Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Draken Is Mine: 1978 Saab 99 EMS

If you've paid close attention to the posts on this site, you may have seen a failed attempt for this writer to pick up a classic Citroën DS wagon -- it didn't work out and I still harbor homicidal feelings towards the low down son-of-a-gun who bought that from under me...ANYWAY...I am still in the market for a low buck classic/funky driver to pick up for fun and this 1978 Saab EMS offered from a very reputable West LA Saab mechanic is going to be mine...ALL MINE.


As you are reading this post, I will be handing over my cold hard cash and picking up this well loved and used Saab 99 EMS.  The car has been owned, maintaned and mildly upgraded by local Saab mechanic Walter Wong of Right Solution Auto Repair who is a legend among Saab owners in these parts and originally worked on cars out of his home, (even doing house calls back in the day).  Walter purchased the car from its original owner about 15 years ago and has used it to haul a Saab trailer and drive all over the place.  This car was originally slated to be given to his eldest son, but the younger Wong wanted something newer with power steering and an automatic transmission, so Walter put this car for sale to find a new home.


Yesterday, CFlo & I took Draken on a test drive and poked around - it seems mechanically very solid, many of the parts have been upgraded to Saab 900 parts and the interior is in great shape.  The paint is original and thin/faded in spots, but has a nice patina that is best left alone.  It will need some attention (new steering wheel cover, hook up center console gauges, radio fix) but with any luck I will be the proud new owner of Draken, complete with blue personalized plates in a few minutes.  Will keep ya posted.

-Vince, DT Editor-in-Chief.

Update 2:30pm -- Yes, the Draken is mine.  DT's own Editor, Co-Founder and Serial Car Purchaser CFlo help me get Draken home around lunch time today.


Sorry about the iphone pics - full writeup with DSLR pics will be coming.


-Vince

25 comments:

  1. AWESOME!!!!! Congrats (hopefully) Vince! I was cooking up ways to con my neighbors out of yet another garage spot when I clicked on the CL link... then I read the rest of your post and saw you're probably sealing the deal right now as I type this.

    Unrelated - man how far did the apple fall from the tree on this one (Walter's son)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. heyyy... any tips on this "garage surfing" idea? i've got a need and salt fog season approaching

      and yeah, what is that kid's deal? reminds me of the scene from King Lear:

      Create her child of spleen; that it may live,
      And be a thwart disnatured torment to her!
      Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
      With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
      Turn all her mother's pains and benefits
      To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
      How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
      To have a thankless child! Away, away!


      and of course, the car is spleen colored!

      Delete
    2. re: garage surfing - I'll take a stab at what I think you're asking (not really sure?)

      Most of the folks in my building are alone, or single-car families (all w/2 car parking). I typically just approach them directly.

      A typical convo goes something like "howdy, I'm your neighbor... no not the creepy one with all of the cats... no not the one who blasts Depeche Mode at 3am on a Tuesd... er... disregard previous... anyways mind if I rent your spare parking spot for a few bucks a month? I don't need in/out or anything, just a spot to store a car for a bit." Both people I've asked said "just take it".

      For the record, both folks I asked were people who live on the side of the building opposite that which I typically disembark my newly-acquired crapcans from the back of a flatbed at midnight on a weekday. And they're also people I've helped on and off while I've lived in the complex (everything from holding doors up to and including helping them move a couch up 3 flights of stairs) so I'm not just some random dude with perfect hair and a winning smile asking them for a parking spot.

      YMMV, good luck.

      Delete
    3. yep, that's what i was asking - you've got a lot more empty parking spaces around you than i have, clearly - maybe if i look under a few rusty old porsches i'll find a barn

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    4. Around where I live it's seen as bad form to own more than one car per couple. And since not a damn one of my neighbors seemingly has any form of gainful employment (trust fund kids, UCLA students, retirees, former-trophy-wives-now-rich-divorcee's, lawyers, etc), they don't need to commute anywhere so they just get a Prius and or a coupe of fixed-gears and call it good. So yeah, garage spots are abundant out here. And I do what I can to fill them with smog-belching, immobile, out of tune, crapmobiles.

      Delete
    5. 87-octane wishes and dash-carpet dreams!

      Delete
    6. "And I do what I can to fill them with smog-belching, immobile, out of tune, crapmobiles."

      That's the spirit! You're living the DT dream. Keep reaching for the stars.

      Delete
  2. "Serial Car Purchaser"

    I will wear my new title with honor.

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  3. ~ Great score See Draaken run.

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  4. That is really good looking!
    I use to joke with a friend of mine who had the same year. I would ask him which end was the front.

    Any way of getting affordable mini light style wheels?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ronal made a panasport-esque style wheel for these back in the day.
      Check this site out (link isn't obnoxious, forgive me for disobeying Commandment #3): http://jpowell.tripod.com/saab-wheels/#minilite

      Delete
  5. The wheels on this car are second only to those on the Lamborghini Miura in coolness.

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  6. Awesome pick!! I sold these new in 1978 (yes, I'm that old). There are very few cars that are as multi-purpose as these. They are absolute tanks, and are great fun as track cars, snow plows, pick-up trucks, campers and economy cars all rolled into one quirky package. You've gotta love a company that hooks the e-brakes to the front wheels and lights up the front corner lights when you put them into reverse. Extremely comfortable on long drives and a blast to toss with total abandon on dirt roads or snow. Love the Vader wheels!

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  7. I love these. I passed on a carb'd 99 project once in my formative years. Body was nice, but the block was cracked. I might not have bought so many BMWs if I had started with a Saab. Who doesn't love ziggurat wheels?

    To paraphrase many others: Why'd they give the steering wheel to the driver and the pedals to the passenger?

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  8. So Vince... you... uh... going to fix that off-center trailer hitch, or just, you know, leave it as-is?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will probably remove the hitch for day to day driving, but Walter told me he put it offset towards the drivers side by about 4 inches so that he wouldn't hit stuff on the passenger side of the road. I think there are a lot of things on this car that could be fixed but are gonna be left, you know, as-is...!
      -Vince

      Delete
  9. Congrats Vince! Looking forward to the full write-up. Funny how excited you get when you take possession of a new car - even when it isn't a new car...

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    Replies
    1. for the record, i cannot see myself ever buying a new car again - perhaps i will do a left-handed spanner column about it - but not today - don't get me started!

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I agree. Why buy a modern with a big bunch of long term debt or lease payment when there are so many interesting crocks out there.

      Whenever I see a guy drive by in an expensive modern, I think of how many Alfetta GT's he could have bought with the same money...

      Delete
    3. Gianni, the problem with the guys driving by in their expensive modern cars, is that they're leasing them. Aside from a down payment which may have been enough for 1/2 of an Alfetta GT, his monthly payments are far less than the monthly repair bill on a 30+ year old Italian car.

      That said, I think Daily Turismo currency should be based on the Alfetta standard. Instead of a 2015 Fiesta ST being $25k, it should instead be counted as 5 Alfetta. A $100k Tesla Model S is 20 Alfetta, and so on.

      This is based on the assumption that a Daily Turismo-grade, used Alfetta GT will cost "around $5000" in perpetuity.

      Delete
    4. True on the lease, although this guy at work leased a new M3 and was looking to bail on the lease after 11 months. His monthly payment, $990 / mo!

      My friend and I have been using the Alfetta GT standard for years. Although our exchange rate is due for a revaluation, we use 1 Alfetta GT = $1,000.

      When I saw the message from the M3 guy, I thought, wow he could have been buying 1 Alfetta GT every month for the last 11 months... ;-)

      Delete
    5. Where is this magical land of $1000 Alfetta GT's of which you speak?

      Delete
    6. You can only get there in a DeLorean travelling at 88 mph...

      Delete
    7. You need 6 or 7 of today's Alfettae (latinate plural?) to get that DeLorean, though. I wonder what the E30 : Alfetta rate is? Would be interesting to graph that over time.

      Delete
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