So, it’s been a little while since I added new cars to the fleet. By my reckoning, it’s just over a month since the Land Rover Discovery came on board to give me access to the ranks of the British car owning fan club again. Anyway, while that little beauty has been performing faultlessly – yes, really – ferrying me back and forth to Peterborough, and other other places, another two cars seem to have stumbled into my life. So, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Saab 9000 Aero and Alfa Romeo GTV V6.
The Alfa Romeo will be more than familiar to anyone who’s worked at Bauer’s Media House for the past few years. It belonged to a member of one of the other motoring titles, who bought it and, after suffering a couple of mechanical breakdowns, parked it up and pondered its future. And as he pondered, the months and years passed. Now while most people would be happy to see this vision of loveliness as an interesting piece of car park sculpture, when I joined the company in 2012, I actually found myself feeling sorry for the thing.
A few months ago, I started asking around and, once I’d ascertained who’s it was – and who else had been interested over the years, I got talking and managed to extract the keys from his regretful grasp to have a look, with the intention of getting it back up and running again. My mucker Mike Humble joined me in looking at the car and managed to get it started, after disabling the immobiliser and unsticking the clutch – and, although it ran, it sounded a ‘bit’ on the sick side.
He told me to walk away and never look back but, me being me, I decided instead to think about it. And so, months later, I decided that against everyone’s better judgment, it might be worth taking on, anyway. After all, the mileage is low, the service history is full and, if all goes to hell in a handcart, those wheels are worth a few quid to an Alfa 156 enthusiast. So, we’ll see how that one goes…
As for the Saab 9000 Aero, that’s an even stranger story. It’s actually my old car, which I sold in August 2010, after four years of up and down ownership. My last blog on the car was back in April 2010 (and the picture below is how it looked), when I’d had the paintwork brought up to scratch after years hidden under a flapping tarpaulin.
A picture of it was posted recently by my friend Les Hedaux in Facebook at a UKSaabs club meeting – and that reminded me that when I sold, I’d agreed with the new buyer, David Herrett, that I’d get my GXI 9500 registration off it. This had been attached to a good number of my cars over the years, and I was a bit attached to it. As for the Saab, I’d had many happy memories of it, buying it with money I’d made from a book deal, and having a number of really good Trans-European drives in it. I’d loved that car, too, tuning it along the way, and generally really caring for it.
So, I emailed David to see how the car was going, and that I was pleased to see it still around after all of these years. He had done some good work on it over the years, not least replacing the damaged gearbox – but also maintaining it well, keeping on top of the mechanics and fitting a black interior from his old Aero. The exterior, he said, was a little worse for wear on the paint side, but I could believe that after the tarpaulin incident.
He then said something very dangerous. ‘If you would like the number back that’s fine but if you would be interested in the car and the number, I am at a point where I need to reduce the number of cars I have.’ In other words, I could have the number back, but also the car as well! Blimey.
I went up to see the car again, and yes, it wasn’t the shiny thing you see in the image above, but mechanically and structurally, it’s very sound, and sounding very interesting through the Powerflow exhaust David had bolted on to replace my Abbott one. A deal was done and, as a result, a couple of days ago, he delivered the car to Media House, and I was back in the Saab Club again. Good news is, I’ve added it to my ever-growing Hagerty classic insurance policy (additional premium £48), and taxed it online in a record-breaking (for me) 2mins and 30secs.
There’s a journey to be had here – and decisions to be made. The ‘plate or the car? Let’s see how I feel going forwards…
As ever, I’ll be wittering about it here.
- Concepts and prototypes : Hyundai/Rover Oden (1992) - 9 November 2023
- Opinion : So, maybe the Montego was the best they could do… - 8 November 2023
- The cars : Austin Montego (LM11) development story - 7 November 2023