I don't know now whether as a Saab driver with a Saab, no matter which model and which year, you cause a lot of attention among the common people. Except of course for connoisseurs, of course. I myself was lucky enough to drive two “non-Saabs” that caused a stir.
On the one hand a Volvo 1800 ES, better known as Snow White's coffin, and then one of the very first Alfa Romeo 156s in Switzerland, which at the beginning was admired by a whole bunch of interested people. I would like to briefly describe how it came about as a convinced Saab driver as well as advertising copywriter for Volvo, Subaru and Jaguar.
As it goes in life, one fine day the ways of the Volvo advertising agency and me parted, as well as those of my wife and thus my Saab 900 (which stayed with her). And suddenly I was without a car. And I confess that I cheated. And quickly bought a Fiat Uno.
A trolley that worked wonderfully as a city car for a few years and had no problems for 100 kilometers. Nothing at all, not even rust, except for the roebuck that I shot down with it. Of course, I also considered buying a Saab at the time, but Saab was already largely owned by GM back then and that stopped me from doing it.
For a long time they only had rear-wheel drive, but let's discreetly disregard the 440, 460 and 480 models, and the new 850 was the first real Volvo with front-wheel drive, but too expensive for me in the situation at the time. And anyway, I should have driven a Subaru or a Jaguar. I would have got both as a company vehicle if I had wanted to, because in the meantime I was writing for these two car brands in another advertising agency. And that as a Fiat Uno driver!
To the great horror of both marketing departments
(At least I was able to drive a car, which could not be said of many of the well-known and successful car advertisers in Switzerland at the time.
So I was forever lost to Saab and Volvo? Not quite, because in the meantime I fell in love with a Volvo 1800 ES in gold metallic. Automatic machine, but with only 51 kilometers, air conditioning, automatic limited-slip differential and all the other extras that were available for this car at the time.
Of course, I only drove the Snow White coffin and the matching Snow White on weekends and during the holidays. And caused a sensation everywhere. Once two Italians circled the “Sweden Ferrari” and, after admiring the sleek silhouette, said: “Più bella di una donna.” More beautiful than a woman. We then agreed that it also depends on the woman.
Much to the delight of my company
The Volvo 1800 ES was a lot of fun to drive, but it didn't like hot weather or traffic jams at all and the cooling water began to evaporate in each case. That means that when there was a traffic jam on the motorway there was only one thing. Get out as quickly as possible, if necessary via the hard shoulder. Instead, the air conditioning (still with Freon!) Worked like a freezer and produced deciliters of condensation, which spilled over the feet of the driver or the passenger at every sharp bend.
But in the long run two cars in the increasingly car-hostile city of Zurich, where parking spaces in the city center cost a fortune? After a few years, I sold the Snow White's coffin just to be sensible. At least for the same price I paid for it six years ago. However, it would be worth twice as much today. And sometimes I still mourn him. But it seems to be in good hands, as I've seen “my” Volvo once or twice on the roadside in the meantime.
Still in original condition and not tinkered with
In addition, there was another offspring in the house. So a new car was needed. But what? From my point of view, Saab was practically Opel and Volvo was Ford. The Volvo V40 also contained a bit too much Mitsubishi. After a test drive, the new A-Class from Mercedes retired in the first sharp bend without the electronic helpers.
Actually there was only one unfulfilled childhood love: Alfa Romeo. The new 156 with the hidden rear door handles so that the car looked like a two-door from the side, was love at first sight. And that in a heavenly light blue called Azzuro Tazio Nuvolari. The German motorsport postillas complained about the workmanship, the fabric cover and the interior, but at least admitted that a BMW 320, on the other hand, looked directly boring.
The Alfa was by no means boring. A simply great car, with a great engine, wonderfully finished, wonderful to drive and the fabric of the upholstery was almost like new after 155 kilometers. And at least at the beginning, up to two dozen passers-by stood around the parked car and admired the design and color.
Even worse, out of sheer admiration, one drove behind after only 3 kilometers. The new Alfa is so beautiful to look at that he forgot to brake! Fortunately, the damage wasn't too great and I was a proud Alfa driver for a couple of years.
And yes, Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear is right, once in a lifetime you have to drive an Alfa.
So everything is palette? Well, even an Alfa is only an Italian. Somehow they forgot to insist on rustproof the base plate. Soon the mobile pedestal was crumbling under my backside and little would have been missing that I could have studied the condition of the road surface up close between my legs.
So no chance to pass the motor vehicle inspection again (corresponds to the TÜV). Again a new car was needed. And since there was no longer any Alfa in the color Azzuro Tazio Nuvolari, they had to delete my name from the customer list in Turin. Otherwise, in light blue, who knows, I would probably drive an Alfa today.
And since Saab had broken away from GM in the meantime ...
Images: Gigi (5), FCA (1)
Text and pictures: Gigi