We bring you another interesting Saab story, this time from the US state of Colorado, based on the experience of Jerry Danner, a member of the Rocky Mountain Saab Club’s – Saab Club there. The Rocky Mountain Saab Club is for Saab owners in and around the Denver, Boulder, and Front Range Areas of Colorado, USA.
by Jerry Danner
Ray Middleton has been an acquaintance I have known for years. Ray got into racing in the late 60’s in England racing an 1933 Aston Martin in Lemons when he was a kid. Ray also was a Airplane Mechanic. When in England, Ray serviced Eric Carlsson’s Saab 91 Airplane. The Saab 91 was like a Mooney being single engine. When Ray came to America in the early 80’s he got to know Scotty Knocks. Scotty an airplane owner living on a private field, also a race car fanatic, owning many rally cars. Ray & Scotty formed a lifelong relationship.
Ray, not having a car, drove Scotty’s 1967 Saab 96 Monte Carlo and Scotty drove the car of choice, usually his Mini, when they took off cross country to enter into races. Steamboat Springs was their favorite race venue. Ray Son Miles, took interest in racing and liked Scotty’s 2 stroke 96. Ray found a 1967 96 2 stroke sitting in a field with no engine. Ray and his Son Miles asked the Farmer about the car he said that he used the two stroke engine to power an irrigation pump for his field. Can you imagine that! A 2 stroke running an irrigation pump! Farmers are creative. I only wonder how long the two stroke engine lasted. Guess what Ray now owns. A Saab without an engine.
Ray planed was to spend time with his Son to make him a race car. Miles in 1994 was in 10th grade. He and his Dad stripped the car down, painted it Blue & Gray and was getting it ready to assemble as a race car and in 1996 his interest stopped when Miles was a Senior in High School. Miles received a ROTC Scholarship, entered the Military, took Pilot training and today he is working on being a Chief Test Pilot for the Military with a very promising career. Needless to say the Race Car got book shelved. Ray’s racing interest declined and his business restoring WWII British Military War planes was taking off. People send planes to Ray restore. Ray’s restoration 6 shop is located in Ft. Collins Colorado airfield. This car has been sitting in Ray’s airplane hangar since 1994.
As you can tell, it has not been touched for many years. There comes a time in all of our lives when you need to cut the strings and let go your desires that have been re-routed. Over time we all acquire not only one car but two cars and a boat load of parts, engines, transmissions, radiators and some of the rarest NOS items. Ray approached me and asked me if I would take his entire collection off his hands. Guess what I now own. I asked Tom Nelson, Bruce Harbison, Bob Buck and Tom Jensen from our Rocky Mountain Saab Club to assist me one Monday morning to help me clean out Ray’s collection. It was like a treasure hunt. What fun that morning was. Bruce Harbison acquired the second 1967 long nose body to restore his 1967 Saab Deluxe. Bruce’s Deluxe is extremely rusted beyond repair and this car will give him a solid foundation to start his restoration project. What a find. The body of this 1967 96 2 stroke Racer is like it came from the factory. I have been around many older Saab’s and seen it all with regards to rust.
This car is someone’s dream. I probably will not pursue repairing this car as I have too many restoration projects left to complete in this lifetime. I have a 1967 Monte Carlo and a 1964 GT 850 in the plans. I would entertain the thought of selling the body to anyone who has interest. Maybe not a racer but a remarkably restored original Saab. Thanks Ray!!