Wow, thanks a lot everyone. Just got back from vacation and to come home to this = awesome!
It means a lot to me to be voted the first ever Saab Of The Month winner. Thanks to everyone who voted for me, and those who didn't I can't blame you. There are some super nice cars on this site (Palmer's Miata, etc) and many I wouldn't be bothered to lose to.
I am so grateful to win this as I've only met a select few of you in person... to me that says a lot. I didn't win because I'm your buddy IRL, but because you actually like my car and the work I've done. I think that's really cool and much thanks to everybody on this site.
As for the car, next month will mark 10 years of ownership! And although the M3 has been getting most of my time/money/attention lately, I have big plans for 2012 and the car's 10th year in my hands. I've always tried to keep a balance of "show & go" and hopefully my work in the near future will complete that. Thanks again everybody and stay tuned to my project thread for future updates.
How long have you owned this car?
-Going on 10 years! Purchased in August 2001.
Is there anything unique about the history of this car?
-The only thing "unique" about its history is that back in 1987, with only 4,000 miles the car was in a significant front and rear end collision. Since it was a brand-new car it was repaired, but in any other situation it would have (should have?) been totalled. I spent much of the first year of ownership redoing some of the old repairs which were starting to age.
-This car was originally ordered with an Airflow kit. After the collision the front and rear bumpers were replaced with standard 900t bumpers & extensions. Unbeknownst to me until I went to install the airflow kit I sourced, and found all the mounting holes already drilled!
To date I have replaced every removable body panel on the car except for the doors. That's right, even the weld-in fenders!
Why did you choose this car to purchase?
-Once I decided I wanted a 900, I had two requirements: 5-speed, and Turbo. I wanted an SPG but knew it probably wasn't feasible as price-wise they were commanding $5,000+ in the early 2000s. My budget was around $2000. I found this car in the Seattle newspaper classifieds (LOL) and went to see it. Immediately I knew it wasn't your typical 900 turbo as it had the 8-spoke Shelby wheels and an SPG kit. I would later come to find out it only had the 6 center panels because it was originally an airflow car (as said above).
The interior was trashed, but the motor ran well and it shifted pretty smooth. Edwardian Grey clearcoat was peeling and the top didn't work. Guy knocked off $500 because of the inop roof, and I bought it that day for $2200. Got it home and filled up the hydraulic reservoir, voila working convertible top! ;-)
What other cars did you consider?
-As said my budget was around $2000 so I was looking at the MK2 GTI also. But stock for stock the 900t had more power!
What was your objective with this car?
-Initially the objective was to have a nice convertible daily driver. Then the objective shifted to all-out power hungry whp-slinging moster, then to what I'd now describe as a fair-weather cruiser and self-proclaimed dyno queen.
What tuning style would you describe this car as?
-No idea. Maybe, understated? I tried to keep a monochromatic color scheme wherever I could (no Raul Red in the engine bay) and the grey with colormatched wheels sort of follows that.
Who helped you build this car?
-My dad. He taught me everything I know about working on cars. From him I have learned to wrench, weld, paint, upholster, fabricate, etc. Without him I'd be driving a beige four door Toyota!
What makes your car special?
-It's got a little of everything. It has the rare Saab accessories, the horsepower, and its still clean looking. Its modified enough for the freaks to like it, and OEM+ enough for the purists to still tolerate it.
What is your favorite part/feature/function?
-Can I have two? Type 8 primaries and Quaife LSD. Without these the car would be undriveable. Runner up is the distributorless igniton, made the car so much smoother!
Who or what inspired the direction of modifications on this car?
-There have been many guys that inspired my mods but I have to say, the one who really made an impact early on was Taylor Welden and his Talladega Red SPG. We were starting out around the same time on SaabNet and going through some of those same initial mods together - redbox APC modifications, FPR upgrade, BPC mod, vac advance mod, etc. I didn't have nearly the budget he had at the time so as his car skyrocketed in terms of mods, mine pretty much stayed the same until I finished school.
-Also: Gary Moore, Todd Campisano, Jeff Proposki, Dennis Lin, Vince Tong, Steve Bunton, Dave Kennedy, Eric Van Spelde, Jim Miller, Mike & Eric Heyse, Keith Grider, Jeff & Royce and many many more.
What don't you like about this car?
-FWD. I have toyed with the idea of a drivetrain conversion more times than I care to remember. I have the tools, the ability, and the money, but I'll never do it. It's not worth the effort, I'd rather swap a Saab engine into a RWD car.
What was your biggest obstacle in building this car?
-Funny how things have changed in 10 years. Initially, I had all the time in the world but was flat-broke. Short on money but long on time... now the reverse is true. I don't have nearly as much time to DIY things now with a full-time career and hot wife who frequently needs servicing, so I am more likely to farm things out such as paint, bodywork and upholstery. Mechanical work I will always do myself as the car is too far modified for any shop to work on without hours and hours of understanding what has changed from a standard 900t.
How did you overcome the issue?
-I haven't. Finding time to work on my cars is tough, and even tougher now that I'm split between two rolling projects (this and the M3).
What would you change if you could?
-Hindsight is 20/20, right? I would definitely change the amount of money I've spent on the car. I won't reveal how much (it will make you laugh, makes me cry) but it's in New Viggen territory.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the outcome of this project?
-8. It will be a 9 with my upgrades planned for 2012, also I'm bored of the wheels. It'll never be a 10.
What would you do to the car if money were no object?
-AWD conversion and a Mike D tune.
Who has been your biggest critic of this project?
-Saabeh. Just kidding, definitely myself. I am always nervous about hating every new change I make. I have spent hours and hours in photoshop trying out mods.
What do your family and friends say about this car?
-"Grow up, IJ."
What is your most memorable/humorous/embarrassing moment with this car?
-Memorable? Getting the confirmation call that I would be featured in a magazine. Humorous? The number of transmissions I have replaced. Embarassing? When I crunched the front-end in 2004. Oh, and the ADR wheels.
Has this car competed in any events? Results?
-2nd place in the 2009 Swedish Cruise-In, Issaquah WA. 1st place FWD at the NWQuattro Dyno Day.
What is your favorite place to drive this car?
What is your ideal day with this car?
-Top down, sunny day, driving out to Pt Defiance park and doing the Five Mile Drive.
Who gets to drive this car?
-Me, pretty much. My father used to drive it when I was away at college, but now only if I need to do some tuning. My wife has driven it one time.
If you had to name your car, what would you name it?
-The Grey Ghost. Why? Because 1) It's grey, and 2) I crashed it in 2004 and thought it was dead. We brought it back to life, hence the "ghost" part.
What was your previous project?
-Nothing. I bought this car when I was 17.
What is your next project?
-This along with my M3 are my two projects for now. Next? Probably an aircooled 911.
What one word best describes your car?
Anything else you'd like to share?
-Thanks to everybody from SaabNet, SaabCentral and TSL who has every helped me or inspired me!