COAL Compare and Contrast: SAAB 900 and Jeep Grand Wagoneer – Dogs and Cats

(I will eventually write these vehicles up as their own COAL entries.  For now, a comparison)

My daily drivers are about as Yin and Yang as one can get for 1980’s iron.

The Wagoneer is American and masculine. It is the canine of automobiles. Like a dog, it is dumb, slobbery, and loyal. It pushes through the pavement like a well cushioned and leathery punching glove.

The SAAB, like a cat, is feminine, functional, feline, and a bit exotic. Like my cat, it is loving, playful, adventurous, temperamental, and a whole lot goofy.

Like dogs and cats, they are also just as alike as different. Both machines require grooming and veterinary care. The SAAB needs a trip to the vet for a new steering rack; it has morning sickness. Hopefully it isn’t pregnant; I can’t afford another SAAB.

The Jeep just received a new radiator; it was severly dehydrated.  Like my beagle, it recently had an emergency hernia operation. The u-joint on the front of the rear driveshaft decided it didn’t like to support its organ anymore, so the driveshaft took a violent exit toward the pavement.

Dogs and cats both belong to the order carnivora; the SAAB and Jeep also share evolutionary traits. They even share an order: oldvehicia. Both are rooted in 1960’s design. Dogs and cats are considered relatives mainly because they both have long sharp teeth. My vehicles were also pretty long in the tooth by time they were produced. The SAAB is a bit of a snob. It considers itself a purebreed, being the last car designed alone by SAAB. The Wagoneer is unabashedly a mutt. It is a Kaiser design, but the seatbelts and keys have AMC logos, and it was euthanized by Chrysler.

I am attracted to both vehicles because of their design, anachronistic idiosyncrasies, and peculiar ways. Like a dumb dog, the Jeep makes you learn how to lead it. I grew up in the age of fuel injection. To start the Jeep I have to follow a procedure. Turn the ignition to run, mash the gas once, and crank it ‘til fuel reaches the carb. To get my dog to relieve himself in the morning, I have to first give him a handful of food. Both Jeep and dog need to be primed.

The SAAB is proud if its logical design. The door sills are practically non-existent. I have never gotten my pant legs muddy while entering the SAAB. The dashboard controls are logical and ergonomic. My cat is also logical. He likes his morning meal, but fussing with the mashing of a gas pedal is not necessary. He prides himself on his intellect.

My vet and mechanic both have low rates, and are experienced with and willing to perform surgery on my dog and cat, Jeep and SAAB friends. Each pet, and each car, has its quirks, and I am happy to have them all in my company. Life would be too boring with only a dog or cat, Jeep or SAAB.