1 RMSC News 2009 Issue 5 November-December 2009 Club Web Sites: http://www.rockymtnsaabclub.com http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/rmsaab To send email to Group: firstname.lastname@example.org To send email to Pres: email@example.com To send email to Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org From your Club President Better late than never? I am writing this column at the last minute, as usual, just before the final dead- line your newsletter editor has specified. We find ourselves at the end of another year, and what a year it 9s been!
Our club members have worked extremely hard to put on a successful Saab Owners Convention despite an uncertain economy, and we have seen the fortunes of Saab Cars go from unpromising to hope- ful to semi-secure to downright doubtful. Saab and most other manufacturers, at least in the western world, have become intertwined and entangled with their financiers, suppliers, advertisers workers and the world at large, of course. Part of the responsibil- ity for the failure of General Motors to successfully sell Saab to the Koenigsegg group goes back to the complexity of all those relationships.
Perhaps, as you read this, Saab will be at the end of the same road that so many other car manufacturers have gone down. The road with the big ... more. less.
Dead End and No U- Turn signs posted there. I certainly hope this doesn 9t happen, but it is very likely, according to all the automotive industry writ- ers whose articles and opinions I have read.<br><br> Proba- bly adding to the problem is the fact that Saab has sold fewer than 7,500 cars in the US through October of this year. That is 62% less than last year and more than a 70% decline since the peak sales of the 1980s. Apparently, most of this year 9s sales have been from the9-7X and the 9-3 Sport Sedan model ranges.<br><br> Many questions remain. What will happen to Saab Cars as a company, and what will happen to the Saab community? We, here in the Front Range are fortu- nate to have a strong club with good support from local businesses, and we are not necessarily depend- ant on new car sales to keep going.<br><br> Will Saab clubs become like Triumph or MG car clubs? It is too early to tell, but in some ways, we share much of the same cidentity d. In the meantime, it looks as though 2009 Saabs will be rare as pre-owned models.<br><br> Will we be provided with the opportunity to buy a second-generation 9-5? Better late than never, I hope. Bruce Harbison Photo by Don & Pat Palmer The December 8 th meeting will be held at the Breckenridge Brewery, 7:00 P.M.<br><br> Tues- day, 5th and Kalamath Streets. Where we will have our annual Christmas party 2 RMSC Minutes October 13 th 2009 by Miles Bendixson (Photos by Charles Stoyer) President Bruce Harbison called the meeting to order at 7:05 P.M. Bruce Harbison informed the members present that the salvaged Sonett III parts from our project parts cars sold for a little over $390.00 during the recent SOC silent auction.<br><br> According to Auction Chairman, Tom Nelson, virtually all of the parts sold. SOCO9 Chairman Jerry Danner next introduced Paul Woodward, current president of the Alpine Rescue Team, and presented him a check for $1000 from the proceeds of the John Moss Charity Auction. Harry Led- yard a former member and RMSC member stood with him during the presentation.<br><br> Paul explained to the RMSC just what the Alpine Rescue team does for lost hunters, climbers, etc. It was indeed impressive what this organization does for people caught in these unfor- tunate situations. The John Moss Charity Auction is an auction that happens at the end of all SOC conventions with the host club picking the charity they want to be the beneficiaries.<br><br> RMSC chose The Alpine Rescue mission long before the convention took place in August. Miles Bendixson then spoke briefly about his new print, The Spirit of Saab, Saabs Run the Rockies and let the members know that it will be posted on www.thesaabsite.com by site owner Tim Sykes. There will be a limited edition print of 1000 and 50 artist proofs.<br><br> The new retail price will be $150.00 Artist Proofs will sell for $300.00. Miles also thanked the RMSC for the award given to him for designing and donating his work of art at the SOCO9. Bruce Harbison got on to the next RMSC business of electing new officers.<br><br> The officers that were up for elec- tion were Trevor Johnson, Bob Buck, Jerry Danner, Miles Bendixson and the late Paul Suit. Miles Bendixson declined reelection after serving 6 years in this position. Paul Suit passed away from Leukemia last summer.<br><br> Both these positions were open to any RMSC member who wanted to run for them. Trevor Johnson, Jerry Danner and Bob Buck all expressed interest in being reelected to the board again. After a short deliberation, the RMSC members chose Larry Beetham, Paul Bottone, Jim Beetham and Justin Costello as the new nominees; with Rich Hruda and Paul Callahan calling for nominations to cease.<br><br> After the RMSC cast their ballots, the elected candidates for the RMSC Board were Jerry Danner, Larry Beetham, Bob Buck, Paul Bottone and Justin Costello. Our representative for the CP of Colorado Show Karl Kingery took the floor and made a request to the RMSC for someone to take over his duties. He spoke briefly about what is involved in planning this show and where the meetings are held at and how often.<br><br> 3 RMSC Minutes October 13 th 2009 by Miles Bendixson (Photos by Charles Stoyer) - Continued Bruce Harbison then talked about a fellow RMSC mem- ber Clayton cBush d Quackenbush. He said Bush has given away most of his vintage Saabs due to hard times. He has a 73 Sonett III for sale to anyone that might be inter- ested from RMSC or otherwise.<br><br> He wants also to donate a 1970 Saab 96; plus some old Saab parts to RMSC. This car is similar to our project Laura car and in maybe a little worse condition than Laura was when we first obtained her. The new RMSC Board will have to decide what they want to do with this opportu- nity.<br><br> Special awards from the SCO9 were handed out by Paul Bottone and Bruce Harbison. Karl Kingery, Steve McCoy and Tracy Cochran received special awards for outstanding service performed at our SOCO9 and Jim Beetham received his award from the autocross event. Bruce Harbison handed out time sheets from the auto- cross to Laura Karstens and Jim Beetham.<br><br> Bruce Harbi- son and Paul Bottone, then presented Jerry Danner with a special award for outstanding service as the Chairman for the SOCO9. This award consisted of a framed photo taken by Dan Haugh of Jerry standing in the Copper Mountain square, on the last day of SOCO9 reflecting on the success of the event. He was congratulated by Paul, Bruce and the rest of the RMSC for a job well done!<br><br> Convention Chairman Jerry Danner then took the floor to talk about SO- CO9. He said it was a lot of work; but was very glad to do it. He told the club that SOCO9 was three years in the making and what a testament it was to all those who worked for so long over those years to make it happen.<br><br> According to Jerry we had 298 people register for the event over the website; plus 13 who signed up for full registration at the registration booth. We had 41 day-trippers sign up and 35 cars and 60 people sign up for the Saabs Run the Rockies Tour . Most things went very well at the reg- istration booth according to Gayle Myers-Harbison, who took over from Cayle Shovan early this summer.<br><br> We had in excess of $52,000.00 in expenses paid to Copper Mountain (CM) for food, internet, etc. CM forgave a bar expenses bill in excess of $600.00 due to how happy they were with RMSC and the publicity it gave them for the event. Bruce Harbison and Jerry Danner had per- suaded the staff at CM into letting us display the Peo- ple 9s Choice competition cars on the grass near the con- vention tent.<br><br> We were, perhaps, the first car club to be allowed to do that. All were in agreement, that it didn't hurt the grass and it provided Copper Mountain Resort some very good publicity. They worked with us and we worked with them and it turned out to be a great symbi- otic relationship according to Danner.<br><br> With Saab being in a state of flux all year long and not really being settled yet with its new owner, Koenigsegg, we had to rely on key people from Saab Cars USA to help us out. They (Continued from page 2) (Continued on page 4) 4 RMSC Minutes October 13 th 2009 by Miles Bendixson (Photos by Charles Stoyer) - Continued sent out 2 semi loads of Saab parts for our convention this year. Nicole Jankowski and Steve Cherry arranged for five restored vintage Saab cars from the GM Heritage Collection to be displayed; which turned out to be a real hit with conventioneers.<br><br> When all was said and done, we walked away from the convention having sold all the parts Saab sent to us ac- cording to Jerry. The auction events went very well ac- cording to Auction Chairman Tom Nelson. We sold 5 of the 12 cars signed up for the Main auction, all of the items in the Live Auction, Silent Auction and John Moss Charity Auction.<br><br> Jerry Danner said this was the first time a live car auction has ever been done at an SOC. The Saabs Run the Rockies Tour was a big hit ac- cording to Tour Director Rich Hruda; with many people drinking in the rich scenery of Colorado while driving those wonderful Saabs. The reverse steering car was enjoyed by all of those took part in driving this truly mys- terious beast, a brainchild of John Moss.<br><br> Bruce Harbison spoke briefly about the Rally. There were a total of 9 people that competed in the rally for three trophies and all but one sign was found during the course. According to Bruce and Rallyemaster Karl Anuta, it was a lot of fun for all those who participated.<br><br> Gayle Myers-Harbison also contributed greatly to this event. Closing comments by SOCO9 Chairman Jerry Danner went as follows. Due to the foresight and Planning of the RMSC; which was three years in the making, SOCO9 was a huge success!<br><br> The brilliant website design by Ryan Kapple of Mile High made things go exceptionally smooth; plus all the hard work by RMSC members to make this event happen made SOCO9 greater than the sum of its parts. Those who attended SOCO9 had rave reviews about the con- vention and some of them even said it was the best one they had ever been to! The RMSC Board is planning to have a special celebration in the middle of November, due to the success of SOCO9.<br><br> RMSC members can ex- pect to be informed of this event via email sometime in the near future. President Bruce Harbison brought the RMSC meeting to a close at 9:05 P.M. Willfully Submitted, Miles Bendixson RMSC Secretary 5 Garaj Mahal Series 3 A safe haven for Saab 9s by Jerry Danner (This is second of a series of Garaj 9s Mahal built by club members in Colorado.) What is your definition of a cGuy 9s Dream d?<br><br> Great mar- riage? Wonderful children?, Terrific family and friends? Fulfilling career?<br><br> Vacation? Skiing? Flying?<br><br> Motorcycle Riding? Sports? Having a wonderful woman being a part of your life?<br><br> Believe me, all of the above are true but there is one more element that is important to me. Men seem to have a different value of life than women. It is proven.<br><br> I recently received a list from my sweetheart, Linda, on what it takes to make a woman happy and what it takes to make a man happy. The list of what it takes to make a woman happy had 65 items and the list on what it takes to make a man happy only had two items, show up naked and bring alcohol. A man 9s life seems so simple we do not understand why we are the target of criticism.<br><br> I was handed a responsibility in 2002. It was to make deci- sions by myself instead of as part of a team. From that time on, my decisions were swayed in a certain direction, however, I feel was, in my humble opinion, correct.<br><br> All of the above items are very important to me but there is one element of life that most guy 9s need, and I know I am not alone. That item is a garage. Not a small one but a huge one that allows us to have our freedom.<br><br> Power tools, welders, stereo, TV, heated, lathe, compressors!!! Tim Taylor 9s - Tool Time is my favorite TV program. Guy 9s, you know what I mean!!<br><br> Women need cubbies and closets for their shoes, clothes and a huge bath tub to take a wonder- ful bubble bath with candles illuminating and a book being read while bathing. Give us space to explore our man hood, a GARAGE!!. A garage that is bigger than his home!!<br><br> You bet. I need space to store my Saab 9s. I moved to Wheat Ridge, Colorado in late 2004.<br><br> I pur- chased a 750 sq foot home on a half acre with a lean-to car cover on the side with a storage shed that was just about to fall down. For some reason, my style is purchas- ing anything old, run down, beat up, free, and spend a whole lot of time getting back up to average. We all have experienced this.<br><br> We buy something at a better than good value, spend a whole lot of time modifying it and we have something really nice. We are over budget by 150%. We could have moved into something just as nice for a whole lot less, however that goes against the grain of our char- acter as a guy.<br><br> I looked at this project with grandeur. After a short period of time, I had the ultimate guy 9s dream. I had a 2,100 sq 9 garage with a 750 sq 9 home.<br><br> Just perfect!! I designed the remodel in three phases. Phase I was to add a 1,100 sq 9 attached garage to the existing home to place all the items from the house under storage while I remodeled the existing home.<br><br> Phase II was to add a detached 1,000 sq 9 garage at the rear of the property. Phase III was to add a 1,100 sq 9 addition for the kitchen/ living room and to create a great entertainment room. Phase I garage was a 1,100 sq 9 attached, two partitioned garage rooms.<br><br> The front half is a two car garage. I sepa- rated the two halves by a 7 9 X 12 9 garage door. The front half has 9 9 ceilings and the rear floor drops down 2 9 to make a 11 9 ceiling in the rear.<br><br> Both halves of this garage are heated, fully insulated, lighted. Rear half has 220V, 80A electrical power, stereo, TV, welders, lathe, car lift, compressor and all the tools you can possibly use. The only thing missing is a keg-erator.<br><br> The rear half of this ga- rage is the primary hobby/work area. The ideal thing about this garage is it is attached to the main home. When the weather is bad, you do not have to walk out in the weather to access the workshop area.<br><br> 6 Garaj Mahal Series 3 A safe haven for Saab 9s by Jerry Danner - Continued Phase II garage was a detached 1,000 sq 9 garage. I di- vided this 66/33. The larger side has 10 9 ceilings with the smaller side having 9 9 ceilings.<br><br> It is fully insulated, dry walled, 220A, 80A underground service. I purposely di- vided this garage 66/33to create a dirty room and a clean room. For all of us who have fired up a table saw in the garage, you know it contaminates the whole ga- rage with dust.<br><br> This way I can close the door between the two sides to keep the larger side clean. If I want to sand a car, spray, cut wood, I do not have to spend an hour blowing out the entire garage. With the unbalance garage to house ratio, I was having a hard time finding a lady who would fit in to a 750 sq 9 house with a fully stocked 2,100 sq 9 garage.<br><br> The kind I was finding drove Harley 9s, had many tattoos, very few had father figures and had both pupils in one eye. Not the kind of lady I was looking for. Phase III solved my dilemma.<br><br> I added a 1,100 sq 9, no partitioned, fully equipped kitchen / living room, fireplace, Changed the existing house to a 2 & 1/2baths, two bed- room New addition has a full basement with 10 9 ceilings both up and down. It is a ideal room to entertain as I can get twenty+ people in for dinner and not feel crowded. Linda, my sweetheart, has truly benefited by phase III more than Phase I & II.<br><br> For those who know me know I have a passion for Saab 9s. I currently have 7 Saab 9s at my personal resi- dence with the area to store two more. I have a 960-96, 964 Bull Nose, 967 96 (my show car), 973 Sonett III, 973 96, 994 900 Classic CV & a 2000 9-5.<br><br> The 960-96 and the 973-96 are stored out- side behind my ga- rage leaving me two more empty spaces to fill up with Saab 9s. At the time of this writing, I secured one parking space by pur- chasing a 967 Sonett V-4. This is just at my personal residence.<br><br> At my business I per- sonally have 4 more Saabs stored there. 966-Sonett II (2 stroke #79), c63-GT 850, 973 96 (all original) and a 973-95 Wagon, not to mention the 125+ Saab 9s I have at my business. The front porch of my home has my family crest placed on the peak.<br><br> It is a Hood Badge from the hood of a 9-5 with the Saab Scania. I fly it proudly! It 9s all about the garage!!<br><br> Life is good! 7 Photos from SOC09 by Greg Russell Dan Bollschweiller's Sonett dragster, with its turbo- charged/ intercooled I-4 driving huge slicks at the rear, is a sight to behold when it's sitting still, flip-up hood open for inspection, as it was at the 2009 SAAB Owners Con- vention in Copper Mountain - It was present at the 1999 Keystone convention as well. But seeing it blast down the track at Bandimere drag strip in Morrison, Colorado, or any of the other tracks it frequents, blowing the com- petition away (when it isn't blowing up intercoolers!) is the way to observe this vehicle and the genius of Dan's creative mind.<br><br> Dan has also converted a 900 Turbo to a rear wheel drive racer, transplanting the entire front drivetrain to the rear hatch, another feat of ingenious mechanical creativity, although he's had better luck with the RWD Sonett when it comes to competition. Having been a SAAB enthusiast for more than a quarter century, and being familiar with its history, I was awe- struck Friday morning at the 2009 SOC when on my way to Starbucks I caught a glimpse of an original Son- 8 Photos from SOC09 by Greg Russell - continued ett I sitting serenely on the grass at the center of the re- sort, and immediately it became the center of my atten- tion, and universe - I forgot I was on my way to get cof- fee, which is a big deal for me in the morning. Having owned both a Sonett II and III, and knowing intimately of the six originals from 1956 through photos and stories in books, I was a fan who thought I would never have the opportunity to see one of these svelte Swedish beasts live and in "person" - short of traveling to a museum in some far-off land.<br><br> I spent some time lost in the intrica- cies of this cutie, and as I started to go get that coffee I was desperately craving, I turned around and saw the 92 that the SAAB Heritage Collection had also brought to Copper Mountain! This was another SAAB I'd never seen in "person" before, and not sure I ever would. The coffee would have to wait a little bit longer.<br><br> Upon fi- nally retrieving that sought-after cup of joe, it was sump- tuous by the way, I heard the rasp of a stroker off in the distance. When I squinted to see what vehicle was pro- ducing that fab sound, I could hardly believe my eyes . .<br><br> . it was another one of the six original Sonetts . .<br><br> . What were the chances? 9 Saab Motorcars: RIP?<br><br> by Charles Stoyer ( As I write this, there are last-ditch efforts to save Saab, but no one knows what will really happen ). Well, the news is out. All attempts by GM to sell Saab seem to have failed, mostly it seems due to the lack of availability of financial backing from the EU and/or guaran- tees from the Swedish government.<br><br> So, it seems that Saab will die a peaceful death. At the age of 62, which is my age exactly. Unless& we are still hoping...<br><br> If so, what does this mean for us? We all started being loyal Saab fans for probably many of the same reasons: practicality, form following function, performance, handling and durability. Stories abound.<br><br> A woman in France who had the choice of driving a Cadillac or a Saab. She chose the Saab when it snowed. Remember, back in the sixties, there was a sig- nificant difference between comfort and amenities in the two cars, but the Saab (probably a 2-stroke) would go where she steered it.<br><br> That to her was a big plus. My first experience with Saab was a fellow high school student who had one. I never knew him but I heard the car as he left school one or two times.<br><br> Sounded like a model airplane engine! Well, it was an overgrown model airplane engine 4remember, at least in the sixties and maybe still today, model airplane engines were 2-stroke diesels! I was 19 and wanted a sports car, with $500 to spend.<br><br> I would buy $500 worth of trouble, I was told (probably right). A salesman suggested a Saab. Thinking back to the model airplane engine thing, I laughed at him.<br><br> He took me for a test drive in a 1967 V4, one of the first. He explained all the virtues of front wheel drive, handling (one of my desired points), going in snow, and that the inside rear wheel would have to come off the ground 18 inches before the car would roll. And then, there was the roll cage.<br><br> After he let me drive and I made a right-angle turn on spalls at 45 mph, I was sold. I think he was a bit scared. Long story short, he didn 9t have one available and I ended up buying a DKW, but a year later bought my first Saab, a 1959 93B.<br><br> A few months later, we purchased a brand new 1969 DeLuxe (which now resides at Bruce Harbison 9s house). We drove Saabs exclusively from 1969 through 1996. Most of these were V4 9s until 1994, when we bought two 900 Turbos, almost a year apart (January and December).<br><br> After acquiring the second 900T, I knew the V4 9s were history as far as we were concerned. The last one, a 71 Sonett with the performance kit, went to England in Au- gust 1998. When Saab decided in the late sixties to go to higher end cars, abandoning the VW Bug class and moving upscale, I was disappointed.<br><br> I felt a bit as if I were left out. But by the time the mid nineties rolled around, I had caught up with that market and grew rapidly to appreciate the up-market cars. My fairly short experience with the 9000 series was a total disaster, but I blame that more on the lack of care of the previous owner than on the car itself, plus the mileage and age.<br><br> We have now moved to 9-5 9s and, although the 9000 was probably faster, I really like the 9-5 9s, especially the Aeros. Of course we still love our 93 900T ragtop ( cCV d) but it is mostly a summer car. I should mention that our end with the exclusively Saab thing was not due to moving on to different but similar cars.<br><br> We needed an off-road vehicle and purchased our first Jeep Cherokee in 1996, second in 1998. We have since upgraded those to a newer Cherokee and a Dodge TD pickup. When you need off-road or 4WD capability, or when you need to haul or drag something really heavy, you can 9t beat these two vehicles.<br><br> On other occasions (most occasions, that is) we drive one of the Saabs. I think Americans first liked Saabs due to the snow han- dling of the cars. Front wheel drive with skinny tires and small cars was wonderful as long as the snow didn 9t get super deep.<br><br> American cars back in the fifties through the seventies were rear wheel drive with heavy engines in front and not much weight in back. A disaster in snow, especially muscle cars like the Pontiac GTO, Camaro, Mustang, and so on. But nowadays, most cars are front wheel drive and tires aren 9t skinny anymore.<br><br> Also, 4WD or AWD (there is a difference) cars are fairly common, afford- able, and, unlike the 4WD cars of bygone days, they are luxurious and comfortable. So, Saab lost its edge there. Still, Saab was always a practical car and had amenities that were unique to the brand.<br><br> A friend of an acquaintance said cThe Saab 9000 was the only car in which he would feel comfortable going 100 mph with a refrigerator in the back d. A story in Nines tells of a fellow buying a couch and the seller asking if he would come back with his truck. When the couch fit in the Saab and he closed the hatch, he wasn 9t laughing anymore.<br><br> So where did Saab go wrong? They weren 9t profitable for some time and that 9s why they are going away (Saturn is going away too, but I am wondering why). One recent comment was that their Borg-Warner automatic transmis- sion was trash.<br><br> Of course, that wasn 9t important in the six- ties, when cars like Saab weren 9t expected to have auto- matics. As time went on, however, automatics became more prominent and some markets and some people want and like them. I am told that 80% of 900 9s had manual and 10 Saab Motorcars: RIP?<br><br> by Charles Stoyer - continued only 20% were automatic. In the 9000, that was re- versed, which is why it is so difficult to find a manual (my wife grew up in England and doesn 9t know how to drive automatics). We all have our reasons for liking Saabs, but I think some of them are going away as other cars implement safety features and other amenities that used to be unique to Saab.<br><br> My own reasons have changed over the years. Right now, Saab is one of the few luxury cars you can get with a turbo and manual transmission. Turbo, because at high elevation as we have here in Colorado, your 300 HP normally aspirated car has 200 HP at the Eisenhower Tunnel, which is at 11,000 feet.<br><br> Because of the steep hill there, this is where you need that power the most. Manual transmission because I like to be in control. There is still a segment of the population that desires the manual transmission, especially in snow country.<br><br> I know the automatics have become better and more functional over the years, but I still don 9t like them and probably never will. Your mileage will, of course, vary on this. So where do we 4individual owners 4and the Saab Clubs 4SCNA, RMSC 4go from here?<br><br> Where do the Saab only repair shops go from here. OK, OK, there is talk about maybe someone, someone, might somehow buy Saab or pick up the engineering that has already been done and paid for by GM and continue the brand but it is looking pretty darn grim at the moment. Mile Hi Body Shop in Denver, an exclusively Saab shop since 1969, announced this summer they would service other brands.<br><br> I though it was the recession. Maybe they saw the handwriting on the wall 4that expansion to other brands would be soon necessary. There are Saab-only shops that specialize in classic cars.<br><br> Jack Ashcraft in Oregon, Tom Donney in Iowa and Chip Lamb in Virginia are examples. But, if the rest of the Saab-only shops across the country don 9t diversify, they will end up being classic shops. And classic cars are not typically used as daily drivers.<br><br> OK, this is not urgent. Saab-only repair shops will con- tinue to service the many recent Saabs in existence, which are used as daily drivers. But as the cars age, they will need to be replaced and Saab will no longer be feeding our food chain from the top.<br><br> In the end, Saabs will be like Henry J 9s, Willys, Cords, Duisenberg's, Pack- ards, and so many other cars like them Even Stanley Steamers! And that brings me to the Saab Clubs. We will be in the same boat, only maybe not as bad.<br><br> The RMSC and SCNA have a large contingent of members who own and drive modern, even new, even brand new Saabs. Some of these members have classics to some degree as well. Of course, others have only classics, and will be affected to a lesser degree.<br><br> Those who own strictly classics will hardly notice because Saab sold all their 2-stroke stuff in the early seventies, and stopped supporting V4 9s a while back. I am not sure where they are cat d with the classic 900-s, but I am sure they were in line to be dropped from support if they hadn 9t been already. The Saab clubs that are now multi-lingual in the sense that the membership own both modern and classic cars will eventually evolve to clubs whose members own only classic Saabs, or they will go the way of the dinosaurs.<br><br> Unless they become diversified? The Saab-Audi Club of North America? Probably not.<br><br> Finally, were do we go for new cars? The choices are a log broader than they were 30, 40 or 50 years ago. To some extent, this will depend on your specific needs and what you found desirable in a Saab.<br><br> My first car was a DKW (which became the Audi) and Audi 9s were quite the thing in the early 70 9s as well. I hear they are expensive to maintain and to buy. They do come with manual trans- missions and turbos.<br><br> Maybe I will go there one day. Su- barus do come with turbos but it seems they blow head gaskets, which are expensive to replace. Not sure about BMW 9s, but I know they started getting big on automatics in the nineties.<br><br> Volvo, that other Swedish car that no longer looks like the box it came in, does also have man- ual transmissions and turbos, but they don 9t come to- gether. VW 9s can still be had with manuals, and they do come with a turbo diesel, which might be attractive. Of course, if you or your wife like automatics, this is not a consideration for you.<br><br> And, American cars have come a ways and have also become more international, where the same car sold in Europe is also sold here, with some differences. Most notable of these is suspension, which is softer here and better for handling there, which is probably another thing we Saab owners are looking for. I really like the way the Saab 9-5 handles, both the base and the Aero version.<br><br> SUV.s, while they have a purpose, are not a replace- ment for the Saabs we love. Maybe I have asked more questions than I answered, but if Saab is really going away as a new car and parts supplier we will need to find a new source of the latter in the short term and the former in the long term. 11 Photos from 2009 Saab Club Rockies Tour by Karl Kingery Silverton at dawn with the Animas river in the fore- ground Here comes the train from Durango Interesting Old Snow mobile made from a Model T Ford at the Silverton Visitors Center Trestle from St Elmo to Hancock All that's left of Hancock, near the Alpine tunnel Dawn at a hotel in Silverton The Matchless mine was the mine that Baby Doe Tabor died in.<br><br> The tale goes that Horace Tabor, who came to Leadville in the late 1870 9s grubstaked some miners, one of whom founded the Matchless mine, which turned out to be a very rich mine. 12 Photos from 2009 Saab Club Rockies Tour by Karl Kingery View from Silverton, looking up the Animas River canyon Down the road to St. Elmo from Hancock Powder magazine at the Matchless Town of St Elmo Mine shaft and rigging at the Matchless Mine When Silver died out, in 1893, I think, he got ill, and told Baby Doe, his 2nd wife c...to hold on to the Matchless. d She did, to the bitter end, in 1935, liv- ing in the shaft house of the mine.<br><br> Horace A. W. Tabor had owned other mines as well, and became the mayor of Leadville in 1878.<br><br> He built the Opera house and a hotel He was also elected Lt. Governor of Colorado, and later Senator. He died in 1899.<br><br> A good book to read about the old ghost towns of Colorado is cStampede to timberline d by Muriel Sibell Wolle (Copyright 1947). I 9m sure that there are plenty more later books on that subject. 13 TBA by tba TBA by tba<br><br>