for a well-deserved hibernation. At least that was the plan, the old Swede should get his well-deserved break. Or not?
No! Because the Dutch Saab colleagues seem to have something against the temporary shutdown of the Swedish vehicle and lure with a Saab meeting at the end of the month near Utrecht. We exchange two glances with each other, and I cancel the 900 that I had promised to rest. The 900 should therefore be on the road again - but only in good weather, such a late use at freezing temperatures does not have to be the eventual salt on the roads.
We announce ourselves via Instagram, book a suitable hotel and only realize later how crazy the quick decision actually is. Five hours by car for a “small” meeting with friends we met at the festival - there are definitely better ideas. The days go by, the 30.11 is getting closer.
The weather report now has to spit out the latest weather data every hour, and indeed: sun and blue sky instead of gray sadness and rain. And yet I'm slowly struggling with my hasty decision to torture the old Saab to Holland again. Sure, the weather is right, but isn't it better to take the kilometer-eating 9-5 in such a situation? The diesel has been diligently collecting new kilometers for months, copes with it without problems and is reliable. But he would also be happy about a break. A difficult choice which in the end falls in favor of the oldies.
The final day
It's Saturday morning, the alarm clock throws me out of bed at 5:45. Half-asleep is packed away provisions and camera equipment and it's off to the 900. When I open the door, the typical Saab smell hits me, which I notice positively after a week of company cars. The Frenchman only knows the typical plastic smells - nothing that could keep up with a 30-year-old Saab.
The key is pulled out and skillfully lands between the two front seats, a second later the sound of the 900 illuminates the narrow streets - much to the chagrin of the neighboring neighbors, who should now be used to the hum of the 8V.
With the thought in mind that half the street is probably standing vertically in bed now, I grin into the first gear with a grin and roll towards the motorway.
The other 4 hours drive go without major incidents and we cross the border safely and land some time later in a small town near Utrecht, which has an even bigger parking lot. With German punctuality we are at the event location at 11:55 - 5 minutes before the start. And although we arrive on time, we're not the first. Various vehicles have already appeared that draw our attention, such as the purple painted 99 Turbo or the Porsche 911, which is between two 900s.
To make matters worse, we find that people in the Netherlands like to sprinkle salt, because the parking lot has been over-supplied with small crystals. Salt is the absolute poison for a classic car that should be spared the 900. But at least the weather forecast does what it says on the tin, and with temperatures around freezing, more and more classic cars are arriving in the parking lot.
The Saab Festival connects
One of the last arriving turbos is that of the organizer, his 900 rolls into the parking lot with the typical turbo bubbling. He runs towards us purposefully, greets us warmly and is very pleased that we took so much travel time and kilometers for his rather spontaneous meeting. A sentence that we will hear more often that day. The parking lot is filling up more and more, from 99 Turbo, 96, over 9-5 NG and 900 gather on this day almost all the major models produced by the small brand from Trollhättan. And although there are almost only classic cars in the parking lot, almost all owners and participants are under 25 years old.
A real rarity, as the average age is often significantly higher. We stroll between the vehicles and have lots of great conversations. A spontaneous but really relaxed meeting in great weather. It is this Saab Spirit that hangs all over the parking lot this afternoon. When we want to roll towards the runway again, a few familiar faces speak to us again. We know each other from the festival in Trollhättan and Instagram, so the joy of seeing each other again after a long time is great and a short time later we find ourselves in an adjacent restaurant. A lot of time has passed since the festival, people exchanged ideas about current projects and newly acquired vehicles and let the memories of the past come alive again.
The frugal Swede
On the way back to the hotel I make a little detour, the Saab is thirsty. After more than 500 kilometers, the fuel gauge in the cockpit reports and requests new fuel. So it goes to the next best gas station. Slowly the tank of the Swede fills up, the liters rush through the tap and in my thoughts I think about the almost alarmingly low fuel consumption. The 8V is very economical, but you would choose 8V or 16V in the scene, the latter would probably win without problems.
But why is it like that ? I come to the conclusion that I will probably never find out, and the metallic clacking of the tap brings me out of my thoughts. The Saab shows itself to be saturated, pay quickly and then calculate the consumption. As feared it is low, at peak times I can agree with my 900 to 6,3 liters / 100 km. Not bad for a 32 year old Swede, right?
The last highlight of this evening awaits me at the hotel, because the 900 will exceptionally get a parking space in an underground car park and will not mutate into a lantern parker as feared for a night. The roller door goes up, pull up the first two gears one last time, robust 8V sound fills the underground car park. Park, get out and drop the massive door into the lock. Another unmistakable Saab sound. Turn again on the way to the exit, one last look. I have a grin on my face.
What a nice car.