Patti is the other half of the creative dream team behind the Saab Heritage Car Museum USA; she has shared and supported Tom’s vision, and contributed countless hours of work on its behalf. Trained as a teacher with a specialization in preschool special education, Patti married into Saabs, she admits with a smile.
“My connection to Saab would be a love story. When Tom and I met, he was driving a 99 EMS, and I thought it was one of the coolest cars I’ve ever seen. We have always had Saabs, and would pick up another Saab here and there, through the years. Our family vacations would be centered around a Saab that had been discovered somewhere, so these cars have always been a big part of our lives.”
The sad demise of Saab Cars as a functioning automaker, and subsequent dissolution of the Saab portion of the GM Heritage Collection, had a life-changing effect on the Donneys; through their purchases, this family took on the crucial role of caretaker of these important cars. Still more roles have arisen since they formed the Saab Heritage Car Museum: they are now preservationists and historical interpreters.
“When Tom and I stopped and got an actual count on the number of vehicles that we had, we knew that it had gotten bigger than us,” Patti muses. “Going forward, we knew we had to do something with these vehicles to ensure their future. We wanted to make sure that people would be able to experience, and gain knowledge about these cars, well beyond our lifetime.
“It is my hope that the Museum will go on for decades to come, providing education and enjoyment to future generations. Tom and I will continue to promote, to finance, and to direct the growth and expansion of the Museum, to get the word out there.”