MY SAAB STORY – Guest Writer Enrico Pallazzo Part 2 of 2

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Part 2 of 2…

“Wow,” I thought to myself, “had the previous owner owned a beach house? He must have been pretty rich because property on the sand is pretty expensive. That’s good, because rich people usually take good care of their cars so this boost thing must be some minor probl…” It was around then that I snapped out of my completely delusional inner conversation and realized that something just was not quite right with this car. I had looked over to the fuse box and noticed that some of the beautifully Technicolored wires going into the box had sort of… how to put this… melted themselves into non-factory spec colors. There were the usual RGBIV rainbow of colors, and some of the various colors with stripes, but then there were also the red melted into blue melted into purple color accented with a little bit of exposed copper color. I ‘m pretty sure I saw the color of Superman ice cream in there, too. “Hmm,” I though to myself, “that’s kind of odd. I wonder why that is.” Oh, I knew why that is, but my brain had just shut off the rational, reality portion of itself to protect my fragile psyche; it was kind of the mental version of out of sight out of mind.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon only lasts about 30 seconds until reality comes flooding back in. Which is kind of funny that I mention flooding, because obviously I had purchased a hurricane Katrina car. Which is even funnier because this was 2000 and Katrina did not happen until 5 years later. The only person that really got a good laugh out of that was the guy that sold me the car, because what I had bought was a cosmetically pristine Sob 900 that had spent some time underwater. Not just some rain getting into the car when the top was down time, but straight up underwater time. But, you may be asking, how did you know it was underwater? Rain in a convertible can short out the electrical system, no?! You do have a point there, rain can short out an electrical system. However, rain can’t dump the couple o’ pounds of sand that I found under the carpet in the trunk, under the carpet in the interior, and in the area where the convertible top was stored. Pretty much only being at the bottom of the ocean and/or a lake can do that. Oh, and if you didn’t know this, apparently cockroaches like to live in the convertible top storage areas in cars from Florida that have been underwater, because I found a few of those as well.

So long story slightly less long, the entire electrical system had fried itself, especially around the wiring harness running down the center tunnel of the car. When I pulled back the carpeting and took apart the plastic surrounding the Sob trademark ignition between the front seats, I discovered a blob of plastic and copper wire where my wiring harness should have been. An interesting side note, apparently when copper wiring gets wet for a period of time, it also turns that greenish hue that you see on old weathered copper statues and roofs. Another interesting side note, that same green hue on your wiring system in your car is far less aesthetically pleasing than it is on rooftops and objets d’art. But I digress. Being the resourceful young man I am, instead of just throwing in the towel and re-listing this thing on eBay so that some other sucker could buy into this problem (which is a common practice on eBay, and yet one more reason why I no longer buy cars off of eBay), I decided to try to fix it. And by fix it I mean I bought a wiring harness off of another Sob – thanks eBay! – and went to work.

Now I have to tell you, I really love fabricating things, or “fabing” things as I like to say. Usually what I slap together with bits and pieces of whatever I have around the house actually works out pretty well, and it’s amazing the things I can do with a rechargeable drill a few tools and a lot of ingenuity. Hey, McGyver ain’t got nothin’ on me. But rarely does it look good and it’s hardly ever up to code, which is fine, because all it needs to do is work and I’m happy. Unfortunately, the electrical system in a 1988 Sob is not one of those things you can just slap together. I’m used to working around things, not actually taking things apart, properly fixing what needs to be done that is behind the thing I had to take the thing apart for in the first place, and then putting it all back together. Which is unfortunate, because that’s kind of what you have to do when you are working with a car’s electrical system. But instead of doing things the correct way, I did them the far superior My Way.

It was fun at first, matching wires from the Sob with wires from the wiring harness I had bought, cutting out the bad sections and splicing in the good. Unfortunately, after about 5 months of working (when I had the time and the desire to work) with this ever expanding mess of wires and electrical tape, I threw in the towel. I’m not sure if it was the trying to splice every wire that went through the fire wall on both sides of the fire wall, or realizing that a vast majority of the wires that were supposed to be connected to the fuse box weren’t actually connected to anything that made me give up, but eventually I did. So the Sob sat there for the next year or so as driveway art until one day I had it towed away to an appointment with a crusher. I never did get to drive it for more than 15 minutes and 3 miles in its entire brief working life with me. But before it left, I did sit in it one last time on a crisp autumn night, folded the top down, put the key in the center console ignition, pretended to start her up and took her for one last drive on my drive way, me making car noises while I imagined that the scenery was going by, just dreaming of what could have been. All the while cursing eBay.

2 Responses

  1. Paul "Groosh" Grusche

    I hope during that last faithful drive, you went to 31 Flavors and picked up Superman ice cream. Then, while you made car noises in the driveway that crisp autumn night, you could remember what it was like to be a kid with a car, a toolbox and a dream. Long live the automotive passion.

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