Recently, a Facebook group surfaced the fact that somehow, a Saab-branded dealership in New England has remained a time capsule of what once was, complete with what appeared to be a new-looking car inside. And when we learned that there was still a car in that showroom, we had to take a look for ourselves. Upon close inspection, the sedan was none other than the brand's flagship: a Saab 9-5 Aero Turbo6 XWD.
The car is reportedly privately-owned and driven regularly by its owner for enjoyment and is parked in the showroom so that it is kept safe from the elements. But keeping it parked there gave off the illusion that it was somehow forgotten and abandoned, much like the rest of the Saab brand.
CORRECTION 8/27 1:30 PM ET: Following the previous update on 8/24/21, we’ve heard from various sources who confirmed the Saab is used, privately owned, and has approximately 40,000 to 50,000 miles on it, so it’s not a “new” car. We’ve also learned that the vehicle is not for sale and the showroom it’s in is not abandoned. We’ve updated this story to reflect this new information and remove any allusion of the car or building being abandoned. We regret the errors.
CORRECTION 8/24 1:30 PM ET: In the original version of this story, The Drive incorrectly reported that the Saab 9-5 in question was left behind in an abandoned dealership after attempting to track down its backstory. Following publication, we learned new details that invalidated parts of our story. We've updated this story and regret the error.
This particular variant is equipped with all of the best bits the 9-5 had to offer. Namely the sporty front and rear bumpers, 300-horsepower 2.8-liter turbocharged V6, and all-wheel drive. For those wondering, this was not offered with a manual transmission; all V6-powered 9-5s were only equipped with the six-speed automatic.
The dealership is Village Saab in Acton, Massachusetts, and according to comments on the post that originally spotted the Saab 9-5 sitting on the showroom floor, the dealer didn't actually close its doors officially until the late 2010s. Its Facebook page shows that it transformed into a used car dealership after the automaker closed down its dealer network, though its last posts were from 2017.
Today, the dealership is actually an overflow facility for Village Subaru, a dealership located just three miles away and owned by the same group who held onto the Saab name for so long. Turning again to Google Maps gives a better picture. Street View shows a plethora of new Subarus parked there, hinting at its main purpose.
Using Street View to gaze into the windows of the showroom, where the 9-5 is barely visible from the road, you'll see glimpses of other vehicles inside the building over time. For example, we spotted a Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon and Jeep Wrangler in the showroom where the Saab 9-5 now sits alone.
There are a few odds and ends packed into the back of the lot, all of which hint at it being used for storage. For example, there's an Austin Healey, retired Chevy Caprice PPV from the Boston Police, Subaru Forester, Subaru Outback, and a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, to name a few.
Saab's Scandinavian-themed showroom seems to have been left intact since the dealership's closure, with branded mementos and marketing material far and wide. Everything that could be white, is white—chairs, walls, floor tiles, tables. Monochrome accents and artwork line the walls, while cool manufacturer-themed relics are found hiding in corners, like a table made from a set of Saab tri-spoke wheels or the "Born From Jets" canvas print.
You really can't blame them, of course, because the remaining diehards—the ones who weren't alienated during the General Motors era—went out kicking and screaming.
Saab began sinking shortly after it was bought by GM in 2000. As the familiar Swedish personality was beaten out of the brand, and even its collaborations with Subaru couldn't take off on a large scale. By the late-2008 economic recession, GM had put the brand "under review," meaning it would consider selling it off or killing it completely in the name of profitability.
Koenigsegg attempted to purchase Saab in 2009. However, the deal proved too complicated and the Swedish supercar maker pulled away. GM was poised to ax the brand the following year before announcing that Spyker would become the new owner. Spyker soon became unable to cover Saab's losses and halted production, all while being blocked by GM to seek out alternative ownership models due to licensing restrictions. Saab filed for bankruptcy by the end of 2011.
Dealers immediately dropped like flies, while some like Village Saab and Trio Motors in Burton, Michigan, held on for dear life by offering used vehicles, parts, and service for as long as possible.
The Swedish automaker was stricken down too quickly, and its cult of faithful enthusiasts showed that there was, in fact, a dedicated following. Sadly, it wasn't enough to keep it afloat in GM's portfolio, and now all that's left are the cars already on the road and rare relics like this former dealership. At least there’s plenty of people, like this owner, still enjoying their Saabs for many years to come.
Got a tip or question for the author? Contact them directly: firstname.lastname@example.org