MY SAAB STORY – Guest Writer Enrico Pallazzo

posted in: Online Around the Net | 1

Part 1 of 2…

Grusche’s Gray Matter has a story about Paul’s experience with selling cars on eBay, why he no longer sells them there and how the system could be fixed. This started me thinking about my many bad used car purchases I have made over my lifetime, and the 3 cars I have purchased off of eBay. Of the 3 I have purchased, 2 were complete losers. These bad purchases were completely my own fault, and with a 33% success rate I have pretty much learned better than to purchase vehicles off of eBay. The following is the story of one of my 66%ers.

Probably the worst eBay purchase I have ever made, and that is saying a lot because I have bought a whole bunch of absolute crap over the years from eBay – I blame alcohol and late night binge bidding – was a ’88 Saab convertible from Florida that I bought sight unseen. NEVER, EVER, I repeat, NEVER, EVER buy anything from Florida sight unseen. Especially cars, drugs and land. I should have known something was up when the company that sold it to me called me the day after the sale and told me the power top suddenly stopped working. They said it was a common problem with Saabs and I could get a new hydraulic-lift-strut-thing from any junk, sorry, “salvage” yard and I could even use one from any of the Chry Co convertibles out there. For some reason I kind of have a thing for the 900 Saab convertible, especially in charcoal grey, so instead of doing the smart thing and cancelling the deal, I took the $800 off of the sales price they offered me for the faulty top and had the car shipped to Michigan. When she finally arrived a week or so later, I took delivery of what was a beautiful looking 1988 Saab 900 Turbo convertible with matching grey leather interior; cosmetically perfect after 12 years of use at less than 6,000 miles a year. What I also had taken delivery of was a car that someone had apparently used as a boat anchor at some time in its life.

I knew something was up when I first went to start it and for some reason the turbo just didn’t build any boost. And some of the electronics seemed to be performing less than optimally. And nothing really worked all that well. Being the ace fabricator/master mechanic that I am… ok, let me rephrase that, being really good at taking stuff apart and cobbling it back together so that it works but more in a functional, Frankensteinian manner than to precision, factory specs, I popped the hood and took a crack at her.

Before buying my Sob (see what I did there?) I really did not have any experience working on anything other than ‘Merican cars. Opening up the bonnet of the Sob was like opening an oyster and discovering a pearl. Unfortunately, as I would soon learn, it was a completely flawed pearl with absolutely no value, but a pearl, none the less. It was nothing like the cars I was used to, where everything was crammed in there and inaccessible. First off, the bonnet opened forward and spread the entire width of the car. Secondly, everything could be seen from above and was readily accessible; there was no crawling under the car to get to the oil filter or stripping away useless plastic bits to find the spark plugs. It was just all there, right in front of me! And… it was about that time that I first saw the traces of sand in the engine compartment…

To be continued tomorrow…

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