Top Gunn

Richard cruises to a clas­sic 1980s drive-in film with a lit­tle-known Saab 900 con­nec­tion

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Living With Classics - RICHARD GUNN

1989 SAAB 900 TURBO T16

Back in the good old days, when Saab was suc­cess­ful, Swedishly sexy and had yet to con­sum­mate its un­happy mar­riage with Gen­eral Mo­tors, it was be­hind some very fine TV com­mer­cials. One of them was

Noth­ing On Earth Comes Close, made in the early 1980s to pub­li­cise the 900 by pitch­ing it against its flighty sib­ling, a Saab 37 Viggen fighter jet. It’s one of mo­tor­ing’s more mem­o­rable ad­verts, up there with Take My Breath Away for the Peu­geot 405 – which also has a con­nec­tion with what’s com­ing here. It was prob­a­bly re­spon­si­ble for sell­ing a lot of Saabs to those who fan­cied them­selves fly­ing a fighter jet but found the £7500 for a 900 rather more man­age­able than the £7.5 mil­lion for a Viggen.

Be­hind the ad was di­rec­tor Tony Scott, brother of Ri­d­ley, who, on the strength on the Saab piece, landed the gig to do Top Gun, 1986’s smash-hit movie that made a star of Tom Cruise and grossed £244 mil­lion (or 32,533 Saab 900s, or 32.5 Viggens). And, yes, that’s ap­par­ently true – this isn’t a Myth Buster af­ter all.

So, when Moon­light Out­door Cin­ema de­cided to bring Top Gun to a pop-up drive-in in a mall car park just down the road from CCW Tow­ers, there was only one pos­si­ble ve­hi­cle to take – my own 900 Turbo T16. It seemed the ideal way to briefly recre­ate the decade in which the Saab was born in a highly ap­pro­pri­ate way – with a fast run down the A1 past RAF Wit­ter­ing, with its Hawker Har­rier jump-jet on dis­play out­side. Nat­u­rally, I used (Tom) cruise con­trol...

Not hav­ing seen Top Gun prob­a­bly since clas­sic Saab 900s were still be­ing made, I’m pleased to re­port that it was just as cheesily en­ter­tain­ing as I re­mem­bered. And de­spite the view through the Saab’s avi­a­tion-in­spired panoramic wind­screen – sadly marred by cars that weren’t from the 1980s – I’m still no closer to fig­ur­ing out if Kelly McGil­lis’ char­ac­ter drove a gen­uine Porsche 356 or a Volk­swa­gen replica.

Per­haps next year, there’ll be a drivein 007 film, so I can cel­e­brate the 900’s James Bond links too. Still, I’d be happy with Kung Fu Panda, to which I’d drive in a cer­tain lit­tle Fiat...

Night be­gins to fall as the Saab gets comfy for movie date night.

Richard tries to recre­ate ei­ther Top Gun or the Saab ad at RAF Wit­ter­ing. And fails on both counts.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.