Car: Saab 900 Carlsson
Owned since: April 2012
Previously owned: Mk1 Fiat Uno, Peugeot 306 D-Turbo, MG ZT+, Saab 93 2.2 TiD (current)
My dad owned several Saabs when I was young, a pair of 99s and a 900. I grew up pretending to drive a broken down 99 which we still had in the garden. Something must have stuck because I got distracted while browsing the classifieds for a BMW E30. A few months later and after some missed opportunities I ended up with G837 KOG.
What I wish I'd known:
Most of the bad points about these cars are well known and fairly obvious (weak gearboxes, sagging headlining). One of the previous owners has added some non-standard buttons. I wish I'd asked the previous owner what they do, because I still have no idea, other than make an LED blink.
The noise and the smell. The smell of the interior is magical, it must be something to do with the materials used at the time but the smell reminds me of my first car - vinyl with a hint of petrol. The noise is addictive, the low burble of the slant-four combined with the whistles and rushes from the turbo and big pops and crackles on the overrun. The stainless exhaust fitted by a previous owner helps too.
Things I hate:
Keeping it clean. I hadn't fully thought through the implications of owning a white car. Any time it goes through a dirty puddle causes an immediate countdown to getting out the buckets and microfibre cloths.
So far costs have been low. Insurance was nice and cheap from Adrian Flux on a classic limited mileage policy. The fuel economy is actually pretty good, especially compared with the MG ZT I owned previously. I tend to service most cars myself, however I intend to pay a trip to Jon Saab in Poole for a check-over. Most parts are shared with the more common Saab 900 T16s and the car came with a spare body kit, so I'm not too worried about the cost of parts in the future.
Where I've been:
Our biggest adventure has been to the PistonHeads Sunday Service at the Vauxhall Heritage Centre. I usually take it out closer to home, around the Blandford/Shaftesbury area and out to the New Forest. I'm hoping to be able to drive it to Le Mans next year as well.
I think I'll be hanging on to the Carly for a few years yet. The previous owner did a good job at touching up paint to keep rust in check, but the finish wasn't always the best. I'd like to get it resprayed at some point in the future if I can find a set of replacement decals.