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Somewhere behind Hennessey setting a new top speed record at this year's Texas Mile with its camouflage Ford GT, a stock-looking 1996 Saab 900T pulled up to the line to see what it could do. The dealer showroom wheels wouldn't offer any indication that the 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood was getting help from a Garrett turbocharger, a tuned ECU and E85 gas to put out 465 horsepower at the front wheels.
Knowing that, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that at the other end of the mile the sky blue Swedish wonder was doing 174 miles per hour. The four-cylinder class at the Texas Mile has plenty such rockets, too, this Swede coming just behind a Dodge Neon that did 175.8 mph. You can watch the Saab do its thing in the video below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
I like the Texas Mile because it's big and crazy, just like an event in my home state ought to be. There's the record-breaking runs from the Hennessey Venom GT
Last week, we tipped you off about Vampire Weekend and their new music video for the song Diane Young, a short film that consists entirely of setting fire to two perfectly nice-looking Saab 900 automobiles. The indie rock band's video - viewable by scrolling down - predictably triggered the internet ire of classic car enthusiasts - Saabophiles in particular - and word of the unrest eventually got back to the band itself.
According to music site Spinner (nb: owned by Autoblog parent AOL), the group was "stunned" at the backlash - enough that lead singer Ezra Koenig felt compelled to respond himself. According to Koenig, the band was under the impression that their record company was "looking to purchase the cheapest, oldest cars possible; they weren't trying to buy a beautiful perfect condition car." By way of apology, Koenig even goes so far as to note that bandmate Rostam Batmanglij is a keen fan of Saab.
Other reports have claimed that the cars may have been purchased under false pretenses, sold by owners who "wanted to see them go to a nice new home," but Koenig takes issue with that characterization, countering that he understood that the cars had substantial electrical problems.
Interestingly, more vitriol appears to have been spilled over the fiery deaths of these two Saabs than was drummed up by Jay Z and Kanye West in their music video for Otis, which saw the superstar rappers take a blowtorch to an exponentially costlier Maybach. Either way, Koenig and Co. appear to have at least some regret that they elected to base their video on the song's opening line, "You torched a Saab like a pile of leaves."
Or is it the other way around?
Could Vampire Weekend be trying to tell me something? A just-launched music video for the indie rock band's new single Diane Young features what looks like a pretty mint black Saab 900 Turbo Convertible being torched in slow-motion. In fact, with the exception of a brief, flickering cameo by a 900 three-door of a similar vintage, that's all that there is to the nearly three-minute long video. It's both sad and oddly beautiful.
Coincidentally, I have a similar-looking turbocharged black Saab convertible sitting in my garage, and I've been reluctantly pondering its sale this very week. Admittedly, mine is a later model (2001 9-3 Viggen), but tri-spokes and more tapered rump aside, it looks eerily identical. And while mine isn't mired in flames (I love it too much to torch it), through no fault of its own, it's been sitting motionless far too regularly. Thankfully, I see a better future for it than the droptop seen above.
So, what's the deal? Did VW lead vocalist Ezra Koenig have a Saab love affair that went bad, leading to this conflagration of music video? Is he unhappy about the fate of the perennially troubled Swedish automaker? Or did he and the band just figure that the video below was an attention-grabbing/artsy and inexpensive way to put promote their forthcoming album, Modern Vampires of the City? The world might never know...Permalink | Email this | Comments