Even though I cut my teeth on Volkswagens,
and 30w Pennzoil seems to run in my
veins, every once in a while I get
an urge for something different. You
know, if you'd had (and liked) vanilla
all your life it's strange to wake
up suddenly wanting chocolate. But
this has happened to me, so I know
was 1959, and I would have been 5?
Next to dad's '57 Oval Window in the
driveway of our house in Sudbury,
MA. The 1954 Ford wagon across the
road is ours too, Dad parked it out
there so my mom could get down the
driveway to get out on snowy mornings.
I was, idly surfing eBay, for nothing
in particular. Then I typed "Saab"
into the search, and all sorts of
interesting things came up. There
it was, an uglier-than-the-south-end-of-a-northbound-monkey
Chocolate Craving. "IT"
was a 1968 Saab wagon, the hideous
(to some, but not to me) Saab family
car. I was smitten. Just like the
poor train-wreck of a 1967 Beetle
I found once, I wanted this car. Bidding
was fast and furious on the Saab,
but still failed to reach the reserve
set by the seller. As fast as the
car showed up on eBay, it was gone.
is something I'd probably sell just
about anything to get: an early Studebaker
pickup! Except this is a flatbed. We
found it on an apple farm in the Sierra
Nevada foothills, and it wasn't for
sale. Think it might be about a 1952
or 1953 model. Right up my alley!
too were my dreams of restoring something
other than a VW. Gone were my husband's
dirty looks when he realized I wasn't
joking. I suppose the last one is
a blessing - who wants to live with
someone who can't see the obvious
charms of such a neglected and unloved
old car? I could see the potential
here and was sorry it wasn't me that
got to unlock it. It was a solid,
rust-free car, or so the ad stated.
"The little V4 motor starts and
runs", it said. "Easy restoration",
the ad crowed. Located in Arizona,
it would have been easy (sort of)
for me to drive down there and take
a peek. And, I was so certain this
was the car for me that I even bet
Rob $100 that I could drive it all
the way home with no mishaps. You
should have seen his look when I said
pointing to my brother's 1946 Crosley
sedan, Bing. This was 4th of July last
year. Bing runs, and was driven in the
parade that day.
have owned a Saab before. Mine was
the lovely 1978 5-door GLE though,
and while not a V4, it was still a
Saab. This means that any repairs
or maintenance (honestly, any work
done on the car) costs approximately
ten times what it costs on any "normal"
car. Why this should be is still beyond
me, except that Saab engineers have
different ways of thinking about mechanical
doings than other engineers. To be
a Saab mechanic requires infinite
patience, many specialized tools and
customers with deep pockets. Or good
jobs. Either way, if you are a Saab
owner, you will eventually learn the
perils of Saab repairing, and this
is the main reason I am not a Saab
owner any longer. Mine was advancing
in years, although it had only a measly
118,000 miles on it. And, every few
hundred miles it seemed to need some
major repair that was costing me,
big-time. The fun I had from this
car was slowly being replaced by the
frustration of fixing it. Not to mention
the fact that its once-beautiful shiny
paint (CHOCOLATE-colored I might add)
was quickly washing off the car. Literally.
I sold it to buy my daily driver,
a 1990 Golf Gti which in spite of
its now-advanced age, has still not
cost me as much as the Saab did in
one repair alone. But even with all
these facts laid bare, Saabs have
a loyal and fiercely devoted following
and I will always count myself among
them. Only recently have I begun looking
backwards, fondly, and wishing for
more Saab torture. After all, when
it was healthy (which was for a good
long part of it's long life) it was
fun to drive, safe, and a joy at 90mph
on the interstate. I had visions of
chugging along towards home in my
1968 faded red Saab wagon
Rob following me in the Ram pickup.
Ah yes, it was not to be.
again, with Dad's 1961 NSU Sport Prinz.
I was about 6 years old here! Car
was a two-seater, 2-cylinder, rear
engine, air cooled model.
course, I still love vanilla, and
probably always will. The 30w Pennzoil
in my veins has not been totally replaced
by Quaker State 20/50, but it coexists
happily. Radiators are still a foreign
object to me though (I just don't
see the need for such a thing). I
often forget I have one in the Golf
and in the summer it seems forgiving
of my forgetfulness. The Golf has
been a great car, and is not the diva
that Saabs can be. Still, I crave
chocolate. But it's manageable. And,
I might just indulge that craving
sometime. Rob and my friends think
I'm crazy, but I remind them that
there are a lot of us crazy people
KimoSaabie, playing VW at the Solvang
show in 1994. See how awful his paint
looked on the hood? Sad.
does this stuff come from? Where do
these odd cravings originate? It can't
be explained, I suppose. It's like
so many other things: it just IS.
I like it that way too. I don't want
to question why, in the middle of
my vanilla-ness, chocolate or strawberry
or Saabs suddenly seem so appealing.
And, in my opinion, you've got to
be careful of those who deny their
cravings, and want you to think they're
set in their likes and dislikes. Those
people are scary! Not to mention without
enjoy your vanilla but have something
different every now and then.