When Victor Mueller’s experiment didn’t work, SAAB values went down. I am sure that this has been frustrating for current owners who paid well for their Swedish chariot only to find that the trade value is much less than expected. However, the cars are still fun to drive with their turbo charged engines and comfortable seats. I was reminded of that today when I took this 1999 SAAB 9-3 convertible to lunch. It was sunny today and perfect weather for driving with the top down. I ended up at the Garfield Park where there was plenty of sunshine, people, and geese! I could have gotten out and walked around but chose to sit in the car, eat lunch, and listen to Rush Limbaugh. Interesting days these.
If you have ever wondered why the MINI is so named, please visit Leikin Motor Companies for a test drive. I took the opportunity to take a recently acquired 2009 MINI Cooper S to lunch last week. Thanks to the adjustable seat and steering wheel, there was plenty of room for my 6′ 3″ body. I’m not sure if there would be room for someone behind me, though. This car is rather small. How small is it? Well… after eating a Big Kahuna at Jersey Mike’s (the best sandwich they make), I crossed the street and purchased a lawnmower from Lowe’s Hardware. As I rolled the large cardboard box to the back of the MINI, I suddenly realized my mistake. Not only is there little room behind the back seats (enough for 2 pencils and an eraser if turned sideways) there wasn’t much more with the back seats folded down! I actually had to fold the front passenger seat forward to get the box in with the hatch closed. Again, I should have known.
You would be wrong to say a MINI Cooper S is like the Classic SAAB 900. This lawnmower box required me to fold down the rear seats and front passenger seat to get the hatch closed.
While the MINI Cooper S is no SAAB 900 when it comes to hauling washing machines, filing cabinets, and anything larger than a push mower, it does have some get up and go for such a small car. The 1.6L turbo 4 produces 172 hp. While that may not seem like much compared to other performance machines you have driven, how many of them are this small? Small can be good after all. And this MINI can scoot to 60 mph in just 6.7 seconds. That’s a lot of fun especially with the 6-speed manual transmission. Steering is also very responsive. When you turn the wheel, there is no hesitation, and you will quickly find yourself in the next lane if you’re not careful.
Despite the size of the car, I find myself choosing to take this one on errands or to lunch as often as I can. It’s a fun drive that would take the “boring” out of your daily commute. See this and other interesting cars at www.LeikinMotor.com.
Do any of you remember the 2009 Cleveland Auto Show? During that one, we left the Volvo C70 convertible’s roof half-way down to show people what the roof looked like in transition. I liked that idea because it showed potential customers how it worked. The roof is made up of three pieces including a glass rear window. It’s like having a hard top coupe that transforms into a convertible. Very nice.
I have a 1990 Jaguar XJ40 with a bad power antenna. Replacing the antenna was not difficult, but finding the correct adapter for the old connector has been. Does anyone know what this plug is called? the local radio shop said it was a European connector that wasn’t readily available here in the USA. In fact, they wanted $40-65 to clip and connect the two ends. I’d rather not do that if possible. But I’ve been listening to the same CD three days in a row. It would be nice to get it fixed this week.
The back seats and center console still need to be swapped from the parts car. When that takes place, I could run a new antenna cable under the carpet. But Crutchfield offers a $10 adapter that looks similar. So, there are probably easier ways to accomplish the same thing. Let me know if you know the answer.
For the past few weeks, the tail lights and parking lights on my 1990 Jaguar Sovereign have not been working. I had checked the fuses but found nothing burned out. I had swapped relays from the parts car without success. I even gave in and asked a mechanic to look it over yesterday but after a half hour there was still no success. Even the Jaguar Forums didn’t have the answer. But today, thank God, I found the problem and fixed it!
At work, I had access to the wiring diagram from AllData and found that two related relays might have something to do with the problem. Not only were the tail lights/parking lights not working, but the radio had lost all power as well. Hmm… what was the connection? The two relays at the bottom of the diagram were (1) Radio Lighting Relay, and (2) Auxiliary Side Light Relay. Monday night even the janitor got involved offering the idea that a radio wire might be grounding out the system. That got me thinking. A mechanic had recently replaced the ground wire. Perhaps something had become dislodged in the mean time.
This morning, I looked at the radio wiring and found that the previous owner had done a cheap install of it. Many of the wires had only been wound together and covered with electrical tape. Yikes! As you can imagine, several of the wires had become disconnected and probably had something to do with the problems listed above. Thankfully, I had a box of blue butt connectors and was able to make better connections. Not only does the radio work fine but now all the speakers work.
Later in the afternoon, I got to thinking about the wiring diagram and the lights not working. I had already checked the fuses several weeks ago, so I pulled the panel underneath the passenger side dashboard (below the glove box) and took a look at the relays again. The first step was to replace the Auxiliary Side Light Relay. The original HELLA 12V relay was part # 4RA 003 510-33. NAPA had one for about $7 (Echlin part # AR294). But after replacing the relay, nothing had changed. So, I went back to the electrical diagram.
Notice the squiggly arrow above the second relay? I am not an electrician at all, but I could see that the symbol matched something that looked like a two wire fuseable link hanging below a nearby relay. I looked closer and found that each relay had a “squiggly” attached to it. I still don’t know what that is, but I snipped the old one out and replaced it with one from the parts car. But when I reattached the battery’s negative cable there was an unexpected spark because I had left the headlight switch in the on position. Oops. To be sure, I removed the fuse door on the passenger side and the 4th fuse (3 Amp) on the 3rd column had burned out. That was the one for the parking lights. Once it was replaced the lights worked again! Whether it was the “squiggly” or fuse I’ll never know, but the lights work and I can drive at night again. And that is a wonderful thing.
I recognize that most people will never own a Mercedes-Benz G-Class. However, it was quite interesting to watch this video which covers the early history, current production techniques, and changes for the MY2013 G-Class SUVs. It is definitely an interesting vehicle. And with the current level of interest, the classic body style is likely to remain the same for many years to come. For 2013, the G-Wagen is offered as the G550 (388 hp) and G63 AMG (544 hp). (Why you would need 544 hp in an off-road vehicle, I don’t know.) BTW, the biggest changes are on the inside of the G-Class. Skip to 5:17 to see the interior changes.
I was a teen when the Pontiac Fiero came out. And it was one of my favorite cars back then. It wasn’t very practical with only two seats, but it looked like a lot of fun. A neighbor in Columbus had one and I changed the plugs and wires on it. A co-worker at Copco had one with the 6 cylinder engine and thought it was a great car. So, why didn’t things go well for the Fiero? Kurt Ernst at Hemmings sheds some light on the subject:
Volvo has a lot of confidence in the S60 right now. It has been awarded the Top Safety Pick+ by IIHS.org and has received numerous positive reviews. Autoblog, Automobile magazine, and MotorTrend have good things to say about the Volvo S60. The reviews can be summed up in the words of Daniel Buxbaum at The Fast Lane Car:
“I dare anyone to find another car that presents this blend of style, safety, driving dynamics, and value within the near-luxury segment. Volvo has clearly done their homework – I can’t wait to see what the future brings for their model lineup.”
If you have driven one or currently own one, you know how good the product is. But for those who have little experience with the Swedish brand, it might be hard to switch over … until they hear about Volvo’s S60 Challenge.
Volvo is boldly going where no auto manufacturer has gone before (at least that I know of). With plenty of confidence, they are offering to pay the first payment* of anyone who purchases/leases a new 2013 Audi A4 2.0T after test driving a new Volvo S60. That’s a bold statement and shows how confident they are in the product. Will it work? Come in for a test drive and find out!
Click here for more information about the 2013 Volvo S60.
* Offer valid on S60 test drive from April 12, 2013 to May 31, 2013. All requests must be postmarked by June 30, 2013 and received by July 15, 2013. Limit of rebate amount is $400. For United States residents only, excludes Puerto Rico. This program limited to a new 2013 Audi A4 2.0T model only. 2013 Audi A4 2.0T purchase cannot be prior to or on the same day as the Volvo S60 test drive. Download the redemption form. If you should purchase a new 2013 Audi A4 2.0T sedan, which you won’t, reimbursement is in the form of a pre-paid Visa debit card. 2013 Audi A4 2.0T purchase cannot be prior to or on the same day as the Volvo S60 test drive. First payment capped at $400. Program ends 5/31/13. To be eligible Audi purchase must be made within 30 days of test driving a Volvo S60. All paperwork must be received by 7/15/13.
What do you get when you combine a preacher, car salesman, bus driver, construction worker, teacher, singer, internet manager, and story teller? You get the unique perspective that Andy Rupert brings to each of his articles about classic cars, the automotive industry, life, and whatever else comes to mind.