On Saab

”That’s a 4 letter word I won’t touch.” –my (former) mechanic

10 years ago, the day I met my first Saab

We have our stereotypes: Architect, college professor, ex-hippie with money, graphic designer ✓, sexy motherfucker ✓ (I’m not going to argue with the internet), left-handed ✓.

Saabs are quirky, complicated, and fussy. It takes a special kind of person to love a Saab. The same could be said of their owners.

Why would anyone buy one over a nice reliable German car? I don’t have anything against the Germans, being made of mostly German parts myself, but it was their design spirit that made Saab popular with architects and graphic designers.

Everything was carefully thought through and even if the design decisions didn’t make sense to the driver, they made sense to someone –someone who spent a lot of time thinking about them. Like making buttons extra big so you could easily use them with gloves (gets cold in Sweden) or moving the key off of the steering column in an effort to reduce knee injuries in an accident. I was a huge fan of the Night Panel button that dimmed all the gauges except for the speedometer. Some ideas, like the cupholder that flipped out of the dashboard were just bonkers but somehow made the car more endearing.

It hurt to see the company fall apart, because they wanted to do good work they knew was right. Selling cars seemed secondary to good design. A commendable idea, but not a sustainable one.

Deep down, I think us Saab owners know we’re as quirky as our cars and that’s why we love them. Someone has to.