HOW TO BUY A SAAB
or
"THE BEST LAID SCHEMES..."*

 
by Don Daniels
 
 
 
  One Friday morning in the spring of 1994 I woke up with the decision to buy a Saab.

Now I had been driving a 1977 Corvette, on virtually a daily basis, since I bought it in Detroit in 1978, but the rigors of Long Island winters and New York City's competitive traffic, infamous potholes, and other misadventures had truly taken their toll on it.  So I had been looking at the Saab Turbo for quite some time, thinking it perhaps not a terrible compromise from the sports car feel I so enjoyed, the Saab surely offering more convenience to a family man.  I really wanted a new Corvette, but I hadn't bought one as I was working late in New York City and the idea of leaving a brand new Corvette in the huge, unsecure parking lot at the train station in the woods didn't sit well.

So I called the local Saab dealer, specified what I wanted and was assured that they had one just like that out on the lot.  So I got on my motorcycle and headed east on Jericho Turnpike, a busy four lane highway crossing Huntington Station, NY.  Normally, I don't notice much of my surroundings while on the bike, particularly in the confusion of suburban traffic.  My experience indicates that frantic moms, trying to separate two fighting youngsters as they rush to make a nails appointment or whatever, tend to not have much understanding or concern for the speed and right-of-way of motorcycles.  So it really was unusual that, in a used car lot a mile or so before the Saab dealership, I happened to notice out of the corner of my eye a silver Corvette prominently displayed out front as I passed.

Well, I got to the Saab dealer and sure enough, he'd lied about what he had, hoping to entice me with something else when I got there.  I don't cater to games like that, so I stomped out, deciding to try and salvage the trip a bit by at least stopping to look at that Corvette on the way home.  An '86, it sure looked a lot better than my '77 and was in my color of choice, Chevy having dropped silver from the line for several years.  They offered me a test drive and I was impressed with the tightness of the car, the handling, the radio, the relative comfort, most everything.

Turns out the lot was owned by a family of displaced Iranians.  As I had lived in Iran in '75-'77 I entertained them with my rudimentary Farsi while they tried hard to get me to buy the car on the spot.  But I kept reminding them that I had started the day off to buy a Saab and that I had no idea as to whether or not their price made any sense, not having researched Corvettes of that age.  I left them with the thought that I might return Monday, taking my chances on their dire warnings that the car might not still be there.

I got home and made a few calls regarding the other advertised Corvettes that met my minimum specifications.  One fellow offered to drop by my house that afternoon.  I said that wasn't necessary, but he explained that he was picking the car up in Huntington later that day and would be passing by anyway.

So he shows up at the appointed hour and I go out to the curb and check it out.  This one seems a bit sharper than the one I saw in the morning, although that might just have been that this was cleaner.  I walked round the car inspecting it, noting that this car had a bit of a surface wobble on top of the rear fascia like the other car had.  Must be a trait peculiar to these models, I think.  I noticed a little parking decal on the bumper, of familiar design, and this car had the inspection sticker removed, just like the other car....  "Wait a minute!!", I think, stop my tour, lean in, and open up the glove box and, sure enough, it has the same pencils and paraphenalia that I remembered seeing in the car this morning.

I stand up and turn to the guy, "I drove this car this morning."

"WHAT?!" he says, obviously confused in a manner that I don't think is put on.

I explain that I test drove the car this morning off a used car lot on Jericho.

"*A USED CAR LOT??!!!*" he all but shouts, his jaw bouncing back up off the tar-mac.

Well, neither of us believes the other at this point, but he tells the whole story of how he's selling the car for his son, a dentist who has moved to Georgia.  These "Arabs" had called him about the car and made an offer.  But they were short a few thousand, so he had allowed them to take the car, although he held on to the registration until they came up with the balance "by the end of the week".  Apparently he had dealt with them only in the driveway of a home -- located one block off Jericho Tpke just north of their lot.  Probably the home of someone on vacation, we eventually figure.

He had indeed just come from there, with a stop at a detailer, having gotten fed up with their failure to come up with the remaining funds.  They had called him late that morning asking for an extension to Monday night; we both realized that they had hoped that I would buy the car from them by then, clearing an easy grand or two for their shady efforts.

Well, anyway, I start thinking to myself that the Fates *really* want me to buy this car.  I mean, after all these years of inaction, I suddenly start out the day finally determined to buy a Saab, by the purest of luck notice a Corvette in passing, like it enough to call a few ads to check prices, whereupon one guy actually brings a second Corvette right to my house, which then turns out to be the *SAME* CAR, and the price seems to be in range...  

I did check out another 'Vette or two over that weekend, but here I am in 1999 still driving, and loving, my '86 which I got for the same deal the guy had made with the Iranians.

Although I recently made a down payment on a new, 6-speed 2000 Coupe, silver mist metallic of course.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  * "The best laid schemes of mice and men Go often awry,"
      From "To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough" by Robert Burns, 1785.