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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Saving Saturn: A different kind of car collector | Hagerty Media

The most interesting car collection you've never heard of lives in a subdivision just outside Princeton, New Jersey. Nestled between patches of bucolic farmland and aging equestrian stables, in the cool shadow of a nature preserve, the neighborhood looks like any other.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/people/saving-saturn-a-different-kind-of-car-collector/
96 REPLIES 96
Targaturbo1
New Driver

This is gonna be me but with 914s in a couple of years!
Lou2
Pit Crew

First new car I bought when I came back to the states was 2003 black Quad coupe.Suicide doors gauges in the middle of the dash,got my picture taken with the sales person(Bunny?).I enjoyed it but thought it would be better if it had more power.
In 2005 traded it in for a blue Quad coupe Redline super charged 2 liters.Now that car was a gas to drive.Second and third gears were when the super charger would really do its thing up to the point of redlining then the engine would shut itself down.The first couple of times I thought i blew the engine then I realized what was happening and learned to let off or shift be for it would redline.Kind of ironic name Redline.
It was one of the ignition recalls of GM cars.My son was driving it when someone stoped in front of him and when he went to break the car just shut down and he rear ended the car with no brakes and no air bag deployment.He was fine but the car was totaled.
I still look regularly for another quad coupe redline.
Luckily my wife tells me no.Remembering the ignition recall
Rider79
Instructor

How could he have had no brakes? No POWER brakes, maybe, but the brakes should still have worked - just with more pressure needed.
impala409
Pit Crew

My son's girlfriend just sold her 91 red two door stick about four months ago. Car still ran strong, just brakes, battery, tires, clutch, minor tune-up, all it ever required. Around 170000 miles, she still got $1900 for it. She now drives a 92 Ford Escort 2 door automatic, Magenta paint and in near new condition (55000miles)
mwmyers91
Detailer

OK ???? Thers's a ass for every seat I guess
1972Mach1
New Driver

Great story on the Saturn. That is why I like about Hagerty.
Eric
Hagerty Employee

thank you!
grumburg
Intermediate Driver

Good for her!!!! Car collecting is not just Porsches and Corvettes. Can be just as much fun finding that elusive part or trinket as any Hirth roller crank or Rochester fuel injection unit. We need to save the everyday cars too!
MoparMan
Advanced Driver

It takes a special person to pursue an obsession with such diligence! I think it's really kool and wish you continued success in your saving and restoration of Saturns!! 🙂
1970Riv
Pit Crew

li'l girl's got TMM
Rider79
Instructor

"TMM" - The Muppet Movie?
themrfreeze
New Driver

Good for her! I owned two Saturns and am still kicking myself 11 years later for selling my '01 SL2 because I thought I needed something bigger. They're good, tough little cars that are (for the most part) simple by nature and easy to work on.

If I could find a low mileage 5-speed (preferably an SW2) I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
Utopia1
Detailer

I actually sold Saturn's for a while back in the late '90's. They were good cars, the plastic panels were novel and held up well and the dealer service (at least at my store) was very good for this price of car at the time (a full wash and vacuum with every service was not common back then). But yes, like everything GM does well, they eventually ruin it. The "2-series" were the ones to get with the DOHC as this was the way the engine was originally designed but then it was felt a cheaper version would be better for the base cars for a price point. So the SOHC was developed quickly before launch. The SOHC would eventually pop a head gasket or burn oil while the DOHC engine rarely ever suffered those issues.
I really admire any young person that follows a passion (especially when its cars!) and strongly dislike anyone effectively saying "eww, why Saturn's?". We may all have our favorites but at the end of the day, it's the passion we all share for these "things" on four wheels. Same passion, different outlet. And anyway, it's not like she's into Dodge's or something foolish! Just kidding...or am I? 🙂
Runit2ice
New Driver

Most enjoyable Hagerty article I’ve read so far!
Eric
Hagerty Employee

much appreciated!
RobertLLR
Intermediate Driver

Way to go girl! Passion, commitment, and technical creds. J is an car enthusiast's enthusiast!
TG
Instructor

The 77 Cadillac hearse is more my speed but there is a collector for anything
I always wondered if some of the odder lower rung economy models would survive into the future. i guess i have my answer. Somebody somewhere must have a yard full of Chevy Citations and Ford Escorts
jessieleigh2794
Intermediate Driver

gotta love that hearse (and how it brings me all those saturns)!!
Rider79
Instructor

Cool story, about a girl with a passion - and a mission. Glad she is not into Ions, though; they were a slap in the face of first-gen Saturn owners looking for another Saturn, and probably were at least part of why Saturn eventually died.
Eric
Hagerty Employee

yup, she's adamant that she collects S-Series only. She did, however, convince each of her parents to buy Vues as daily drivers.
chrlsful
Instructor

wouldnt mind a wagon...
farna
Detailer

The original Saturn concept was great, and obviously worked -- until GM started messing with it. Bigger cars.... why? You want a bigger car, by a Buick. Or a Chevy. The original Saturn SC1 and 2 were great small cars, leave the company to do what it did best and not grow to try to sell everything! As Saturn owners grow their families and want or need something bigger they naturally want something from the company they like, but it's just not always practical. The original GM concept would have worked well, but they screwed that a few years after Durant was kicked out....
Ruchia
New Driver

A girl after my own heart.

I currently still own several .

two

SC-2 and one SC-1 which is getting a rebuild. Regardless of what people say decent cars,Acceptable performance and amazing gas mileage.

I am constantly on the lookout for low mileage SC2 cars with a 5 spd.

they still make great commuters, reliable, easy to work on, mileage superb. GM does what it always does, killed it off. If GM kept it pure , kept the S series, maybe turbocharged, people I think would have continued buying them.

jessieleigh2794
Intermediate Driver

the sad thing is that the scx was shown to the public to be the 2003 sc2 turbo, but we all know how 2003 turned out to be 😞 an sc2 with a turbo and the expression series... i probably would have bought it (even though i was only 9 when this was happening). would have been a real saturn gem today
sytydave
Pit Crew

I read the title and I had my skepticism on, but it was an interesting article.

One of my car guys friends uses a Saturn as daily driver. About 5 years ago, it got into an accident and was totaled. It was late 90's model and it had 325k miles, I said something to him along the line of you can now buy yourself a new nicer daily driver. Much to my surprise, he was all pissed off. It was super reliable, got decent gas mileage and he like driving it. He went out and bought another late 90's Saturn and still drives it to this day.
TheFlow
Pit Crew

I am very impressed by this young lady! Ignore the put downs... I have cars that folks don’t care for that I love. You mostly do it for yourself, your passion. I had 2 Saturns, good dependable cars (SC and SL) and easy to maintain. I currently have a 1988 Dodge Daytona 2.2 Turbo with intercooler. In good shape, these cars get positive comments whenever seen. The fact is that you don’t see many of these vehicles, glad she is preserving them.
jessieleigh2794
Intermediate Driver

i'm actually really surprised by how little negativity i have been receiving from this article. i expected a lot more. there is a lot of nostalgia tied to the saturn s-series. i mean they scream 90s. i chose saturns because they make me happy and thats what matters 🙂
TheFlow
Pit Crew

I’m happy.  I have (only 6 cars) from  ‘51 Willys, AMX, ‘88 Daytona I mentioned, etc.  At some shows I have had these side by side and enjoy the viewers going by with ‘memories’ the most!  That is what 

you are helping to keep, memories.

stevedale
Pit Crew

Jessieleigh -- just a note to say I really enjoyed this article. Is always a positive to read about a person like you who is into something that is positive. Is way to easy to spend time, money and effort on things that aren't encouraging to others. I don't have a collection like yours but have a couple of older vehicles that I enjoy working on. Keep it up -- tell your friend I love the hearse. Who wouldn't want to cruise around in something like that?? :-))
Highwatermark
New Driver

My mom has subscribed to Consumer Reports for decades, and I'd always go through the annual car issue to see which brands and models were the best in terms of reliability. Flipping the pages, you see a see or red, and it was usually Honda or Toyota. The all black ratings were typically the GM and Chrysler pages - Ford, with their Quality is Job 1 slogan were usually in the middle of the road, and the European brands ranged from average to well below. Then along came Saturn, every bit as red as Honda and Toyota, at least for the first several years. The ONLY American car that could boast such high reliability ratings. I ended up leasing a used SL2 for a few years, and it gave me cheap, reliable transportation, and was actually the first car I ever owned that I could unlock the door with the press of a button on my key fob! (OK, it was the first car I owned that was built post 1990). As time went by, those all-red ratings plunged into darkness, until a wheel fell off one of the Vue's they tested during an emergency maneuver, which earned them the Consumers Union kiss of death, right up there with the Corvair and the Suzuki Samurai.
Saturn's weren't the best looking car out there, but as a proof-of-concept, they were really successful. Too bad they were choked out by corporate stupidity, and never got the chance to grow and thrive.
nflowers
New Driver

OMG, I love this story. My first car was a Saturn, I think I bought it in 1992-it was the SL and my Dad co-signed. It was $10,000 and lasted 10 years and over 100,000 miles. Huge fan!
LyleFisher
Pit Crew

Keep up the good work Jessieleigh!!!! I hope you can save a Redline while you are at it.
jessieleigh2794
Intermediate Driver

thank you! i only have one redline at the moment. i don't plan on getting anymore, but i wouldn't turn down a redline sky. i actually bought a vue redline and fixed it up for my mom, so that it the only redline
OldRoad
Instructor

Judging by this very substantial comments section this Saturn Salvage Gang have a very large fan base. Hope you girls enjoy long term success.
Guitar74
Gearhead

I think it's cool that you have found a vehicle that you are passionate about. When the Saturn first came to market, it was a very unique car. It's a shame that G.M., like was already mentioned in another comment, decided to ruin it. 

WOJ
Intermediate Driver

I remember an episode of the ELLEN show where they were lampooning the cult like following of the car ... the gatherings which people flocked to in droves to the "birth place" of their car
BobMack
New Driver

I love the passion. What a great story. Women motorheads, awesome!!
Fliptheflyer
New Driver

Ha.... And I thought some of my automotive obessessions were off beat. Regardless of how they tried to spin it, Saturn failed because of the typical corporatist attitude that GM continues to bring to the general public to this day. From the gestation to the miserable death of this brand, it was an unmitigated disaster.

While the marketing and dealership strategies were a fresh departure, GM failed to recognize yet again why Honda and Toyota almost pushed them out of the small car segment during the 90's.... They forgot to produce a competitive car.

After a couple of short years of interest, they were consigned to the age old trick of rebadging the same schlock from Chev, Pontiac and Buick. Hell didn't those horrid Vue things have a Honda engine for a bit?

Oh well... To each their own....

CitationMan
Instructor

Spot on Flip.  The successful formula, Accord & Civic, Camry & Corolla, has been apparent for decades, but GM just didn’t get it. Total management failure to this day. 

wirekat
Pit Crew

Great article and interview. I love wrenching with my kid and I'm sure her dad is proud of her passion.
jessieleigh2794
Intermediate Driver

i believe he is 🙂 he used to rebuild cars with his cousin and best friend (my uncle mentioned at the end of the article) and drag race every weekend. unfortunately that stopped before i was born but he always took the chance to bring me to a car show, show me cool cars in parking lots, and bring me to the drag strip. also my uncle would have Nascar parties all summer long which just kept the car loving vibe alive. I got the Miata to be my father daughter project so we would have something that we did together before "old age" took over his body. The Miata is completed thankfully 🙂
brofizz1
New Driver

This gal turns me on, she's a keeper. I wish I was about 30 years younger.
ImpalaDan1958
New Driver

Awesome read! Its always wonderful to see someone really enthusiastic about something because they really love and enjoy it. Much of what you see online these days with regard to cars is tied to a profit motive. Nothing wrong with that but awesome to see someone eager to preserve and collect because they love it. She may be to Saturn what Randy Ema is to Duesenburg!
ELDee
Pit Crew

Love this story, congrats to jessieleigh for finding her passion. How she can afford to register & insure all these cars is a mystery best kept that way, along with keeping the town at bay for having so many vehicles in the driveway!
My experience with Saturns was not as positive, tried to race them for a couple of years and blew up motors left and right. One was a 4 door I bought for an experiment, went pretty quick right away but the old story of 'just 1 more lap'! My apologies to everone at Lime Rock that day, dumped all the oil in Big Bend with a huge hole in the block 😄
Torchmini
New Driver

What a great project by this most interesting gal. I was right at the front of the line to get a Saturn when they emerged. I had read every article about what GM was doing in Springhill. My local dealer was set up just blocks from my house. I owned a '93 and a '96 SW2, then bought a '99 SL2 Homecoming, which I drove until 2008 ( when I could no longer resist owning a Mini Cooper). They were fun and reliable cars which never saw a dent or speck of rust. I hope her collection might become a 'museum' that could be visited someday if I ever get back towards the East coast.
brb
Advanced Driver

Jessieleigh, Saturn's angel, or would she prefer hellhound? Great article!

Saturn was one of the few bright spots in GM's decades of blah. A pity it was crushed. Not surprising, but a pity.
OldsAurora
New Driver

Jessieleigh, if you see this, know that I love what you are doing. As some who's passion is Oldsmobile Aurora's, I understand the love for cars that are considered orphan cars, or the ones that are considered unloved.

I used to have a 2000 SW2 and a 2008 Outlook. The SW2 was a great little car. If it was a stick, I would have hung onto it. I had a lot of fun with that little car. I keep an eye out for a stick gen 3 wagon in decent shape, but as I am in Michigan, that can be a challenge. Wouldn't mind having a 91 non airbag car either, just for the sheer weirdness of it.

Keep it up!