In response to the recent news about Saab’s bankruptcy, I am moved, at once, with both anger and sadness. Saab: the unique little car company that started out making airplanes began its journey in June of 1947 making cute little “jelly bean shaped” cars that didn’t appeal to the masses, but were recognizable to anyone. In high school, I loved at Saabs and thought they had “character”. I wanted one in black with all the bells and whistles. I finally got my wish….alas, a beautiful black Saab at the end of the family tree. (just BEFORE the takeover) If I do simple math, Saab has been around for 72 years as a company. But Saab did not die at 72, it died at 51.
I was on a train in Chicago when I heard the news of Michael Jackson’s death. I was sitting at home watching the news when Patrick Swayze’s face and timeline rolled across the screen. I still have OxiClean in my pantry that I bought before Billy Mays left us. The deaths of Joe Strummer and fellow Chi-town native, Bernie Mac were equally shocking. They were especially scary for me because it just seemed that every man was dying at 50. I was soon to be 40 – “Oh No!” As I digress, I wonder if Saab actually passed away in 2000, when General Motors who, itself, was on life support fully acquired the Swedish automaker. Boring design, plain interiors, lack of character, non-competitive performance and pricing seemed to make GM’s ownership of Saab a sort of “Weekend at Bernie’s” type of deal. They were parading a dead car company around, trying to make us think it was viable.
I hate to see Saab die. More so, I am angry with GM for taking it in the first place, seemingly with every intention of marrying-then-burying the marque. If they didn’t know what to do with it, they should have left it alone instead of making it a cookie cutter bottom-line car. After 72 years, 51 on its own and 21 on life support, and even with the community of Saab owners who keep the marque visible, I still see my own mortality in Saab. The good ones always die at 50.
Have any Saab stories? Own a Saab? What was your favorite Saab? Leave a comment and let us know!