Raw Saabs

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Having run Saab vs. Scepticism for over 4 years now, one of the questions I get asked most is “can I still get parts if I buy a Saab”. I seem to have been super lucky with the folks at Malcolm Miles, as they’ve been able to source any part we’ve required without trouble.

But what’s so great about the Saab community is that you’ll constantly discover new people and places with the same passion for keeping our Saabs on the road and Raw Saab is one of them. Peter Raw contacted me about my 9-5 Aero Hirsch, and let slip that he also runs a small, dedicated Saab parts and cars company, mostly specialising in OG 9-3 and 9-5 parts, but can also lay his hands on plenty of other parts too.

It really is a treasure trove, and I was amazed at the value compared to other suppliers. So next time you need something, get in touch with these folks and see if they can help. Great work Raw Saab.

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9-5 Aero Hirsch for sale

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Sometimes, life seems to overwhelm you and time becomes a distant memory. I’ve struggled to stay afloat with even the basic essentials, let alone the site, but another year, another opportunity to get back on track and motivated. This leads me to make a confession, I’m a diehard petrolhead, there, I’ve said it. Saabs are obviously deep rooted, but I also have other obsessions including an air cooled Porsche 911 which take time too. This obsession causes issues, parking for one, I already abuse the generosity of neighbours either side of our home, but have now spilled out onto the road, that’s not good, so at least one car has go.

The 9-5 Aero Hirsch was always a project Saab, I set out to right the wrongs on this great car and to ensure it lasted for at least another 10 years. I’ve spent over £1,500 sorting things out and although I haven’t got around to the final cosmetic stage, I just haven’t got the time or energy to finish it all off.

I won’t go in to all of the car’s details as I listed it for sale on EBay last night. It really is an exceptional Saab, ridiculously comfortable, relaxing, quiet, fast and pretty rare, I’ve only ever seen a handful of 9-5’s with this level of Hirsch kit on, it’s as close to a full Hirsch Troll R as you’ll get without it actually being one.

I’d toyed with the idea of transplanting the 18” alloys on to my Aero convertible, but decided I’d be good and leave it as a whole, not sure if that’s the right choice, but hej.

Righting wrongs and wronging rights

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The work continues on the 9-5 Aero Hirsch, it’s had it’s second trip to the folks at Malcolm Miles. New water pump, cam belt, sub frame bushes, new air con pipes to replace ones that had been warn through by constant rubbing with other pipes, and the manifold has been removed to replace broken studs together with a new gasket.

The drive is noticeably improved, no squeaking from the warn belt, no blowing from the manifold and the refreshed engine seems to be pulling beautifully. I’d forgotten just how well put together the 9-5s are – superbly relaxed and effortless in the city and manically fast when there are clear roads ahead.

My idea is to keep buying rare or unusual Saabs and bring them back to a standard that allows them to stay on the road for many more years. This one had obviously been lovingly cared for in the past, but recently has had less attention lavished on it. At the moment, I’m in two minds as to whether to have the bonnet and front grille resprayed, as the rest of the car seems to have the original paintwork, besides, I kind of like cars that tell a story.

I’ve also been repeatedly advised to swap the Hirsch alloys and pop them on my 9-3 convertible, the double Y spokes look fantastic on the 9-5s so that might be the next change, together with the addition of a boot lip to finish off the rear styling.

In the meantime, I’m hugely enjoying driving the 9-5, the new Hirsch carbon dash looks stunning and with the super rare luxury spec, the family are enjoying it too – the rear heated seats are an absolute dream on rainy days.

Oh, and it’s had a shiny new bonnet badge to claim back it’s proud identity.

Saab 9-5 Aero Hirsch update

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Whilst I’ve been away relaxing in Canada for the past 3 weeks, the new Saab has been with Jason at Malcolm Miles for its health check and a number of detailing items that needed doing.

Most importantly, it needed a service, so the sump has been dropped and cleaned, new oil and filters added and the old gearbox oil changed. The Hirsch exhaust mount had broken on one side, and after a ridiculously slow conversation with Hirsch in Switzerland it became utterly clear they really couldn’t be bothered to answer properly, let alone help out (thanks for supporting Saab owners Hirsch), so Jason has managed to weld the bracket instead. It’ll be returning to the workshop in a few weeks for a new water pump, fix a broken stud in the cylinder head and pop a new belt on.

Non essential items have also been taken care of – a new door rubber fitted, a broken door card capping replaced and the latch altered to remove a slight gap. The all important bonnet badge has been replaced by a shiny new one, and I managed to pick up a genuine Hirsch carbon fibre dash from CardYourCar which has also been fitted and looks absolutely superb together with the Hirsch steering wheel.

I’m always happy once a new Saab has been to the workshop, not only do I trust the folks to do everything required to keep the car maintained beautifully, but it also gives them the opportunity to do a thorough review of the car, what’s good, what’s bad and even ugly, then I can work my way through everything to get the car as I want it.

I knew this Saab had been lavishly specified with virtually every optional extra, and I also knew it had an almost Hirsch Troll R spec list, but Jason also noticed it has an upgraded intercooler and decent induction filter too, leaving only a bespoke ECU upgrade by Karl at Noob on my list of wants.

Next on the list, the Hirsch alloys will be refurbished and new tyres fitted, the bonnet and bumper resprayed and a rear boot lip painted and fitted.

Just the way it is

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After spending almost the entire day yesterday on the interior of the 9-5, I only needed to grab a few hours this morning to clean and moisturise the leather and give the carpets a thorough shampoo and brush up. The smoke smell still remains, but has already been greatly reduced, someone has kindly given me a tip to help with that (thanks Kent), but am surprised at just how beautifully it has all cleaned up.

It was one of few hot days we’ve had here in the UK this Summer, so thought i’d grab a few photos of the 9-5 pretty much as it arrived, except for the shiny headlights of course.

Even thought there is plenty of work to do to bring this Saab up to scratch, I’m loving the stance the Hirsch suspension provides, and those alloys, wow.

9-5 Aero Hirsch Rescue Mission

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For the past few months I’ve been tirelessly searching for another interesting Saab that required some loving and maybe a tweak or two here and there, a few weeks ago I found one.

A random Autotrader search popped up a 2005 Saab 9-5 HOT Aero saloon in black, it had a pretty basic description and a few photos, but it only took the first one to have me hooked. What were described as 17” alloys in the copy seemed to be 18” Hirsch 6 spoke alloys in the photo, I did my best to zoom in to the image, and there, on the tyre (for from clear to see) ‘R18’.  Further pictures featured a Hirsch front grille, stainless steel twin exhaust and a seriously good looking Hirsch steering wheel, it also appeared to be a lot lower than normal Aeros, so might have Hirsch suspension, but I couldn’t be sure – none of these Hirsch features where mentioned in the description however.

The Saab was in Bristol, and as I had no time to go and see it, I took a leap of (Saab blindness) faith and bought it. A couple of weeks later the dealer finally managed to find a driver to deliver it to its new home. All I can say, is that it’s arrived just in time, it’s far from the best example, but at some point in its life, has been lavished with care and loved as a Saab like this should be. It has an original specification I’d have plumped for myself- perforated sport leather interior in sand, heated and ventilated front and rear, folding mirrors, sat nav and after further inspection, full Hirsch lowered suspension too.

The list of things to do isn’t short however, It was loved once, but from the general condition and cleanliness, that must have been a few years ago. The headlights were completely cloudy with a textured surface, scratches and large stone chips on pretty much every panel, badly kerbed front alloys, different tyres on each corner, a pretty filthy interior with a stale smell of smoke emanating from it the moment you open the door and leather that has lost some of its suppleness and beauty.

Pretty much before doing anything else, I put a call in to my Saab guru, Jason at Malcolm Miles and gave him the heads up he’d be helping me with a new project (sorry Jason), and it’ll be going in soon for a serious health check, full service and general analysis of what’s possible. Initial impressions after driving it are good, no smoke, pretty tight and Hirsch suspension still feels seriously nice, I have a feeling it has also benefited from the Hirsch ECU upgrade, but I’ll be calling in the services of Karl at Noob Tune to get to it’s full potential either way.
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Saturday arrived and there was no time to waste, Autoglym headlight rescue kit at the ready and we’re off, a couple of hours work and the transformation is pretty exceptional, the 9-5’s headlights are back to their ridiculously bright, Xenon selves and almost as good as new.  The rest of the day has been spent cleaning some of the grime off the interior – dashboard, steering wheel, door panels, headlining –  all get attention with yet more Autoglym products, and it seems, that under the grime it’s in pretty decent condition.

Sunday will see the seats get some attention, leather cleaned and moisturised and carpets cleaned the best I can until I get it professionally sorted at least.

It’s going to be a long, but enjoyable rescue mission, these 9-5 Aeros are pretty special cars, but with the additional Hirsch kit, it makes it a very rare find indeed. All I have to do is keep my daughter away from the keys now!

9-5 Hirsch-Emily

Welsh Saabs

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Last week we drove down to stay with friends for a few days. Gorgeous trips on quite roads cutting through the beauty of Snowdonia, narrow country lanes with rolling hills either side and Saabs, lots of them.

Seriously, I was surprised, I think I saw more Saabs in Wales than I’ve seen for a while. I wasn’t photographically prepared so no nice shots I’m afraid, but captured all the same.

We’ll be going again soon so I’ll be prepared next time.