21 December 2011

Saab story

It is with genuine remorse that eccentrics, iconoclasts and non-conformists everywhere greet the demise of Saab. The actual end was almost anti-climactic. Saab peaked in 1986 with a little over 46,000 sales. Never a large player in the great scheme of things, the GM years were particularly hard. They saw rebadged Subarus and Chevys and the erosion of Saab’s traditional market (ironically by Subaru and to a lesser extent Audi). Best of luck to the liquidators moving the 2,400 new Saabs still in the pipeline now shorn of warranty and the promise of parts support.

As for the collectability of older Saabs, we predict that it will be largely unaffected. Parts support has long since passed to the aftermarket and used supplies. The most desirable models will continue to be the two-stroke 92, 93 and 96, and rarer variants like the GT 750 and Monte Carlo 850, the Sonett (in all its iterations) and some of the later special models like the 99 Turbo, the later 900 SPG and the Classic 900 convertibles.

Lovers of sturdy and unusual cars with great winter capabilities, and unique Scandinavian design and sensibilities will miss Saab. They did after all give us the heated seat, for which I was grateful this morning while driving to work on a cold Michigan morning in my ’91 900S.

Rob Sass is the publisher of Hagerty magazine and the author of the book “Ran When Parked: Advice and Adventures from the Affordable Underbelly of Car Collecting.”

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