The Silver Beast

in Literary 007 Posts: 4,412
After already having five cars, justifying a sixth to my better half is going to be tough but we have agreed a motivational strategy. Once I lose 2 stone , I can buy a nice, silver Saab 900 Turbo. An interesting challenge.
«1

Comments

  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 19,736
    I'm confused. What is the point of this thread now? ;-)
  • Posts: 4,412
    Any advice from other members who have experience in buying/running this classic?
  • TokolosheTokoloshe Under your bed
    Posts: 2,667
    Seriously, this merits its own thread when some of the other posts don't?
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 19,736
  • Posts: 4,783
    It's in Litterary because the SAAB 900 Turbo was Bond's car in the first three novels written by John Gardner., I think.
  • DragonpolDragonpol The Crazy World of David Dragonpol
    edited January 2016 Posts: 14,724
    Gerard wrote: »
    It's in Literary because the SAAB 900 Turbo was Bond's car in the first three novels written by John Gardner., I think.

    Exactly. I see we need to brush up on our Continuation Bond history, folks. Read more here:

    http://commanderbond.net/2284/the-silver-beast.html
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    Tragic the level of Gardner ignorance around here.

    I have to say though 'The Silver Beast' was always part of the Gardner era that left me very cold.

    For a start, despite the technical solidity and the fact that Saab produced decent motors, it always struck me as hardly the kind of car Bond should be driving. Not exactly low rent but not something that aroused any feelings of desire to own one in the reader.

    I'm also not that happy that Bond would have a nickname for a car. Is that really the sort of the thing Bond would do?

    Yes he had favourites - the Beretta, the Bentley - but he's not so sentimental that he would go about giving them pet names surely?

    The whole Saab thing in the Gardner books always struck me as a) trying to make the books more like the films by having cars with gadgets and b) Gardner having a mate who owned a Saab dealership and arranged for him to go for some all expenses paid ice driving courses in Sweden on the understanding the car would feature in the book.

    There's a fair but of stuff in Gardner I quite like but this doesn't fall into that category.
  • Posts: 4,412
    All very fair points, Wizard, but on the upside, Gardner provided classic car fans with the most accessible of all of the Bond cars (happy to be corrected) the DB5 is some way off so the Saab will have to do. Irrespective of it's suitability as a Bond car, its an appreciating classic that can still haul the kids.
    PS sorry if this is in the wrong section but it seemed appropriate
  • Posts: 4,783
    Oh and the gadgets ? All real, and could be purchased at the time. The car, from what I knew, was even made for real at the time. i wonder what became of it, though.
  • BMW_with_missilesBMW_with_missiles All the usual refinements.
    edited January 2016 Posts: 2,991
    patb wrote: »
    Gardner provided classic car fans with the most accessible of all of the Bond cars (happy to be corrected)

    The only one that may be more accessible is the BMW Z3 in Goldeneye.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    Gerard wrote: »
    Oh and the gadgets ? All real, and could be purchased at the time. The car, from what I knew, was even made for real at the time. i wonder what became of it, though.

    I remember reading an article in either ahem Penthouse or Mayfair (I only bought the article naturally!) circa 1985 (I think Sabrina got her norks out in that issue to help you date it) where there was an interview with Gardner and a photoshoot of the working Saab with all the gadgets taken at some sort of airfield/racetrack.
    I think it certainly did most of the things it said in the book. Would be nice to track down that magazine one day - for Bondian research purposes obviously.
    patb wrote: »
    Gardner provided classic car fans with the most accessible of all of the Bond cars (happy to be corrected)

    The only one that may be more accessible is the BMW Z4 in Goldeneye.

    Given your name you might get the model right.

    Also the Renault 11 and Citroen 2CV have to be pretty affordable.
  • Posts: 4,412
    BMW v Saab? No contest
  • BMW_with_missilesBMW_with_missiles All the usual refinements.
    edited January 2016 Posts: 2,991
    patb wrote: »
    Gardner provided classic car fans with the most accessible of all of the Bond cars (happy to be corrected)

    The only one that may be more accessible is the BMW Z4 in Goldeneye.

    Given your name you might get the model right.

    Woops! Z3. That's what I get for posting with a head cold. Besides, I hate that car anyway. The car I'm referencing in my screen name is the one from TND (which, I suppose, had more along the lines of rockets and not missiles).
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited January 2016 Posts: 23,883
    Aren't Saab owned by some Chinese VC firm (or consortium) now? Additionally, I think the parts division is owned by the Swedish National Debt office post-Saab bankruptcy (it was not part of the deal to the Chinese consortium).

    Given the risk with finding spare parts, I heartily recommend BMW as an alternative. 7 series, circa TND, or the Z3 from GE (get the M version). Unfortunately, the outstanding Z8 from TWINE (my favourite...the car not the film) goes for around $300K these days on the used market.
  • MrcogginsMrcoggins Following in the footsteps of Quentin Quigley.
    Posts: 3,139
    Here in the UK Saab spare parts are not a problem most items are available from OE spec aftermarket suppliers we own a 2004 93 Aero Cabrio which I bought for Mrs Coggins three years ago and that is great drivers car .
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 5,131
    Saab......should have never been a Bond car in any novel. Cheap and nasty. Not a prestige car in the slightest. Silver turd.
  • zebrafishzebrafish <°)))< in Octopussy's garden in the shade
    edited January 2016 Posts: 3,279
    latest?cb=20120903190644

    The Saab 900 Silver Beast is exhibited at the Saab Car Museum in Trollhättan, Sweden. At least that's what I get from this cute Bond Fansite.
  • edited January 2016 Posts: 4,412
    The Silver Beast is a great example of writers trying to be creative/moving forward and pleasing some Bond fans and not others. Don't forget, this was Bonds private car rather than a company car and perhaps an attempt to get a bit more realism. Whilst still having the gadgets, its a bit easier for undercover work than a DB5. Its interesting to look at the defintion of Saab driver below and try to see which qualities fit Bond and which dont. I can see what the author was trying to do: (ironic given the PB era that they mention the stigma of driving a BMW)

    Quirky, successful, understated individuals who shy away from the stigma of driving a BMW or Mercedes. According to Top Gear, Saab Drivers are members of the ‘ intelligentsia’, including but not limited to architects, graphic designers, civil rights lawyers, and specialist doctors.

    Saab Drivers usually identify with one or more of the following reasons for having purchased their vehicle:
    - Integrity and Spirited Engineering
    - Design with meaningful lines through the whole body and details which support the wholeness
    - Understatement
    - Trustworthiness
    - Intelligent and nontraditional solutions to major and smaller problems
    - The courage to think and act (in the developing of cars) for good and sensible reasons, instead of commercial “fanciness”/trendiness
    - Fist Class in Safety
    - High performance turbocharged engines
    - Saab's iconic cult-like following
    - Care about the environment combined with driving-pleasure
    - Admiration for a small brand with a very innovative heritage

    PS re Wizard's objection to Bond having a nick name for the car, to be fair and accurate , it was Q branches nickname for the Saab, not Bond's, as they treated it with caution.
  • MrcogginsMrcoggins Following in the footsteps of Quentin Quigley.
    Posts: 3,139
    suavejmf wrote: »
    Saab......should have never been a Bond car in any novel. Cheap and nasty. Not a prestige car in the slightest. Silver turd.
    Would love to know on what you based those remarks care to enlighten us ? .

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 6,954
    I think this film concludes why Bond should never, ever, be driving a Saab.. Not that I don't like Saab's, but it is just not Bond. Not even close.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    patb wrote: »

    PS re Wizard's objection to Bond having a nick name for the car, to be fair and accurate , it was Q branches nickname for the Saab, not Bond's, as they treated it with caution.

    Are you sure about that? You may well be correct but I seem to recall Bond referring to it as the Silver Beast at least once.

    Alas my complete set of Gardner books is in the loft in my parents house in France so I can't check.

    Can anyone here verify? I'm looking at you @Dragonpol as the resident Gardner scholar.
  • MrcogginsMrcoggins Following in the footsteps of Quentin Quigley.
    Posts: 3,139
    That's just the point Gardner had it spot on the Saab 900 is an ideal Q car it's so ordinary to look at that you just don't expect it to drive or perform anything like it does .
  • Posts: 4,783
    patb wrote: »

    PS re Wizard's objection to Bond having a nick name for the car, to be fair and accurate , it was Q branches nickname for the Saab, not Bond's, as they treated it with caution.

    Are you sure about that? You may well be correct but I seem to recall Bond referring to it as the Silver Beast at least once.

    Alas my complete set of Gardner books is in the loft in my parents house in France so I can't check.

    Can anyone here verify? I'm looking at you @Dragonpol as the resident Gardner scholar.

    Indeed he refers to his Saab as the Silver Beast in "For Special Services", when he asks for it to be delivered in the US. To which M is very reluctant.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    edited January 2016 Posts: 5,131
    Mrcoggins wrote: »
    suavejmf wrote: »
    Saab......should have never been a Bond car in any novel. Cheap and nasty. Not a prestige car in the slightest. Silver turd.
    Would love to know on what you based those remarks care to enlighten us ? .

    Yeah sure. Saabs are cheap. They are not prestigious and suitable for a 'car lover' or sophisticated English gentleman such as Bond. Fleming's Bond drove an Aston or a Bentley. Bond driving a Saab is like him buying his suits from Asda. He wouldn't do it.
  • edited January 2016 Posts: 4,412
    24110600332_9840f12a49.jpgsilverbeast by pat.beardmore, on Flickr

    The Silver Beast was the nickname members of the service had given to Bonds car but then he uses it after they have given it that name.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    edited January 2016 Posts: 9,117
    I'm not sure the fact that Bond didn't actually come up with the name makes it any better. He seems quite happy to run with it and I have to say it doesn't strike me as the sort of thing Fleming's Bond would do.
  • Posts: 4,412
    Again, fair point, I suppose its the classic discussion concerning the role of a new author. Do you retain everything of the Fleming Bond or put your own interpretations and revisions in.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 5,131
    I'm not sure the fact that Bond didn't actually come up with the name makes it any better. He seems quite happy to run with it and I have to say it doesn't strike me as the sort of thing Fleming's Bond would do.

    Exactly. Not Flemingesque at all.
  • ForYourEyesOnlyForYourEyesOnly In the untained cradle of the heavens
    Posts: 1,984
    bondjames wrote: »
    Given the risk with finding spare parts, I heartily recommend BMW as an alternative. 7 series, circa TND, or the Z3 from GE (get the M version). Unfortunately, the outstanding Z8 from TWINE (my favourite...the car not the film) goes for around $300K these days on the used market.

    I know this an older post but personally I find the TND BMW 750 just too ordinary-looking (either to compete with the S class of its time, as always, or for a Bond car in general).

    The Z8, however, I think looks absolutely gorgeous. Z3 not so much.

    I'm not a fan of Saab in general but I think the 900 looks decent enough. I just don't see it as much of a car for Bond to drive. Someone here mentioned the Renault 11 or the Citroen 2CV as an alternative - the latter I believe should be fairly accessible and I personally think has stronger ties to Bond (just because it lasted longer in the film and is more distinctive).

    Also @patb if I may inquire, what are your five other cars?
  • Posts: 519
    patb wrote: »
    BMW v Saab? No contest

    Correct, Saab would win every time.
    When I read this thread I wonder where you aficionados were in the '80s.
    At the time of 'Licence Renewed' the Saab 900 Turbo was one of the most sort after, discreet performance cars on the road and was the perfect choice for Gardner's re-boot.
    With its rally heritage and distinctive Swedish lines it was the thinking man's choice whilst BMW had become the Yuppies favourite.
    Although Gardner eventually put 007 in a Bentley - I think it was in 'Role Of Honour' - this was as a result of an unexpected inheritance and was, in my opinion, a mistake. The Saab 900 Turbo was absolutely the definitive motor for that decade and was the last real Saab. The Americans, in the guise of General Motors, went on to completely ruin the marque and during their tenure you wouldn't have put Get Smart in it but that's another story. For Gardner's very creditable re-boot it was perfect.

Sign In or Register to comment.