Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Saab (Sob) Story Comes to an End

I feel like my blog has become an exercise in nostalgia lately. I apologize for that, though here's one more installment. Saab filed for liquidation yesterday, ending a nearly 70-year run of producing quirky cars that elicited equal parts love and frustration.

I had a Saab 9-3 for years (pictured here) and mostly enjoyed its curiosities: You had to put it in reverse to take the keys out of the ignition, which for some reason was located between the front seats. I bought the car used and was motivated by the fact that Saabs lost their resale value faster than any other vehicle in their class. That's good if you buy one secondhand; not so great if you're getting it new.

The car felt solid and safe, but little things would often break and it was expensive to maintain. I can understand why it remained a niche product — though if you drive through parts of Marin (say, Point Reyes Station), you might think they were the dominant brand in America.

Kelly couldn't drive the Saab because she never mastered a stick shift. And it would have been a terrible car to learn on, since it was easy to stall (especially while navigating the hills of San Francisco). When we had kids, that sealed the deal: We had to sell it and buy a car she could actually drive.

I always wondered if I'd own another Saab someday. Now it appears that I won't.

Ah, well. One more bygone thing to tell the kids about. My Saab tales will at least be more exciting than my stories about shopping at Mervyns.