Resurrecting a Classic. Crafting an Outlaw

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Over 3 months ago I purchased what looked like a very nicely maintained 900 classic in Scarab Green, all I can say is, looks can be deceiving.

It’s previous keeper had owned it for a number of years together with another 900 classic and had come to a point where he couldn’t maintain both, so advertised this one for sale. On the surface of it, it drove beautifully, had reasonably tidy bodywork and a decent interior. We collected it from Birmingham and had a pleasant return journey.

Morning came and I went outside to find 2 flat tyres and a flat battery, hum, not a good start. I got the foot pump out, boosted the battery from the 9-3 convertible and got it down to Malcom Miles as fast as I could – until a few weeks ago, that’s where it’s been, intensive care for Saabs.

Although it was pretty solid overall, it had rusted in pretty much every normal area these classics go in. After nearly £500 on welding alone, including a partial front end rebuild, it was given a full waxoil and finally feels as though it’s back to its tank like solidity again.

Although it already seemed to drive beautifully, it’s undergone a full and thorough service, with new radiator, brake discs and pads, a full stainless steel exhaust, thermostat, correct battery, hoses, wires and numerous other items to ensure reliability for years to come. We’ve sorted the stance too, Abbott Racing lowered springs and a set of Bilstein shocks.

This is never going to be a perfect example of a classic 900, but I wanted to keep another great Saab on the road, an everyday driver that wore its battle scars with pride, a Saab Outlaw shall we say. I’ve gone for a set of 17 inch graphite, 5 spoke alloys from Driftworks with slightly stretched Falken rubber, we’ve changed the dash over for one without a million cracks and also managed to pop in a full on Turbo cluster with working Turbo gauge.

In my normal excitement I also purchased everything required to convert it in to an Aero spec T16S – body kit, Turbo, ECU, Intercooler and even the Turbo badges, but as this is a father and son project and will be enjoyed by us both, we’re leaving it off until his initial new driver issues have been overcome, an LPT is plenty enough for now!

I had secretly kept a set of 9000 Aero front seats to pop in, but the grey velour ones already fitted are ridiculously comfortable and are pretty much in perfect condition, so they’ll remain for now.

Next up, I’m currently searching for an old school roof rack and rear window louvers, so if anyone knows of some available, please, please give me a shout, i’d be forever grateful.

*Photos courtesy of my iPhone 6 only (sorry).

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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

 

Last of the Summer Drives

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I count each and every day with even a glimpse of blue sky a blessing, as Autumn approaches and the nights draw in, there will be less and less opportunity to get the roof down and go for a drive in the 9-3 convertible. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to shy away from four season topless driving, but let’s face it, you can’t beat a Saab convertible when the sun’s out and warming your soul.

Sunday welcomed us with vast blue skies and soft wispy clouds, so with the roof down we headed out for a drive through the surrounding countryside, it was warm enough to have the side windows down too and gave me the opportunity to appreciate the clean, timeless lines of the 9-3. It might be 15 years old now, but in my eyes, there really hasn’t been many new convertibles that surpass the Saab for it’s beauty, the Aero body kit by Ian Callum and lowered stance help of course, but even in their standard form, these cars have stood the test of time gracefully and are still ridiculously great value if you can find a good one.

Passing endless cornfields towering above our heads, it perfectly expressed what driving a convertible is all about – enjoying every little moment life has to offer.

Pimp My Saab

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So, it was the last local car meet of the season, and possibly the largest turnout I’ve ever seen, clear skies over nearly a 1000 cars of all shape and sizes, likeminded folks talking exhaust fabrication, stance and tyre stretch and the evening was finished off nicely with a perfect setting sun.

Last month there were a handle full of Saabs present, most were there again, but this one I hadn’t seen before, an immaculate black 9-3 saloon, from the interior, it looked like a standard Linear model, but that’s where standard stopped, twin exhausts, tints, dropped suspension and 18” alloys with heavily stretched rubber.

Love it or hate it, it was definitely a very well loved Saab and another one kept on the road for us all.

RAT Look Saab, Netherland Style

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Always love hearing about unusual Saabs from around the globe, especially ones that don’t conform.

A few years ago I featured some RAT Look Saabs, a style not often associated with or applied to Saabs for some reason. These aren’t pristine, Concours cars, or in contrast to popular belief, not badly maintained either. It’s a style that has to be considered and designed, the base car often better and faster than most everyday cars.

I received a great email from P in the Netherlands recently, he’s currently turning his ’96 trackday 9-3 into a RAT Look Saab. It features Independence rims clad in Toyo intermediate rubber, sitting on Koni / Eibach lowered suspension. TD04 turbo, forge dump valve, sport downpipes, upgraded front brakes, strut bar and is running stage 3 to around 250hp, whilst the interior features a set of Porsche race seats. Oh, and it’s covered some 250,000 kilometres throughout it’s exciting life.

It also features a rare Saab bike lift to keep P’s Ridley road bike safe, and perfectly finishes off this RAT Look Saab.

Bridgestone over trouble water

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A few would tell me new tyres on the 9-3 have been a long time coming, too long, in fact I might have got into trouble if I hadn’t changed them!

The 9-3 Aero has been in need of new tyres pretty much since I purchased it 2 years ago, not that they were illegal, more the combination of Summer and Winter tyres and varying degrees of wear.

Concentrating more on the fun things – 2.3 block, new turbo, exhaust, lowered suspension, springs (the list goes on), but obviously each and every upgrade puts more emphasis on the tyres to perform well, so it was time, new tyres.

This might be painful for some Saab folk to hear, but both my Lexus (sorry) and Porsche (sorry) run on Bridgestone, both perform amazingly well, so the Saab had to have Bridgestone too. After a bit of research, I found a wonderfully gorgeous type called the Potanza Adrenalin. Reviews gave them seriously high ratings with great grip in wet and dry conditions, a more connected drive, low road noise and excellent longevity.

A very reasonable £320 and a few hours later, the Saab is now proudly sitting on brand new rubber, and from a short drive, it already feels so, so much better. I’m looking forward to a proper, spirited drive home later to see how they really enhance the Saab.

‘Saab, because you’re worth it ‘.