Martijn’s Saab 900 convertible
- Bought for? €580
- During how much time? Six years
- How many owner? at least the twentieth
- kilometers traveled? more than 30,000
- The biggest advantage? Working on the car is very relaxing.
- Biggest flaw? Difficult to keep costs under control
- higher expense? transmission replacement
- How long do you keep it? at least fifteen years
The Swede was not worth much more than 580 euros, according to Martijn. “Only the bodywork was fine, but there were a lot of problems with the technology, such as the engine, gearbox, transmission and hood. No wonder: The 900 was delivered new in Italy in 1995, had at least five owners there, after which export to Germany followed. There, the Saab has also worn out five owners, until the sun worshiper ended up in the Netherlands in 2002. Here he met seven owners. He has finally found peace with me: for the next fifteen years I want Mr. Satisfaction, that’s what I call him, to start enjoying himself.
Martijn has already turned a Renault Laguna II into a reliable car
So that people know how it happened, the Drent raises his baptismal certificate. “I was meant to become a farmer, but when I was 17 years old, I was thrown off my moped by a drunk driver. As a result, my walking was difficult and I was unable to practice agriculture. Since then I have received a benefit of 70 percent of the minimum wage. Not much, which is why I have a bed and breakfast here in Ruinen. So I like to tackle. I don’t have much technical knowledge, but I managed to improve my Renault Laguna II, the generation of disaster, to the point of making it a reliable car. That Laguna still serves as a family car elsewhere, because I sold it to buy Saab parts.”
Previously already a Saab 90 for a bottle of port.
Therefore, Saab is a brand that has an advantage for Martijn. “That’s why: in 2016 I bought a Saab 90 in exchange for a bottle of port. You understand: there was still a lot to do. I picked up the gauntlet and that’s how I came to appreciate Saab: the premium parts, the thoughtfulness and the class of the whole… A top brand”.
Working on the entry-level Saab tasted like more, it was time for a bigger challenge. She found it in Coevorden, where a desolate 1995 900 Cabriolet had been collecting cobwebs in a shed for two years. “The technology was largely neglected. The starting point was the boring carriage and worn interior. Then the hood was refreshed. That’s how I started to really enjoy it. That was a good thing, because under the skin a lot of things turned out to be wrong. Over the years, the complete engine has been overhauled. I did a lot of things myself, but if I couldn’t figure it out, I was helped by Wim Timmer from Saab Specials in Meppel, who I call ‘Trollhättan van Drenthe’.”
For wishbone rubbers at the blacksmith
Martijn went to the village blacksmith for another job: the rubbers on the swinging arms had to be changed. “In Berlin I found a set of original Mapco multilink tires that Saab himself also used. The blacksmith pressed them into the wishbones. I have honored all Saab scrapyards in the north and east of the Netherlands with a visit. This is how I got spare parts for little money, because I had and I have a limited budget. Hence the sale of the Lagoon. On the other hand, I demanded that everything be Saab original: the best quality”.
The interior was updated, made one with 3 Saab spokes
There is always room for improvement, even after thorough work and cleaning. When Martijn found a good automatic gearbox on his way, he bought it, after which his ‘technical partners’ installed it. The interior also received an upgrade. For example, he made a working copy of three Saab radios. Unfortunately, the hood operation continued to cause problems. “That resulted? Marters had chewed through the wiring. The resulting short circuit disrupted the complex overhead computer, necessitating recalibration.”
In total, after the 580 euros of the purchase, Martijn spent a total of about 8,500 euros in the restoration. “I didn’t know what to expect in 2017. The purchase was a true leap of faith. Everything about the rebuild was disappointing, but a true car enthusiast realizes that and moves on. But beware: do it for yourself, not for the money. Only then will you enjoy it. And I enjoy my 900 Cabriolet. That stately, expensive car I saw driving around in the ’90s is now mine. The driving is fantastic. The car has already worn out many owners. I hope I can enjoy it for at least another fifteen years. If necessary, I can drive it all over the world.”