I have been driving Saab since 1996, so I came to Saab in a phase in which die-hard Saab fans wrinkled their noses at what came from Trollhatten under the GM aegis. The 900i station wagon was my company vehicle and was leased. In the previous six years, there were two Audi 80s that had been leased for three years each. When I was also caught up in the professional thinking that was widespread in the advertising agency scene at the time, the brand with the four rings became too pie after the second Audi leasing contract expired.
Saab as the "other Swedish brand" was little known in the general public, but if you were careful and wanted to humble your competitors, you would drive Saab! For me it was enough for the entry-level model.
How everything began
The 900 fought calmly and responsibly - which could also be expected from a vehicle that was three years old in the mid-90s. So after the expiry of the first leasing contract, the second Saab came into the house: a 9-3, also as a station wagon, with 150 hp and soft turbo. Compared to the 900i, it felt extremely lively and agile and was also extremely economical with the valuable fuel.
After the three-year leasing period, the car had less than 50.000 km on the clock. It looked like new and had never caused problems. And since the agreed leasing rate was quite high and the calculated residual value was therefore low, I did not return the car to Saab, I simply bought it. I still have it, the mileage is now 80.000. You don't sell such a car without need.
I have to confess that I spare the car in that I don't drive it through brine. Because car alternatives are enough for me. In addition to my habit of buying and driving vintage cars (Fiat 124 Sport Spider, Volvo Amazon + 240 + 940, Mercedes / 8, DAF, Peugeot 403 and especially Borgward), I only use youngtimers for everyday life. At the moment there are the 9-3, an Audi 80 from 1993 (yes, the circle closes) and a Saab 900 II Cabrio 2,3 liter without turbo from 1996. A few other versions of this vehicle.
The slave qualities of the Saab 900 II
I rented a hall for the cars that I don't drive right now, where they are dry and airy. However, my house does not offer any storage space for a car, it must be brutal in the weather. Is there a convertible nearby? Especially one whose roof is now 24 years old and is moderately incontinent? Anyway, I'm going to do it. The pleasure of driving in the open is irreplaceable, I want to enjoy it as often as possible.
The 900 convertible is a car with taker qualities that survives the ox tour of daily use without a garage with flying colors. I bought it in 2017 for 1.900 euros with 317.000 kilometers on the clock. A risk purchase, of course, especially since the car bears very clear traces of its years. But it bears the marks with dignity, because the vehicle turned out to be a good vehicle the first time it was repaired and preserved for around 2.600 euros. With the Saab Center Kiel, the Car dealership Lafrentz, luckily I have a super competent partner in my neighborhood.
I have now driven over 30.000 kilometers with the 900 II and only had two major repairs: the petrol pump and the clutch - mobility is not free. Sometimes I feel a little ashamed to drive a car that Saab fans would probably judge as the "wrong model" and too shabby and would be left behind.
For me, however, this vehicle is exactly right: it does not need to be packed in cotton wool and kept in an air-conditioned garage for eternity. It is used and fun. Who knows how long we can drive cars with combustion engines at all? So every day counts. And of course every Saab that is kept on the street.
Text and images: Jörg Lemcke