I've perhaps given a bit too much attention to my car on my blog. (Thanks to Google image links to my blog, I believe it is one of the most popular Saab 900 S's on the internet.) That's because I'm a car fanatic and I really love this car. It's a 1997 Saab 900 S with about 125,000 miles on it after ten years of ownership. I have been obsessed with Saabs like the one on the left since I was 10, when I began to appreciate the unique look and the underdog aspect of the car having great performance out a "mere" four cylinders. After seeing a 1996 version at the N. American International Auto Show in Detroit, and noticing not only the beautiful Scandinavian exterior design but the really cool interior with amazing plated, joystick controlled air vents, I decided I had to test drive one. I clearly remember the day I test drove a similar car and how this non-impulse shopper felt as though I just had to buy one. I remember how I struggled with the affordability factor for a person who had only started working three years earlier. My friend said to me on the phone "You're not gonna buy a Saab." It indeed was beyond my price range, but with the sweet lease deals at the time and a GM employee discount, I was able to make the transaction reasonably affordable. So I leased it and then as I lived with it, I began to love it, so I had to buy it when the lease ended. And it's been with me ever since.
There's something about the feel of this car that still puts a smile on my face every time I drive it. The engine vibrations are pleasant, most bumps reassure you of the solidity and handling of the car, the transmission shifts well and the fuel economy has always been way above the sticker ratings. It's by no means the best car in the world. It has always had a bit too much wind noise and the ride can be harsh, it has some cowl shake, and it rolls in turns, but I don't think I could ever give it up.
In the ten years I've owned the car, I have taken about 100 trips to Cleveland to see my family. I've driven it through 12 states and 2 provinces having taken it to cities like Chicago, New York, Baltimore, Toronto, and Philadelphia. The extremely comfortable seats, and 18 gallon fuel tank makes it a nice long distance cruiser. I once drove from Detroit to Montreal, (570 miles), in 8 ½ hours. That humongous hatchback has saved the day on many occasions allowing me to haul dressers, 32" TV's, chairs, multiple bikes at one time. It swallows cargo better than many SUV's. Keeping the car clean and operating well has become a bit of a hobby for me. I've filled gas in it 367 times to a total of 4,600 gallons and $7,200. Fuel economy has averaged 26.6 mpg (40% city driving), which is pretty good considering the car is rated at 19 city and 27 highway. The car hasn't stranded me once. One major thing that this car has done to me is that it has made me a real Saab fan. I visit the Saabnet on a daily basis and that has become somewhat of an on-line community for me. These guys and girls have lots of knowledge about Saabs and anything else "off-topic" that you might want to inquire about. You can click on the ad to the right near the top right of this page to see what I mean.
So what's my point with the whole spiel on me and my car besides sharing a love-fest type tribute? It just goes to prove that personal vehicles can take on a significant role in one's life. My "Caarma" has been with me for trips to work, running errands, many dates, trips to go mountain biking, numerous moves from place to place, and it has seen me through stressful situations and happy occasions reliably and faithfully. It makes me feel that we need a national "Personal Vehicle Day." In fact, I hereby declare March 25 as that date whether others follow it or not; (that's when I picked up my car from the dealer in 1997). I believe we all should show some appreciation to our modern day trusty steeds, our cars and trucks. They take us places so that we can earn a living, socialize, get the necessities of life done, and sometimes get to the hospital. They do this for you all while keeping you warm, entertained, comfortable and safe. So in honor of this new holiday, and in the spirit of spring, I say go perform proper maintenance on your vehicles, give them a wash, a wax job, and a vacuum job. These are great ways to honor your vehicle, a machine that deserves it.