1984/85 Saab 900 Turbo "The Old Girl" a brief history
The shell was hauled off the production line before standard completion and assigned as a special build to the exact specifications of an arab sheikh in the Sultunate of Oman (where we were working and living at the time). Before Saab finished and shipped the special project however the gentleman who placed the order changed his mind and bought a lamborghini instead, meaning that when "his" car arrived at the dealerships in Oman she went straight to the showroom floor instead where we bought her immedeately for the equivalent UK sum of around £8000 (1984 prices)
We also have a FULL service history, comprising EVERY reciept ever issued for the vehicle, and every piece of correspondence relating to her. We have the dealer service log book which has been stamped right through to the end, all work carried out where possible using genuine saab parts and carried out by saab mechanics. A running list of expenditure has also been kept (over £10,000 from 1984 to 2004, plus the £3,000+ we have just spent on the restoration) Every single oil change is listed, the kilometer reading when work was carried out and the interval since it was last carried out. If any work not carried out to our standards the vehicle was immediately returned to the garage and the work ordered to be redone properly. We have kept every single MOT since she entered the UK and she has never failed one once, in fact she has never got so much as an advisory. The last MOT carried out in 2004 the comment of the MOT tester when asked his opinion of wether there was any work we may need to undertake in the next few months was (and I quote) "nothing, she's like bloody new"
In 1988 we imported the vehicle to the UK, she was undersealed and waxoyled and stored in a centrally heated climate controlled garage, and as we were still travelling and mostly living abroad, she was then only used a couple of times a year, although an engineer relative regularly visited and started the engine, moved her around a bit, cheked fluid levels etc to keep her in good condition mechanically. She was never put away dirty but always washed, dried and polished before being regaraged, and as such maintained her "just out of the showroom" look right up until 2004. We took her to Saab Owner's Club shows and rallies where she usually won prizes for her condition and gained plenty of attention for her uniqueness. She still resembled a car of about 2 years of age at that time.
In 2004 however having sold the house we no longer had a garage due to buying a 2nd house in France, and so a friend offered to keep her in his garage until we had somewhere new to keep her. Unfortunately he didn't do so and parked her under a tree on a farmyard for the next 4 years.
When we collected her again her underside was still 100% solid thanks to the underseal/waxoyl treatment, and her engine still started first time and runs fine. The only reason for the restoration is that the body panels all had faded and had minor rust beginning on almost every panel (all the problems can be seen on the pre-restoration photographs online at http://www.ukshires.net/saab.htm) Nothing was structural but needed to be halted and put right to prevent it getting any worse, so a full respray was carried out in order to restore her to her showroom-new condition for the next 25 years (at least!) Now we have her again she will again be properly looked after, washed and polished correctly, only used rarely for fun and shows and kept in a garage under a protective cover. On her one show outing so far this year to the classic car show at Hartlepool historic quay on the 13th April, depsite the many much older and possibly more intresting cars on display she gained a huge amount of attention, outshining vehicles half her age.
In summary, her specification includes:
Shell: 1983/84 four door sedan WIHTOUT sunroof, (as would have been standard for the spec level, but in a desert country it is not desirable, hence the more standard lower spec shell being taken off the production line and customised up as a higher spec without a hole in the roof!)
Colour: 155 Elfenbein (a Saab colour but a very rare one)
Interior: cashmere velour sports seats (rather than leather which would have been standard for the spec level, but again leather in a desert is not a good idea!) Velour sports seats are incredibly difficult to come by, we have not been able to find any other car with them in, just standard velour, or leather sports. It is possible that they are custom made as a one off but we cannot be 100% certain.
Sports suspension, Inca Alloys (changed to aero 3 spoke alloys, the ONLY difference to factory standard on the whole vehicle) sports seats, air conditioning, cruise control, electric windows front AND back, central locking, electric wing mirrors, power steering, APC, sports side stripes, and sump guard. Usually the "luxury" models had chrome trim rather than black trim. Sports models usually had the black trim. Ours apprears to be very loosely "Saudi" spec, on a sports model with the maximum luxury add-ons but the sports trim rather than lux trim. The side stripes were uniquely foreign specification and were unavailable on UK models.
She is now completley resprayed, mechanically all that had been required to return her to the road was new brake discs and calipers all round, new tyres, and fluids flushing and replacing as a precaution. Opinions from classic vehicle enthusiasts so far have been that of complete amazement at the showroom condition, her service history and general story and history of her creation, and that she has remained in our family since new.
CLICK HERE for the AFTER restoration photos
CLICK HERE for the restoration progress photos
CLICK HERE for the PRE restoration progress photos