Road Trip Outtakes: Where Old Saab Come To Die; Or Live, in Some Cases

My younger son and I took a road trip in the van last week, which took us out to Eastern Oregon, then north through Central Washington along the eastern side of the Cascades, across the Northern Cascades (Hwy 20), to the Puget Sound, Whidbey Island, Port Townsend, down the Eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula, and then back home via Olympia. The rivers were running strong, the wild grasses on the hills were as intensely green, the mountains were spectacular and the weather perfect.

And I even spotted some old cars, like this collection of Saabs, near Peshastin, WA. I pulled over and had a look. Just about every generation was to be seen, most not in very good shape. But they look happy here, in the old Saab rest home.

First stop was this fenced corral where there was a wide variety of Trollhatten’s finest.

What particularly intrigued me were two 99s, a model that has become essentially extinct on the streets.

Here’s one with the hood open, giving us a chance to look at its Triumph-based engine.

The 99 was quite a big deal when it arrived, the first new Saab since the original 92. The early version had engines actually built by Triumph, essentially half of a Stag V8. Starting in 1972, Saab built its own engines, a development of the Triumph design. This is one of the later ones.

The other on e is an EMS, which was the first overtly sporty 99, and a precursor to the legendary 99 Turbo. I’m not sure that the US version actually had more power than the regular 99, due to emission certification, but it did come with these fine alloys, a sportier suspension, this copper-metallic paint option, and a nicer interior.

That nicer interior is a bit less nice now, but once upon a time, this was a terrific place to sit and drive.

There wire also some newer GM-Saabs, and in the background is an old 96.

It’s a bit worse for wear, although not beyond possible redemption.

The hood was open just enough to get a peak at its raucous little Ford V4.

There was another 96 in the shed, and a couple of 900s outside.

And a Saab bus even.

Another 900.

A pretty messed-up 96 that was just a shell actually.

But the gem was this 95 wagon.

Very sweet. There used to be one in my neighborhood; I wrote it up here.

The column mounted shifter for the four speed had a reputation for being surprisingly direct and quick. Even the sports car Sonnet used that same column shifter.

This was an unexpected surprise, although not really, as rural folks with enough property often have a collection of old cars. but old Saabs? Well, this is Washington.