In a loose sense, I suppose I started wrenching when I was a child. My father had a well equipped wood shop and through the years I puttered with various tools and "helped" him on many projects. Dad also drove a string of 96s, from 2-strokes to V4s. The seeds were planted in those early years. It was not, however, until I left the nest that my attentions shifted from working in oaks and pine to Swedish steel.
It was in my second year of college that I got my first Saab (a 73 Sonett, of course). In the following two years I did little independent work on my car. Rather it was tended to by Billy Martin (Yankee Manager? NOT) at a small shop in Ithaca, NY. Billy was very knowledgeable, affable and quite tolerant. He let me watch and sometimes he even let me help him (no extra charge!) with the maintenance of my Sonett. I learned a great deal from him during those years.
I graduated to wrenching on my own cars in the winter of 1978 (coincident with a move to an off-campus apartment with a garage). It was also at this time that I began assembling my automotive tool chest. More like a tool box, but that too would change.
Over the next few years, I performed all of the routine maintenance and continued to learn about the car (and automotive technology in general). It was my daily driver, transporting me in summer and winter (those seemed to be the two seasons in Ithaca.) In seven years of operation, I logged 297,000 miles (the car had 379,000).That first Sonett proved to be an ideal patient. It lived a long life and survived many operations performed by a practicing resident as I worked to hone my new found skills.
By 1981, I was seriously hooked. I had my second Sonett and a raft of tools. In the years that followed I owned many Saabs (mostly Sonetts, but some 96s), and worked on them all extensively. In the following pages I will present what I have learned during my long association with these cars.