The idea was originally still born in 2002 while driving a spruce green Volkswagen Sharan TDi, a disaster of a vehicle in all but seating capacity. The air mass meter failed so many times that even VW started selling discount reconditioned ones. Towing was a complete joke, the ECU decided that pulling stuff was too much like hard work and would kick into “Get ya home mode” on every hill in the UK and France. Trips to Le Mans became a series of slow crawls followed by an ignition reset followed by a slightly faster crawl until the next incline. On one of our annual trips to Le Sarth’s great 24 hour motor race we decided to go via Holland. Now this is a reasonably flat sort of place that cyclists love and the sea wants back. But according to VW's ECU this country was a tad too uphill for its taste, causing yet another diversion into a deserted rest area to switch off and restart our rig. Smokers on board used the frequent layovers as prime fuming opportunity's, while Dutch cyclists sped past fearing the time when our convoy would hunt them down and again try to squeeze past.
At exactly 100K Miles the big green box went into self destruct mode, exhausts blew, Cats dropped off, the air-
Unfortunately the now named “Essex girl Sharon”, because she stripped herself naked at ever opportunity, became totally unreliable (much like most Essex girls) and a different tack was required urgently. So the kit car research and books were filed away and a tuning toy was selected. A Saab 93 was acquired, from a total mug of a used car dealer, as a swap plus a small number of pennies, paid for by the sale of the ancient Suzi. The Tdi chugged it's way into the forecourt on the day of the exchange and I drove off at high speed before said wheeler dealer could look too closely.
Abbott Racing played their tunes under the hood of the 93 and a quick car was born. What Ed and his team can do with these turbo powered cars is a REAL eye opener. ECU upgrades, spots cats, suspension changes and adjustments had this little bit of Sweden hounding large parts of Germany, even scaring scary Porsches. So a Saab 95 estate was quickly found to replace the Cherokee and Abbot were on the case again. Unfortunately, whilst wifey was coming home from work, on a thick foggy night, a stereotypical Essex girl, driving at 70 while doing her hair, drove her Fiesta straight into the side if my beloved 93. You have to say though that all occupants of the 93 got out, basically to find out what had happened. Said Essex girl took a blue light taxi to hospital. Saabs are most definitely safe cars.
So a funky red Saab 93 coup now replaced the old girl (I mean the car not the wife) and coz next of kin had been shaken and stirred by the accident, has been left as standard. Having done most mods possible to the 95 the big weighty lady (again the car) was never going to cut it in the handling stakes so the mind drifted back to kit cars.
There need to be a catalyst to kick start this vague idea and as usual the world had a smack waiting for me. My Russian wife decided that friends reunited would be a great place to find old Rusky comrades, and sure enough it was. Old Russian school pals were located and life stories were swapped. Then a meeting was arranged, so all the old Russians could gather to reminisce. Russian husbands, Russian wives, Russian families and me. So we purchased ferry tickets and drove to Germany. Yes Germany! Don't ask, I'm still puzzled. But hey, Autobahns and a tuned Saab 95, wheeeee lets go hound some Merc's.
On the ferry I remember we are going to see Russians, so large quantities of spirits were acquired. We sped through the night buzzing down motorways and following the Sat Nav blindly. There were frequent calls from paranoid Russians demanding that we continue and don't stop over at any place. Sleep, na speed! Finally we arrive in the depths of the night. Lots of hugs were followed by lots of food and, surprise surprise, huge amounts of whisky.
Now Andrei turns out to be a BWM mechanic and thinks Saab's are lame front wheel drive school run hacks. So we have a conversation. Well actually we have a translation session. I talk. Wife translates. Andrei counters. Wife translates. I talk. My son translates the technicalities to my wife. My wife translates. Andrei talks and explains in Russian the technical details, which involves an excessive use of the word “Machina” and massive top ups of Whisky. Wife translates. My son looks confused and goes to sleep. But after opening the second bottle of fine scotch a consensus is reached. BMW's have only relatively recently discovered the Turbo and have made a pigs ear of it. Saab power per litre makes a BWM fan want the motor in his car. BMW's are easy to crash but equally easier to drive quick. We all want rear wheel drive!
The following day I ponder and work while the others go sight seeing. Well when I say others apparently not all of them, Andrei takes the whole day to recover from the night before. In fact he is so out of it he does not even realise I'm still in the house. Still, my wife gets high praise for meeting a Brit who can drink properly. But back to my pondering.
If only Saab had a rear wheel drive set up that could be a donor car. But alas no, they have always been front wheel drive and this is their only flaw. Yes, you can't crash them, but you also can't play too hard either. What was needed was A) a plan and B) some help and C) another drink.......
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