Gathered under stormy skies

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This weekend saw an impressive gathering of Saabs, new, old and rare for the 2017 Saab Owners Club SaabFest UK. The gathering took place in Hatton Country World, Warwickshire, which proved to be a pretty special location – plenty of space to really showcase our cars.

Sadly, being my disorganised self, I only found out about the event two days before so could only go for one day, I would have loved to get stuck in, chatted Saabs and drunk a few beers for the night, next year maybe.

Needless to say, it was an absolute delight to see so many cars, I’d say close to 500, including a handful of beautifully turned out Sonnetts a unique Saab Friction Test car, some super rare Carlssons and enough others to represent the entire Saab line up from beginning to end, even a spectacularly beautiful 9-3 Independence convertible turned up.

Even though I’ve owned some 15 Saabs and counting, I still feel inspired when I see how much love and attention goes in to keeping these cars on the road. In recent years many Saabs have been scrapped for various reasons, but there continues to be a loyal cult following with an unfading appetite to care for, customise and manufacture bespoke kit to keep the rest going for many, many more years to come – including myself.

Part of the pleasure of these events for me, is being able to take a few photos of other owner’s Saabs – collected to share, inspire and reference against on future projects, I usually over indulge, so will need to spread the love over a few posts.

Thanks to Saab Owners Club for organising such a great gathering, I’d suggest Hatton might be an ideal location for future events, with room for plenty more cars to join us.

p.s. If your Saab’s featured, I really hope you don’t mind, and congratulations, they’re all amazing cars, we should be massively proud of them.

 

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More photos to follow soon.

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Objet D’Aero

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For the past few months, I’ve had everything required to take the 9-3 convertible to its next stage of tuning including a DO88 upgraded intercooler, Maptun hoses and BSR induction kit. But there’s been one item that has taken rather longer to arrive, a handcrafted down pipe by APH Performance.

When it finally arrived last week I realised it had been worth the wait, it really is a thing of beauty, in fact, it’s almost a shame to hide it away deep in the engine bay of the Aero, so I decided to take a few photos of it first, makers fingerprints included. It’s an all stainless steel construction, TIG welded and purged, v band joints and 3” free flow throughout, beautiful.

The convertible is already booked in at Malcolm Miles who will get it running close to 300hp when everything is fitted. It’ll also have another remap by Karl at Noob Tune just to make it run as sweet as it can.

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Return to the fold

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Whenever I hear about someone either buying a Saab for the first time, or returning to the fold, I feel a sense of pride. I feel pleased to hear about someone else who’ll look after another Saab for the future.

M from Scotland recently sent me a few snaps of his very smart 2007 9-3 Aero 2.8T. He’d been an Aero owner previously, but after several years of V8’ing, has found his way back. Since purchasing the 42,000 mile 9-3, M has been busy getting it exactly how he wants it, adding a set of 19” RS6 alloys (which seriously suit it), Hirsch diffuser and discreet rear boot spoiler, he’s also had a Stage 1 remap delivering a healthy 292hp and 440nm.

And that’s not quite it yet “I’ve just purchased a set of Hirsch grills (mostly broken) but I plan on putting the jigsaw back together and then painting them gloss black (mostly to hide the Glue)”.

Thanks for sharing and look forward to see the front grille all in place.

Saab vs Scepticism. It’s Official

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The site now has a proper domain – saabvsscepticism.co.uk

I began this journey back in 2012 when a lot of folks thought I was either stupid, eccentric, crazy or all of the above. I’d chosen to buy one of the last remaining, brand new 9-3 TTiDs around, not only that, I then proceeded to kit it out with almost the entire Hirsch product range – to me, this was possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I wanted to show all the Saab sceptics out there just how special these cars are, so I started this site.

After 4 years I’m still passionate about Saabs and the site has thrived despite out world changing around us. I no longer have the Hirsch 9-3, but have owned another 4 since, currently a 9-3X TTiD and a 9-3 HOT Aero convertible, my passion for not only Saab but also what they stand for isn’t fading, so I thought it was about time to make it official – I registered a proper domain.

It seems the site has not only been of interest to others, but inspired and persuaded some to invest in Saabs too, I count at least 10 so far which makes me a bit proud. I don’t, and never will class the site as anything special, but here are just a few figures notched up over the last 4 years:

500,000 views
114 countries
245 posts
100 High Mile Club Saabs
1,000 images

Not bad for a marque people are so sceptical about is it?

Made in Sweden

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I always knew there would be far more Saabs in Sweden than here in England, but I wasn’t quite prepared for their overwhelming presence, they seemed to line literally every leafy street.

What was so satisfying to see was that they’re still part of everyday life, hidden on Archipelago driveways and in secret Stockholm courtyards, shopping centre car parks and elegant cobbled streets of the old town of Gamla Stan.

I felt at ease in Sweden, almost like home, it wasn’t just being surrounded by Saabs, but everything they’ve come to represent – simple, refined style, understated and elegant, yet utterly modern and unique in a world of conformity.

These Saabs are an integral part of Swedishness, they remain a highly visible reminder of the exceptional, innovative design capability of the country and proudly whisper to every traveller ‘Made in Sweden’

I returned home feeling highly privileged to be part of such a great heritage – I’ll be back.

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More Blogging. Less Enjoying

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It’s been a few weeks since I last posted, in fact I’ve got a number of things to go up, but haven’t had the time, no excuses, I’ve just been out there enjoying the Saab.

The weather may not be perfect, it may change from minute to minute, but I’ve grabbed every opportunity to enjoy the 9-3 Aero convertible. I stopped for a moment this morning to take in the beauty and silence on an early morning road, only to turn around and see the Saab looking more like an artist’s canvas, dappled sunlight covering its entire body.

More upgrades to the Aero are being planned, but right now I’m enjoying it too much to miss a day driving it, Summer’s short, Stage 3 can wait a few months.

Crafting a couple of bikes from a classic Saab 900

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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.