Weird Car Wednesday

Believe it or not, this is the first post with this title. “Weird,” “Weirdo” and “Weirdness” have been part of previous titles, though. Also, do not infer that this is the start of a series of posts with this title, although I guess it could be.

Of course, some probably think this car is weird.



The wire arrived on time (our brokerage company did not disappoint, after all) so my wonderful wife and I drove down to the dealership yesterday to pick up the new resident of our garage. The much higher beltline of the Cascada relative to the Corvetttes really stood out to me after the car was parked.

The Cascada has some features not found on our Corvettes, such as a lane departure warning system and parking sensors. However, my new car does not have memory seats or a built-in garage door opener. Good thing we found the only hand-held opener we have for that door and that it works. Yes, we replaced the battery. Of course, I could have purchased a universal garage remote and programmed it for the two-bay door.

During the two previous test drives I had never noticed any turbo lag. I did on the drive home, though. I actually enjoyed when the turbocharger kicked in. The audio/navigation controls are idiosyncratic, but not inscrutable.

The real payoff for buying the car will come when the weather cools down a bit and I can get in some top-down driving. While I don’t believe in an afterlife, I did think of my parents when I got in the car to drive it home. As I have written probably far too many times already, the Cascada was built in Poland, the country where my parents were born.


The real inspiration for today’s post came from an episode of For The Love Of Cars, with Ant Anstead and Philip Glenister, that I watched yesterday. A vehicle like the car below was featured.


See the source image


This is a Saab 96. Something about the design that I cannot articulate is very appealing to me.

I think that for many the Saab 96 is a weird car. At first, it used a two-stroke, three-cylinder engine even though the car was introduced in 1960. That engine was replaced in 1967 by a V-4; yes, a V-4.

For some reason that I don’t even understand, I am fascinated by the concept of a V-4 in an automobile. I tell myself it’s because the extremely short block can be placed almost anywhere in the chassis, but actually I think I like the V-4 just because it’s different. The V-4 used by Saab was built by Ford, which originally was going to use that motor for a new compact car intended for the US market to be called the Ford Cardinal. The Cardinal was never built as Ford developed the Falcon, instead.

The 96’s unusual, but aerodynamic body is also decidedly not mainstream. Remember, though, that Saab began as an aircraft company in 1937. Oh, even though the car-making arm of the business is defunct, Saab is still very much alive and continues to build aircraft and offers related products and services.

Making my attraction to the Saab 96 even stranger is that I envision the car as a blank canvas for a restomod. I imagine just using the body and maybe even abandoning the front-wheel drive layout.

When I was in college a friend of mine bought me a card with a cartoon whose caption read, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, maybe he marches to the beat of a different drummer. Or maybe he’s just a weirdo.” Of course, the first sentence is taken from Henry David Thoreau. I am who I am, for better and for worse.







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8 thoughts on “Weird Car Wednesday

  1. Glad to hear the new, to you, ride is home. Hope it turns out to be a good purchase.

    The 96 is definitely different. I know a guy, slightly, who is into them big time, last I knew he had 5. One of them is the Monte Carlo optioned version, another is his home built hot rod. He pulled the drive train from one and ADDED it to the rear of another, both 2 strokes. Somehow he figured out a way to make the shift mechanism work, moved from the column to the floor, throttle is cable. Has, or at least had, expansion chamber exhaust on both engines. When he fired it up it made a noise I can only describe as: the devil caught his “boy parts” on a fence post.


    1. Leave it to you to know someone who is into Saab 96s. This was hysterical, by the way: “…I can only describe as: the devil caught his “boy parts” on a fence post.”


      1. “Leave it to you to know someone who is into Saab 96s.”

        In the world of drag racing, and to some extent car shows, you do meet some interesting characters. I haven’t seen the man in 2-3 years, used to see him a couple times a year at different drag strips, mainly in South Carolina. He was originally from Finland IIRC so that might explain his love of SAABs.

        And you’re not the only one who marches to a different drum. I have been told that I “boogie to a whole different band.” I’m proud to claim that. 🙂


  2. The Saab Draken jet fighter is an excellent aircraft. Their cars not so much. The V-4 sounds interesting and depending upon the displacement might have potential for the smaller displacement engine classes for land speed racing. Provided the bottom end can withstand the stresses of running at prolonged high speeds.

    I am glad for you the Cascada meets your needs. It does look nice. My idea of a convertible is either a 1965 Mustang convertible restomod or a 1929 highboy roadster on 32 Ford frame rails with a souped up flathead V-8.


    1. Thanks, Philip. I know that for a 4-stroke engine, 4-cylinders is the minimum number to avoid a “gap” in the four cycles, but that they are usually not that smooth, even in an inline configuration, without some compensating add-ons. I just think the size of the block made it very versatile in terms of chassis placement. It’s all moot now, anyway, as the boring, electric automatons will take over. I am glad I won’t live to see it.


  3. Good luck with the new car, my friend. The Cascada might be a good option for my wife’s replacement car which is getting behind in safety and convenience features.
    We are still looking, though, for an ATS for her.


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