Sven Markus decides to celebrate his graduation with a road trip through Europe. The destinations of his travels at least as at random as his car, a Saab 90.
In 1984 Saab welds the front of its 99 to the rear of a 900 sedan and there you have it, a brand new model. They introduce this intermediate model as the Saab 90, which is probably one of the most bizarre copy-pastes the automotive world has ever brought.
Nevertheless Saab manages to sell over 25.000 units of its ‘Frankensteinian’ contraption. One of the few surviving cars ends up in the hands of Sven Markus, who takes it on a worthy journey around Europe. This is his CineCars tale.
With a shiny new diploma in my hand I think it is time for something completely different, I need a break, a swift get-a-way from the fast life. I think it must be marvelous to take a road trip through Europe, discover places I’ve never been, meet people I would otherwise never get to know. Best of all I’d like to do all of this in a car with a little character, although I would like it to be reliable as well. Two things that don’t necessarily go well together in the automotive world, I soon discover. That’s why I’m looking at thirteen in a dozen diesel cars next, even flirt with rental for a moment. Thank God my love for older cars is so strong. Online I bump into a 1987 Saab 90, original Dutch registration, thirty years on the Dutch roads and still only 170.000 km of experience. Complete with proof of the mileage and full history. It only takes a nice long phone call to the vendor before I decide to go and see what I’m about to buy. Before I can blink twice the car is mine. A few days later I can collect the 90, with a new MOT and fully serviced.
In two weeks time we manage to prepare the 90 for its epic trip and boy is it interesting to find out how this quirky Saab has been put together. Since I’ve never been to Sweden, Finland or the Baltic states, the plan ripens to trip around the Baltic Sea. For one I now am the proud owner of a Saab, so Sweden it is anyway. After a bit of research on my ‘Swedish’ Saab, I soon find out the 90 wasn’t produced in Trollhättan at all. Saab had them built by Valmet in Finland. That just has to be our next destination. A destination that becomes even more interesting when the owner of the car museum in Uusikaupunki takes me on a tour around the museum. He tells the most interesting tales on the factory and the cars in his museum. And he sure loves the Saab 90 I brought along.
Following the beautiful roads and unspoiled nature of Sweden and Finland I head for the Baltic states to slowly descent through Poland and Hungary until I reach the Balkan. From the snowy mountains of Bosnia, by the tightest roads any car enthousiast could wish for in Montenegro, up till the winding coastal paths of Croatia. I am so glad this Saab 90 crossed my way. Manual gear box, no power steering, ABS or other electronic gadgets, this is driving in its purest form. Together we are on the road for over two months, traveling almost eight thousand kilometers through seventeen different European countries. I thoroughly enjoyed all the impressions, the different cultures and of course my latest best friend forever, the Saab 90.