With the Rover 3500 back on terra firma in the UK and in the safe hands of MOTest at Farnham, it looks like I have another project to sort out in the coming months. Back in 2008, I put my Saab 9000 Aero in for a repair which, although complex, should have been done reasonably quickly.
Unfortunately, following a long and horrible story, I’m left – two years down the line – with the car in rather a worse state than it was when I left it and with what looks like a fair bit of work to do on it.
Here’s the original post stating the Saab’s sorry story on the AROnline forum back in January 2010: ‘A couple of years back after forum posts and swapped messages, I decided that I should pass my beloved Saab 9000 Aero on to get some much needed repairs to.
‘But in the end, it looks like I have no car, and if it’s still around, it’s going to be worth little more than scrap. And the bottom line is that it’s really starting to get me down, and I could just do with some practical advice on what to do next…
‘The back story is straightforward. I gave the car to a member of several forums I go on. He was a local mechanic who worked for a garage in his area, and from the amount of posts he made here, there and everywhere, seemed like a sound bloke who knows his cars, and who’s more than willing to help people whenever he can.
‘I felt assured enough to leave my Aero with him to do some work on – after all, he worked at a proper garage, and seemed to have lots of satisfied customers. So, I left the car with him early in 2008 with a replacement gearbox in the boot, and asked him to put it in.
‘Also, it needed a new windscreen, so – again – I asked him to do it.
‘A few weeks after, he contacts me to say he’s having custody problems with his daughters. I say that’s fine – but if he was struggling, just to let me know and I’d take the car back and pay for work done. He insisted it was fine, and I had no reason to doubt this, so left him to get on with it.
‘The months passed, and I’d regularly get in touch asking if all was okay… and he’s always say that the car was safe, and it would be done soon. I could see the problems he was having as he’d share them on Facebook, so didn’t give him too much hassle, but constantly reminded him that if he couldn’t do my car, shout me, and I’d take it back off his hands. Then, last summer, he disappeared off Facebook and stopped taking calls.
‘I contacted the garage he was working at, and the manager said he’d not been working there for at least 18 months, and that as he didn’t know who the Saab belonged to, he had placed it in storage. But that the garage owner also said that he had financial problems at the time and hadn’t paid his storage bills for some time, so had no idea what state my car was in… but now he knew who I was we’d get in regular contact so I could get my car back. Which he reassured me, he’d be able to do.
‘The garage owner and I did chat a couple more times, but each time he’d not tell me precisely where the car was… but he would call when he got it back. I ascertained that the car was without a screen, under a cover, and stored outdoors. So, a write-off I guess. But now he’s not talking to me, and I’m 200 miles away stuck without a clue what’s going on, and the situation is REALLY getting me down.
‘Basically, I know in my heart that the car is FUBAR’d. Legally I know I will have to pursue the garage owner if I don’t want to count this as a £4000 write-off, as he made no effort to contact me and legally he should have done this… but if the garage owner is straight and genuinely having problems, I really don’t want to do that.’
My question, then, would be – after seeing these pictures – is there anyone out there who can recommend the services of a good welder who fancies having a crack at that bulkhead panel? Alternatively, should I be more sensible and break the car, keeping all the shiny bits, and find another 9000 to fit them to?
Frankly, I don’t have the energy for another project right now and just looking at these pictures depresses me somewhat. The picture at the top shows what it was like in the long hot summer of 2007… ah, the memories.
Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated!
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.