Saab vs. Porsche

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Before people start ranting that this is a blog purely for Saabs, let me validate the reasoning behind the post. I happened to mention that when not driving one of my Saabs, I also drive a classic Porsche 911, this got picked up by a fellow Saabist who asked if it would be appropriate to compare the experience? So, here we are, Saab vs. Porsche.

The Porsche is ’91 964 Carrera 4, 3.6 flat six, air cooled, modified and tuned to kick out some 280hp, in my eyes, it’s one of the most iconic cars ever crafted, I used to dream of owning a 911, and this was the model that did it for me when I was younger.

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I don’t own the Porsche to have it sitting around, it was bought to use and abuse, all year round, in all weathers, and that’s what I do on a regular basis, I don’t need a destination in mind, I just jump in and head out, often for a 50 – 100 mile B road blast, this is a car bought purely for pleasure.

Midway through a recent drive, I got a phone call to collect my son from an estate he works at, the Porsche isn’t the car to go in, so I made my way home, hopped out of the Porsche and in to the Saab 9-3 convertible, with a similar bhp of 300 – it seemed like the perfect opportunity to compare 2 very different (but similar in many ways) cars.

I won’t waste time debating the aesthetics of either car, both are beautiful, and imho, neither have ever been bettered, which brings me directly to the driving experience.

The Porsche is raw, I mean really raw, I like to call in an analogue experience, although it has PAS and ABS, we’re talking minimal intrusion, it manages to connect you directly to the road, you become part of the car quickly and with ease, you feel every trace of the road, every curve. It also feels exceptionally low and rather small compared to most modern cars.

The 3.6 air cooled, flat six produces a very distinct soundtrack, the shear noise is heavenly – although reasonably subtle at lower rpm, at around 4000 rpm it breaks in to the purest scream which keeps on building and building right through to 6500 rpm, it really is captivating. The steering is so on point it’s hard to imagine anything better, the gears are again, pure analogue, you feel the beautifully engineered H box as it slips from gear to gear, and the handling gives you the confidence to power on through corners in pretty much any weather.

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I did a 1000 miles in a week recently, I drove it up to North Wales, through Snowdonia and to the coast, I took it in to the city, to meetings and home again, not once did I get bored. The Porsche is a real, time honoured driver’s car, it has earned its reputation as one of the finest sports cars ever made, and I for one feel completely privileged to be the keeper of one, even just for a little while.

Hop straight in to the Saab 9-3 and I realise just how high it feels, not just its stance, but its general seating position too, high, but also ridiculously comfortable. Everything is easy, the gear change is light and smooth, the steering sharp and accurate, with the suspension work it’s had done, the Saab also handles amazingly well, less analogue, but still manages to feel involved.

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The power delivery seems utterly immediate, rather than building like the Porsche, foot down and it continues to endlessly pull until it hits 6000rpm, it needs control and attention to drive, less stuck to the road, but equally exhilarating, the Saab feels faster than the Porsche, and although less involving never fails to make me smile. The 9-3 can never compete with the Porsche for sound, although with the addition of the APH downpipe, full stainless steel exhaust and BSR induction kit, it still has a hugely pleasing one with enthusiastic driving.

By no means a full comparison, but one that might give an insight in to both cars. Which do I prefer? both. If I’m honest it really depends what mood I’m in, the Saab provides exceptionally fast, easy driving and with the roof down really can’t be beaten for style and pleasure, but the Porsche, the Porsche still offers a unique and uncompromising experience that modern cars just don’t offer.

The Porsche on Instagram

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And another Classic 900 Turbo

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I know I’ve only just featured another gorgeous classic 900 Turbo from Taiwan recently, but after stumbling across this build, I couldn’t resist and had to share it. This one’s from the Netherlands, by a tuning house called KC Performance.

It’s the colour combo that got me – deep, rich carbon grey exterior with a completely bespoke, caramel brown, perforated leather interior, and it sure looks stunning. To me this is pretty much a perfect 900 Turbo, subtle styling details such as the lowered stance, white indicators and carbon touches, together with two tone Aero wheels give it an utterly timeless beauty.

Although the Saab has covered some 290,000 kilometres, the B202 engine has been subject to a complete rebuild and with the help of KC Performance mapping is now running a Stage 3 at around 240hp, a complete Simmons twin exhaust finishes things off nicely.

Full spec and refurb details here

 

Saab Seat Style

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Whilst searching for a set of suitable vintage sport seats for another car, I came across this rather nice looking beige Saab 99. I don’t have any further information on it other than the owner has fitted a set of Italian made BF Torino Nürburgring R seats, which suit the retro Saab interior beautifully.

Nice orange alloys too.

Wunderschöner Saab 900 Turbo

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Always interested in searching out the cheapest and most expensive Saabs for sale and this is a really fantastic example from Germany.

Simply described as ‘wonderful Saab 900 Turbo in Amaranth Red metallic clearcoat with Bokhara red velor deluxe carré interior . The vehicle has been extensively renovated’ from the pictures, i’d tend to agree.

With just 117,000 miles on the clock, manual gearbox, super cosy interior and a sunroof, this once really would be a keeper, even at the asking price of €15,800.

For sale here.

An Acquired Taste

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Let’s face it, we all know Saabs are an acquired taste, you either love them, live with their shortcomings and spend entire days refining them, or you just don’t. To me I quite like that there are no half measures, no middle ground. Ok, so people don’t get why we love them so much, but hey, that’s life.

I recently found this episode of TUNED featuring the seriously cool Matt Farah, I love this film, not least because it features 2 of my favourite Saabs – a classic 900 SPG and a 9-3 Viggen, but because it shows the ‘either you get it or you don’t’ Saab thing. The owner, a real Saabist, loves them, so much so he’s taken the SPG to a different level of sorted, and when he was faced with having to accommodate a family, he plumped for one of the ultimate 4 door Saabs, a 9-3 Viggen. On the other hand, although Matt Farah has some great things to say about Saabs, they just don’t float his boat.

A great film just for the sound of the 900’s turbo alone.

Canadian twin classics

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As far as Saab spotting goes, this year’s trip to Canada wasn’t a successful one, amidst a sea of bland cars I saw only a handful of Saabs, most as we were driving across Ontario, so I wasn’t able to take many photos.

However, my luck changed in the elegant Muskoka town of Gravenhurst, we’d stopped for the obligatory tourist wobble around and giant ice-cream when I saw not only one, but two classic Saabs parked outside a realtor on one of the town’s side streets.

The first was a beautiful red, well cared for 900 classic Turbo convertible whilst to other was a poorly looking black 9000 Aero. Rust had set in on the front and rear arches, the paintwork dull and interior used for a storage space, but in my eyes, well worth rescuing – if I lived in Canada I couldn’t have resisted attempting to save it though.

A number of nice 9-3 Aeros around and a 9-7 spotted in downtown Toronto, but not much else, I’ll try and do better next time.

Park Life

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Being a fully paid up petrolhead, any chance to get out and meet up with likeminded folk is always a pleasure. Luckily for me, there’s a local car and classic meet held nearby in a village called Earls Barton. It’s grown over the years and attracts a seriously varied collection of cars, including an unbadged 2016 Aston Martin work’s car, a stunningly beautiful 1960’s Nissan Skyline GT-R and a whole array of iconic Porsches, Ferraris and other exotics

Obviously what caught my eye, were a number of Saabs happily sitting alongside the great and good and holding their own very nicely. What’s so refreshing about car meets like this is that they appeal to all, from the old folks sitting in their picnic chairs next to an immaculate 99 to the slammed and anything but standard 9-3 with the biggest gold alloys I’ve ever seen squeezed on to a Saab.

A host of others from a beautiful classic 900 turbo, 9000 Aero and 9-3 convertible proved that our Saabs really do look great anywhere.