Jeff Proposki was four years old when he was first infected. The year was 1974, and his Dad brought home a brand-new Saab 99LE. Over the years Jeff learned about cars, and this olive green Saab in particular, from his father. "Dad fixed it himself. Many nights as a kid I helped him work on it. Everybody who knows Saabs knows they need their TLC. He's a large part of my interest in Saabs," said Proposki.
When Jeff finally got his driver's license, his Dad handed him the keys to the faithful little 99. By then the prognosis was hopeless, and Jeff was fully infected with the "Saab Disease."
"We're all weird in our own way when it comes to Saabs," Proposki continued. "It's a different ownership. I don't know what it is about Saabs."
Proposki now owns and runs the Rockport Service Station (Rockport, Mass.), where servicing Saabs is a specialty. "I had an opportunity in 1991 to purchase an already established business. It was perfect timing. I had just graduated (from Franklin Institute in Boston) with an Associates Degree in Automotive Technology. I built the Saab business myself, just by word-of-mouth," he said. "There are a lot of Saab owners in this area and in New England for that matter."
It was in 1991 that Proposki also purchased the 1988 Saab 900 SPG (Special Performance Group) featured in this story, "Just through my own expertise, owning my own shop, I started to modify it, a little here, a little there. I had started to get into amateur road racing, doing driving schools at places like Watkins Glen, Lime Rock and New Hampshire International Speedway. I always wanted a little more power, a little more performance and kept up-classing myself."
A regular at the Saab Owners National Convention, Proposki installed a new suspension in time for the 1997 meet in Waterville Valley, N.H. Heavy-duty Bilstein shocks were teamed with 1.5-in. lowering Jamex Springs and located by new reinforced lower A-arms and TRW balljoints. Polyurethane bushings replaced the stock units and also hold the Swedish Auto Specialties (SAS) 25mm swaybars. Proposki finds the suspension "always impresses passengers on the track."
He had already started to think about freshening the rest of the 900 when "Saab came out with its Viggen, in that BLUE," said Proposki. "I'm such a fan of the classic 900 that I figured I would make my own Viggen. I based a lot of the changes on that car. That's why I did what I did, but I went the whole 9 yards, keeping my car somewhat streetable but fully ready for the track at all times."
In the fall of 1999 Proposki started his project. The car now had 180,000 miles on the clock, including 20,000 "tough duty" track miles. "As I got into it, my body guy said, 'We need to paint this car.' That's when the snowball happened." With visions of Lightning Blue Viggens guiding the way, "The car came apart-totally, absolutely totally apart." Everything came off or out, and the remaining metal was chemically stripped. The shell went to Dan Page Race Cars (known for its Top Fuel and Pro Stock dragster chassis) for a full rollcage. There was just enough room after the black cage was welded in to allow Proposki to sneak in a new headliner.
Julian Miller's shop, Sublime Restorations in Rowley, Mass., is responsible for the re-born 900's perfect Lightning Blue paint. The 900's exterior is 100-percent Saab despite the unique look. The "Airflow" body kit (bumper covers, side vent covers and rear dcor panel) and "whale-tail" spoiler are rare and desirable factory pieces once offered for the 900. The side cladding and flares are stock SPG bits. The gill-like air intake is a 900 hood vent Miller seamlessly grafted into the left front fender. Even the antenna is from a Viggen.