We all have an ethic of car ownership. Some of us have ethics that are more consciously held than others. Let's compare and contrast: the Scandanavian car ethic vs. for example the early German ethic as seen in the famous Volkwagen "beetles."
Volkwagen--- "The People's Car." Loud, noisy, low-tech, cheap, not built to last, weird, ugly, cramped, uncomfortable, poor heating and cooling, not sporty, not fun, pure utility, cousin to the Yugo!
Saab Ethic: a family car that does it all for a family for many years. With a Saab, you don't need to own two or three vehicles---Durable, safe, well-built, comfortable, sporty, sensible, multi-purpose, Saab might be seen as the original "Sport-Utility" vehicle. The first truly perfected exemplar of the Saab ethic was probably the 9000 series, in particular the wagonback versions. These had U.S. releases in 1985/86.
Picture note: Rod Beckner's full phone number is 541-327-1133, in Jefferson, Oregon. Picture below: Rod and Russ J. discuss a Saab head they've just pulled from the "Boneyard" (pictures further down this page)
Skip to listing of Oregon SAAB shops
Many of these OLDER Saab vehicles simply refuse to die, still providing their loving owners safe, fun, reliable companionship as the vehicles exceed 20 years in age..... Take for instance the current (officially-listed) high mileage leader in my own category as of 2013, which is Saab 9000s-- Bud Clark of Torrance, California, has driven his 1987 Saab 9000 Turbo the equivalent of 25 times around the World (he's got 614,000 miles on it at last count) ...BUT right here in Oregon there's Model 900 Saab with even higher mileage--- it's a dull green 1979 Saab 900 EMS; I viewed it myself a few months ago (Nov. 2013)... It's is owned by one of the sales staff at Gary (Garry) Small Saab in East Portland (his name is Bill Holbert (Bill Hulbert) of Camas, WA), Bill's old 900, which he bought new in 1980 (a 1979 1/2 model), has well over 650,000 miles (he tells me its speedometer was broken for a few years, but recently he got it fixed and the car is officially racking up the miles againI))....Also in the same part of Oregon is John Collins, a friend of Rod Beckner's. John's 1975 Model 99 was officially listed with 460,000 miles as of February 2005, which placed it only a little behind the highest listed Saab in the pre-900/9000 category. As of 2011, John told me via showing me, that his faithful '75 is now parked forever in "The Boneyard" see picture below).......By the way, the very highest mileage Saab in any category was reported in April 2016 to have 910,000 miles, nearly ONE MILLION MILES...It's Peter Gilbert's 1989 Saab 900 SPG model residing in Wisconsin, USA.....Also of note in the Saab Sonett category, is Sandy Schaneman's 1973 Sonett III in Torrance CA with 482,000 miles as of July 2016..Please click for a link to an official honor roll of very high mileage Saabs worldwide
Here is a Saab owner's story about the Saab Ethic, gleaned from her two years' of residence in Finland in the 1980s.... It casts the Saab ethic squarely into the Scandanavian culture of its origin: "There is a Saab auto plant in Finland, not so far from where I lived in Helsinki. Saabs were the most common vehicle on the road. What amazed me was how most families scrimped and saved to own a single vehicle, which was then assumed to last for at least 15-20 years. The whole infrastructure seemed to be in acccord with this ethic.. To own a very old Saab was not seen as a disgrace, and finding parts and service even for quite old Saabs was never an issue." Quiz about the picture from Rod's wrecking yard: who can pick out the Saab Sonnett sports car model?.... Picture below: taken in the Saab 99 section of Rod Beckner's Saab wrecking yard; there's even a Sonnett sports model stashed away in there, see if you can find it!
Question: Sure it was nice to own a newly-near Saab, and great to have it serviced at the American Saab Dealers, who "Consumer Reports" stated had the highest overall customer satisfaction rating of any new car line in America.......But who are the unsung heroes who still labor each day to keep those older Saabs running? Who are the people behind the scenes collecting worn out Saabs so that their expensive parts can be recycled so that the Saab Ethic can be maintained: safe, sporty family car that is affordable and will last for decades:
Here we note names that are current, and some that have become defunct: Scott Nelson in Philomath, Rod Beckner and John Collins in Jefferson (near Albany) (phone 541-327-1133), Rick Wolf in Eugene/Springfield, ph 541-726-0664 (Rick had a large Saab wrecking yard specializing in much older Saabs), and Jack Ashcraft and his son Mark in Medford, phone 541-779-0731, website http://www.jackashcraft.com/ and email email@example.com .... Please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you know of others, and I will be happy to add them).... Rod Beckner maintains what is certainly the largest Saab-only wrecking yard in the State, if not the entire Northwest.
Listing of my Favorite Oregon Saab Shops (including routine oil and filter service shop):
SAAB OIL AND FILTER SERVICES and SAAB Hopping-UP. Of course, regular oil and filter changes are vital to keeping your older SAAB running well. Russ J., former Manager at the Tualatin Valvoline store is a longtime Saab owner and rebuilder. Update 2018: Russ is now working at the Gladstone Firestone Store, and still a big fan of Saab. In fact, he maintains a small website mainly about hopping-up older Saabs such as 9000s. www.acksolutions.weebly.com---- Russ can also do those troublesome SAAB gas filters for you!
PORTLAND AREA,: Travis Decker Atomic Auto on NE Sandy Blvd, Travis likes to work on classic Saab 900s and also newer Saabs. http://www.atomicauto.biz.... Of course, don't forget the longtime premier Saab Dealer, Garry Small SAAB, at www.saabstory.com, ph. 503.771.7222... Over the many years, I have enjoyed talking with both Gary himself and others of the parts and sales staff. As of early 2015, Garry still had a few new Saabs for sale and as of 2018 his service and parts departments are going strong...... Another Portland area resource is Garth Ankeny Trackside Motorsports, http://www.tracksideracetires.com--- Rally Saab 96s are a speciality with Garth... .. In case you are worried about parts, new SAAB parts are being made in Sweden, although I have heard that quality has been an issue at times...... The revival of the SAAB brand itself was attempted but appears as of 2018 to be not happening. Back in about 2012-2013, a consortium of Swedish, Japanese and Chinese buyers had manufactured 30 test cars based on a 9-3 body (made in Trollhatten, Sweden, of course, and designated the NEVS 3N). And in 2016 it looked certain that Saab was now Chinese and it was reported that they'd be making a Saab-branded electric vehicle.
CENTRAL OREGON: And if you live east of the Cascades, in Central Oregon, like in Bend or Redmond or Sunriver, you've had a great Saab resource in Bend for many years, beginning with Bud Landstrom, who I would bring my Saab to in the late 1970s. After I'd moved from Bend, Bud sold to a man named Pat about 1985, and Pat has had the shop ever since, still in the same building on the north end of the Bend downtown, same darn place as I used to visit so many years ago! Nowadays, it's named "Pat's Import Auto Clinic," and specializes in Saabs and Subarus, Pat Proctor, ph 541-389-1023 (it's still the same phone number that I called 30 years ago!)....
RESTORATION OF CLASSIC SAAB 96--- John Collins has a Saab shop right alongside Rod Beckner's where he excercises his speciality, the restoration of classic Saabs (see pictures of his Saab 96 restoration which took Second Place at the 2009 Saab Convention in Copper Mountain, Colorado.... if you've got an older Saab, please remember John Collins!....
Picture below: that's Rod surrounded by his Llamas in 2014 (and at other times, you'd be collecting parts in the boneyard, and his goats would come look inquiringly at you!