Monday, 19 December 2011

The Saab special...

Today we are sad. Very sad. Saab has had the final administrative nail driven into its lovely, slightly bonkers, Swedish coffin. Saab is dead, soon to be nothing more than another addition to the list of 'do you remember them?' car companies. Sniff.


It's a Saab hearse. Saab are dead now. Can you see what we've done here?


Saab first appeared on the radar in 1937 (if, that is, they had radars back then), though its primary concern was that of building planes, not tough hatchbacks with odd ignition key placement and a leave-it-in-reverse prerequisite. It was the mid-forties before it turned its hand to the wheel as a primary point of movement. That first car was the snappily named 92001. They wanted to call it 90210, but rich American teens had already collared that number some 40 years ahead of the TV show of the same name. That last bit may have been a lie. Anyway, yes, the Saab 92001...


Well hello there, you Swedish sexpot!


It looked a bit like a plane, sort of, if you squint. Okay, it looked nothing like a plane, but crucially it looked like nothing else either, but it transpired that people liked that quite a lot. Saab were off to a winning start and from the '40s onwards it continued to make good, if slightly odd cars.



As the years rolled on Saab decided on three things...

1) It liked turbos. Good, because we like turbos quite a lot, too.

2) It liked crashing into stuff. Not on purpose, mind. Much like not-dead-yet Volvo, the bods at Saab were all about safety. If you bumped one of its cars they wanted your pretty face (and it is pretty by the way) to stay just the way you like it - steering wheel free. They've spent millions on that, the lovely swines.

3) It liked luxury. Leather, dubious wood, lots of buttons and electric everything were chiselled into the modus operandi.

...and those three things shaped the way it would build its cars for its remaining years. Safe, powerful cars with plenty of kit. What could go wrong?


Darling, I think we've had a bump. Would you turn Dexy's Midnight Runners off and have look please, Sweetheart?


A lot, so it would seem. We won't bore you with all the details - there are proper grown-up news sites for that - instead allow us to summarise what's happened...

They ran out of money. Mainly because the brilliantly named Chinese conglomerate, Youngman, decided at the last possible moment that it had put Saab in its shopping basket by mistake. This left Saab as nothing more than the metaphorical tin of green beans that you see next to the shampoo in ASDA. Damn you Youngman, damn you to hell.

Now it's your time to step up, dear reader. Yes, you! Put the Pot Noodle down and listen up! You can live oh-so-many of Saab's dreams for less than £2000. Cars like the 9-3 convertible...



...or if you need a bit more space for the kids, the dog and half of Sutton Coldfeild you could opt for a 9-5 estate...



...or you could go classic and opt for a 900 Turbo...



...or something else. There are so many sub-£2000 Saabs out there that the choice really is yours. Buy one and you'll look good, you'll feel safe and you'll go bloody fast if you buy the right one! You'll also be preserving the heritage of a great, slightly odd car company. It'd be like having your bonkers aunt stuffed and mounted as a memorial, just without the inherent risk of getting you arrested/sectioned under the mental health act.

Goodbye Saab, and thanks for the cars. They might not have been to everyone's taste, but we loved them. Hell, N£2G head-honcho had a 900XS (though he's willing to ignore the fact that engine FELL OUT OF IT on the M32). You'll be missed. Mainly for things like this wonderful press shot...



...nope, we haven't got a clue.

Saab cars, 1944 - 2011.