Not quite sure how I found this but I did, and it’s fantastic. None of us like to see a good Saab got to waste, but when it’s beyond repair what better end could it face than being re-crafted into a bike?
Back in 2010 two artists; Folke Koebberling and Martin Kaltwasser, transformed a classic Saab 900 Turbo into two fully functioning bikes. It took place at an art centre in Santa Monica, where they collaborated with a bunch of folks including students, families and children.
Using only components from the Saab including wheels, axles, steering rack, timing chain and even the jack, they craft 2 inspirational bikes – I just love the wheels.
Short film of the transformation here.
Unfortunately, not to me though.
I received an interesting email from Fahad yesterday, he’d just purchased my classic 900 convertible – from a salvage yard.
How did that happen? Just under 2 years ago, it had received plenty of love from the folks at Abbott Racing, the interior had been removed, cleaned, fed and reinstalled, I’d found a gorgeous set of rare Carlsson alloys and had plenty of other stuff done to it.
I begrudgingly had to sell, but it went to a great guy who’d always wanted a classic 900, i didn’t hear anything about it for the following year and then I spotted it driving through my home town, all still looked pretty special. Since then it’s fortunes seemed to have changed, what happened and how did it end up at a salvage yard in Cornwall?
Luckily, it’s been rescued by Fahad at Premier Tuning, and he’s passionate about Saabs. Over the coming year or so, he’ll be renovating and retuning this rare convertible to better than factory standards, I’ll try and post updates as and when I can, but you’ll be able to follow its progress over on Premier Tuning’s Facebook page.
Can’t wait to see the finished result, so glad this car has been saved, again.
We popped down to London for my daughter’s birthday earlier this week, and whilst the women did Oxford Street, my son and I went exploring the hidden backstreets of one of my favourite neighbourhoods – Spitalfields.
After enjoying the indulgent sights and smells of the market and beauty of Christ Church we walked down streets of elegantly decaying Georgian architecture, tall townhouses with wooden shutters painted in dark heritage colours and then, there it was, looking particularly at home, a classic Saab 900.
In what I’d still class as the very best combination, black with tan leather interior, Aero alloys, factory sunroof and rear spoiler, it just oozed style, you couldn’t have art directed a better setting for it – absolutely perfect.
Not sure about anyone else, but I find it difficult to think of convertibles with their hoods up, after all we buy them for the freedom of open top driving – the hoods hidden away in clever automated compartments for the most part.
When you take time to look at some older convertibles with their hood up, most seem to be design afterthoughts with inferior dynamics, but Saab got it pretty nailed down. The 900 looks as gorgeous with the hood up as it does down, the lines flow seamlessly, the rear glass window doesn’t stick out and it forms a quiet, watertight interior for when the weather’s not so good.
Things have moved on in the seventeen years since this 900 first hit the road, but I’m not entirely sure how many other marques have got a convertible quite as spot on as Saab.
Front and bumper to paint
Headlight wiper motor to replace
Warm mornings, hazy evenings, deep blue skies, 15 mile commute, what better way to spend it than in a Saab convertible.
I must admit, I feel a bit short changed if I don’t go in the convertible on days like this, don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to get back into my 9-3, but the pure, simple pleasures of the convertible are hard to beat.
Watch as the trees fly by overhead, Summer sounds as clear as if they were coming from inside the car, and even when you hit traffic, look up for a moment and enjoy utter freedom – clear skies, fresh air.
All this in a Saab that cost about the same as a night in a luxury London hotel (equally pleasurable, but short lived). The undeniable feel good factor is hard to beat for the money, look after a car like this, treat it well and it will give you years of simple pleasure, and what’s more, it still look stunning.
This is an ongoing project which so far has included new wheels, new bumper, Abbott Racing lowered springs, interior refresh – still lots to do, but for now, it’s time just to enjoy.
For the past few days the 900 has been in the Bond Street workshops being treated to a new set of Abbott Racing springs. Having been some of the first to successfully race the 900, they really do know how to get these cars to handle exceptionally well.
I’ve only had a set of the lowered and stiffened springs fitted, but wow, what a difference, the 20 mile drive home felt like I was in a different Saab – firmer with more poise to the steering, superior cornering and a tighter feel altogether.
Just as importantly, they’ve lowered the 900 by at least 30mm and the new 9-5 Aero 17’ alloys fit in there beautifully now.
Thanks to the folks at Abbott Racing and Bond Street for yet more great support, I’m sure there’ll be plenty more things to sort out in the coming months.
Right, what next?
So, it happened like this, a friend of a friend had just purchased a 9-3 convertible, and this sweet 900 convertible was for sale, we popped round to see it, and now there are three Saabs on the drive again. I was planning on the next project being a 9000 Aero, but this kind of just seemed right.
It’s a nicely relaxed, automatic 2.3i; just perfect for lazy Summer driving, it’s only covered 115,000 miles (it’ll be joining the ranks of the High Mile Club shortly) and is as smooth and elegant a drive as any convertible i’ve driven, I’m loving the colour too, a deep claret with black mohair roof.
It needs some tlc though and has already received it’s first treat – a set of 9-5 Aero 17” alloys which fit perfectly thanks to a set of MapTun 5mm spacers from the great folks at Neo Brothers. Next up, a set of Abbott Racing lowered and stiffened springs to sort out the so, so handling, a new front bumper and a few other touches to make it feel special again.
I forgot how gorgeous the dashboard is too, I love the simple analogue clock and those air vents.
More to follow on project 900, if I don’t feel too relaxed of course.