PROJECT CARS: Winter Update

Project Ruby

Well, the wind’s howling, there’s ice on the road outside and leaves are stuck to the grilles of the WRC cars currently devouring the infamous Monte Carlo Rally on the TV. It must be late January.

So we thought now would be as good a time as any to update you on our humble fleet of project cars.

First up, our immaculate, end-of-the-line, 1993 Saab 900 Turbo T16S Ruby Edition, which is now SORN’d and safely tucked up for Winter storage – trickle charger, dehumidifier & cover on, avoiding the harsh salt.

Before she went into stasis and happy hibernation, Ruby had a great final pre-salt-on-the-roads run at full chat – clearing our the cylinders and blowing away the cobwebs, at 1.2bar! Christ, she may ‘only’ have an official 185bhp – now more like 200bhp, thanks to K&N, Abbott Racing’s exhaust and a few tricks – but, at only c1250Kg and with that titanic turbo spooled up properly, she really does fly. Great fun too.

After all the fun and games, she got filled up with premium fuel (with a fuel stabiliser additive to boot), had an antifreeze, Ravenol oil and Falken Tyre air top-up and then got treated to a bloody good wash, wax and valet.

Then the cover went on and now she gets a regular turn over and check/caress/leather sniff sesh. Lush.

Now, roll on Spring and we can get the increasingly rare, increasingly appreciated 80s design, bullet-proof built, swift Swedish star out for making more motoring memories – maybe even take her to a few shows this year too.

As surely one of the best, original, unrestored 900 T16’s in the UK – let alone one of only 150 Rubys made & sold as a last Hoorah for the Mk1 Saab Turbo – she deserves to be seen far and wide, don’t you agree…?

Project 944

Bit of a funny one this… so I’ll cut to the chase. She’s gone. Sold. Auf wiedersehen.

So, sorry if you were waiting to see how the resto was going, or indeed were one of the many lovely people we spoke to for help and advice. Thank you.

We too are sorry not to see how it’s all going TBH. But, in the final analysis and with a change in personal circumstances requiring a more reliable, not-for-retro third car on fleet, she had to go. Firm, but fair.

The decision was made easier when we looked underneath properly for the first time and discovered during all the superb engine work we did with our friends K&N, Ravenol and NGK etc. that the sills were “pretty groggy” and she needed at least one inner and outer, if not two for good measure, of these mightily expensive sills (£250 each! Come on Porsche!). We should’ve guessed really… sills are a 944 must-do job that was not on the extensive service file with our car.

Plus, with a full interior overhaul/seat replacement, original wheel & tyre refurb & replacement, getting off the OTT wheel spacers and fixing of the growing list of electrical gremlins etc. it was just too much of a faff for us to continue with. We saw a potential money pit opening up.

Luckily, because we bought her very cheap at auction and had not spent too much, cutting our loses was not too painful. And she’s gone off to someone who hopefully has got the time and money to invest in her… no doubt to make a huge return on in years to come, causing me to regret this decision almost as much as I have getting rid of my John Cooper Work S Mini. C’est la vie.

But it’s a valuable lesson learned for me, as an amateur player in the classic car money making game… check properly underneath a car, even in the pissing rain! And don’t buy on impulse, just because the ones you really wanted in the sale went and the money is burning a hole in your pocket!

Better still, from now on, I will just keep to my golden purchasing rule… condition, condition, condition. Especially at auction, where you know a cars there for a reason… problem.

Or several in the 944’s case! (How right you were Nick Bailey! lol)

So, Porsche ownership for us was very short-lived. Sad.

On the plus side, despite the incoming baldness, maybe my mid-life crisis is averted…?