Danger! How man or woman falls into the old car trap.

Do you know the old car trap? No? Here's how it works: a man or woman enthusiastically buys a classic or a youngtimer. He shows a horrible driving behavior. You think that is completely normal. Back then it was 30 years old. Back then, they couldn't build trolleys. Seriously?

The 9-3 Aero in the classic city
The 9-3 Aero in the classic city

Again and again I meet people who fall into the old car trap. Often it is young Saab fans who drive their first 900. Full of enthusiasm, although the Saab with its completely finished chassis staggered through the curves like a steamer on the high seas. It was like that back then ... then you think, and how should you know better? When the Saab was built, the young owner wasn't even born. So how does he know how the 900 felt when it was new?

The old car trap is not just a problem for young people

The old car trap is not a privilege for young people. It also affects the elderly, and I am now one of them. 50 plus, and you should be rich in experience at my age. My 9-3 Aero is a nice car, I like to drive it. From the beginning he had two or three oddities, but they lost them over the years and with the increasing use of new parts. But one thing he has still retained. It runs restlessly when stationary, at traffic lights and when idling. When engaging the reverse gear he jacks up briefly, somehow strange.

Does it have to be like that? I admit, I didn't know the 9-3 I as a new car. So I have no possibility of comparison. But I have friends and acquaintances who also like and drive this model. Among them are two Aero with identical year of manufacture, and they show exactly the same symptoms. A restless idling and rocking when shifting into reverse gear. If 3 out of 3 vehicles do that, we end up with 100%. And the thing is right. They couldn't do better then.

And I already fell into the old car trap

The workshops do not notice anything either. How could they? I do not report any special incidents and the test drive after the inspection is carried out by a younger mechanic who also did not know the 9-3 as a new car. The matter is also not dramatically conspicuous, but to a certain extent bothersome to me.

March 2020. The Saab is due for the main inspection. Usually it will be in Bamberg and Frankfurt wait, I split the 9-3 between the two workshops, so to speak. Currently, due to the corona problem, Frankfurt is 100% in control. Before the appointment, the Saab comes on the lift, a quick visual check whether everything is in order. It is, but only almost. Something is due here. The vibration damper at the bottom left. Does he rock when he engages reverse gear? I confirm and sense an expensive repair. Does the gearbox also have to be removed, I ask half in joking?

It doesn't have to. The spare part with the number 4356184, the engine mount or vibration damper is inexpensive and quickly installed. Driving a Swedish exotic is affordable, which is confirmed again and again. The TÜV is not an issue and the running culture of the 9-3 Aero from then on is a revelation. A silky smooth idle, no more rocking when engaging reverse gear. Now, at the age of 20, he is driving almost like a new car.

10 thoughts on "Danger! How man or woman falls into the old car trap."

  • Thanks Ken-Daniel,

    something like that, I should actually have expressed it in my 1st comment.
    The creeping effect (habituation factor) should not be underestimated. More than once, I was completely flabbergasted by the way a car that I thought was familiar suddenly felt after something was finally exchanged.

    Nothing lasts forever. But everything ages at the same time. And you get used to it. And ultimately you think that there must have been enormous progress. But if you do an all-round turn on an old car (for example, the chassis has been completely revised), then this belief is put into perspective quite considerably.

    A lot of what manufacturers can do today, they can do for a very, very long time. An example: install brakes that are able (or would be without ABS) to lock the wheels even at high speeds and loads. Physically, more braking power is neither possible nor sensible.

    A fair comparison between old and new would be a prerequisite for a new state of the old. However, a few years and 50.000 to 100.000 km are enough to significantly age any car. Even small things can have enormous effects.

    I therefore understand Tom's article in such a way that the old car trap consists primarily in prematurely assuming alleged structural defects in older vehicles, which often turn out to be normal wear and tear and normal aging, which can be easily and surprisingly repaired. With a few euros invested in the right place, you rub your eyes at how well, safely and comfortably you got from A to B 10, 20, 30 or even 50 years ago ...

  • only drive old boxes, the youngest is from 97

    in detail: (order by age)
    Alfa Romeo Giulia v. 1976
    Porsche 944 v. 1983
    Alfa 164 v. 1996 (should go for a Saab 900 turbo)
    Mercedes SLK v. 1997

    the problem with many old car owners is this damn avarice is awesome mentality.

    How can I expect that it has to be right that a car that came on the market and cost DM really well today can buy for small change, sunbathe as owner of a luxury brand and then not even coal for regular maintenance (if I don't screw yourself) in a free work.

    It does not work. Point

    “Relatively” high-priced cars can be cheap to buy, but will never be cheap to run.

    In my opinion this applies to Saab, as well as to Mercedes or Porsche or ...

    My Porsche 944 cost just € 2007 in 3.700, traceable 150.000 km, new price in 1983 was around DM 60.000 (a lot of money at the time)
    Today 2020 I put in a good 28.000 € including purchase. Interior renovation, a lot of technology (maintenance and improvements)
    Conclusion: annual car level. Point

    and now, a Porsche 944 BC 1983 in good condition purchase price 1984?

    Right, that what I put in my overall.

    So, no money lost, plenty of driving fun and the feeling / knowledge of driving a great piece of engineering.

    Sorry for Porsche elasticity, so I'm looking for a 900 turbo, but then probably the same as for my Porsche.

    Modern cars have undoubtedly built a lot of suspension technology and active driving aids. But old boxes, perfectly maintained and adjusted, can still keep up well with a driver who can also implement the package.

    Example: last year Spa Classic, Tracklap at Scheixxx Wetter, I overtook 20, I overtook 3: a modern Ferrari, a Porsche 944 turbo Cup and a Lotus Elise.

    Whoever gets involved in an old premium car and waits accordingly will never fall into the old car trap.

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  • I guess that many small parts or parts affect the aging, but do not necessarily have to be replaced, cause some things to behave strange. Many things get a little worse every day and you don't notice the change, and at some point you think that it has always been that way. Until you have exchanged it.

  • The driving characteristics of such a 20-40 year old car are fundamentally different from today's new cars. (May occasionally ride in a Tiguan, yes, it's worlds to the old cars, but I wouldn't trade!)

    With the young and oldtimers, you still have to be able to drive and pack properly, in my opinion. My Delta HF 1984 with 132 HP behaves as stubbornly on the street as it did back then. Why should it suddenly get better? In my environment there are 20-30 year old boys who go to the Delta from time to time. The same comment every time, how can you drive such a box? My succinct answer, I can!
    In 1972 my “career” began with a Citroen 2CV. My goodness, what kind of driving behavior was that. And the brakes…. When you have beaten such a duck to the Norkapp and Portugal, then when it comes to driving a car, you won't be knocked down so easily 🙂

    My 9-3 Aero Coupe 2000 does not know this rocking when inserting the return gear. Maybe still to come.

    Have a good start to the happy month of May. It can only get better…..

  • I do it like this: I drive - and pay. Then I'll drive again - until I pay again. etc. normal. Instead, people in the village always see a grinning Saab convertible driver driving in and out. The cost, so what!

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  • The old car trap, great play on words. Nice.
    For this reason, I hesitate to purchase a SAAB:
    have no idea and no desire to do my own work,
    it is (relatively) far to the SAAB professionals,
    Worry about the "initial assessment" of the possible purchase,
    unclear follow-up costs (would like to “only” drive an old car), spare parts ???, duration of the oldie breakdown ???
    I'm not interested in a “fleet” on the side. So difficult ...
    So I have z. Currently decided: I look when necessary and enjoy spontaneously. Treat SAAB fans to the fun.
    All blog readers a good start to May!

  • Mr. Nordmann, delicious and succinct.

    The new car trap could be carried out any further. As a rule, it begins when the vehicle is handed over. Strictly speaking, already at the registration office, where the new one mutates into a used one before you could even see it from the outside ...

    Since 4- to 5-digit values ​​burn in a simple administrative act. But woe the old man needs new shock absorbers for a few hundred euros. Not possible.

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  • Can I confirm - small parts - big theater! On the convertible it was an upper (?) Engine mount that the workshop exchanged. The convertible then ran like fresh from Trollhättan.

  • There is also a new car trap! It works like this: Man or woman enthusiastically buys a German new car with alleged Clean Diesel technology, the rest is known ...

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