There are other websites with better photos than the ones I take. I gave up taking arty photos of cars ages ago because I am simply no good at making a good car look any better than it might be.
Some cars are easier than others to work off though and this Saab is one of them. It also helps that the owner has chosen to give the car some steam-punk charisma. Is there a small vogue for this in my little area I wonder because if I
root around in the memory cupboard I find this:
…which we showed recently.
Further, a neighbour has a Land Rover Discovery which is stuffed with military cast-off equipment, has no front bumper (just an iron bar) and black metal wheels. It sports a vivid bright metallic green too – the kind of cheerful hue they did in the early 1990s. I know a colour specialist and I must ask her if there is some kind of name for those 1992-1995 colours.
Which brings us back to the Saab…
“One of the most overlooked Saabs”, writes this site. This quote is quite interesting if you are interested in engine history. Half a V8 is the way the car’s motor is eventually summed up. “The Saab 99 project was christened ‘Gudmund’ after the name Swedes give to the day of the year on which it began April the 2nd. Saab had realised that a bigger car was needed than the much praised 96, and though Saab loved two-stroke engines, the company realised that four pots were needed for this new family saloon.
British firm Ricardo & Co Engineering was developing a new unit for Standard-Triumph at the time, and Saab asked to be in on the action. The result was that that S-T would build the engine for Saab under a deal signed in 1965. The eventual 1.7-litre engine would be overhead cam – unusual for a family saloon at the time, and mounted at 45 degrees to fit under Gudmund’s bonnet.”
The car had remarkable run, from 1965 to 1984 which is a very long time indeed. Think about all the versions of Taunuses, Cortinas and eventually Sierras made in the same span of time. Honest John quite likes the car: “In typically Swedish fashion, the Saab 99 managed to be both rational and interesting at the same time. For a car of its vintage it was technically very advanced, but also a great car to drive. Cabin was a bit on the narrow side for maximum comfort, but that was negated by the commanding view forward and excellent seating. Strong performance and brakes were a 99 strong point – hatchback Combi version offered later.”
You could have bought one of those or a Citroen GS new and both are so astoundingly different in style and execution. It makes the fact the not-bad descendents were reworked Opels and Peugeots harder to bear.