How One Guy Built a Saab Sanctuary in the Middle of New York City

Discover one of the coolest classic Saabs ever, and check out the amazing garage it lives in.

byAndrew P. Collins|
How One Guy Built a Saab Sanctuary in the Middle of New York City
Tom Gorelik


I've encountered many car enthusiasts with a weirdly spiritual relationship with the defunct Swedish automaker Saab. Zurich Classic Motors owner Mark Skinner takes it to another level, lovingly maintaining one of the coolest Saabs I've ever seen and keeping it in a garage that's almost as interesting as the car itself.

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This new episode of CARISMA is a little more sprawling than others we've run so far. You'll learn about the Saab 99 EMS, a car few people will spot on the road in their lifetime—let alone drive—and get a tour of what might be the neatest privately kept parking garage in New York City.

You might also gain a new appreciation for the less exotic, but still rare (when in nice shape), Saab 9000 Aero. Skinner also has one of those, and it might be the cleanest copy left on American roads.

Then there's Skinner's lovely explanation of why he loves cars: "For me, this is a form of art I can truly interact with, and I can use. I look at it as a rolling sculpture."

Skinner's garage is as classy of space as any, it just happens to house a collection of old Saabs and memorabilia. Tom Gorelik

Where and when I grew up in Massachusetts, Saab 9000s were still pretty common. Few were as flashy as Skinner's bright red one, but the shape is a familiar one to me.

The 99 EMS, however, I don't think I've ever seen in the sheet metal, but watching this video definitely sold me on how special it is. Overbuilt yet simple, lean and light yet fitted with features like heated seats (in 1974!). What an incredibly interesting machine.

As for the sweet, sweet storage space: "It wasn't always the sanctuary of Saabs," Skinner says. "I was using it to park my construction trucks because my day job is a contractor." The wood that decorates it now used to be part of an old horse stable, while the inspiration to renovate the space came while tearing out the dance floor after a birthday party: "I started collecting cars."

The man has taste, that much is clear.

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