For those of you that follow the blog, you’ll know how much time, effort and money has gone in to my 9-3 HOT Aero convertible, but the time has come to pass it on to another Saab guardian and move on to another Saab project.
I’m still not entirely sure I’m being logical about this, but it feels right and there’s little more I can do on this one. It’s super fast and yet understated, it’s comfortable, reliable and puts a huge grin on my face every time I drive it, especially with the roof down, any season.
I’ve set an extremely sensible reserve sub £5k in the hope that another enthusiast will grab it and enjoy it as much as I have done, but without breaking the bank. I still ask myself, what other car could provide this much individuality for that price?
Although I’ve listed everything on eBay, here are the highlights :
Bilstein B8 shocks
Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin tyres
9000 Aero 2.3 B234 bottom end
Jetex stainless Steel exhaust
APH ‘Albert’ Performance stainless steel downpipe
DO88 intercooler / MapTun hoses
BSR Induction kit
Upgraded fuel pump
Bespoke Noob Tune 300hp (Stage 4+)
9-5 Aero 308mm upgraded discs and callipers
Steering rack clamp
Saab Wind Deflector
Upper mesh grille
Upgraded headlight bulbs
Without putting it in for a Dyno test, the 300hp, Stage 4 is a conservative estimate by the lovely folks at Malcolm Miles who’ve worked on this since I bought it back in 2014.
You’ll find loads of posts on it’s progression within these pages, and I’ve very possibly missed out half the things I’ve done to it over the years. Feel free to ask questions. Please god let it go to someone who loves Saabs and will appreciate it.
Here’s the eBay listing
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.
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.
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.
A few weeks ago I received an email from Matt, telling me Saab vs. Scepticism was to blame for him buying a non-running Saab HOT Aero convertible on EBay.
An entire story of the preceding weeks ensued, and rather than water it down, I’ve included it as a pdf, raw and unabridged at the bottom of the post. Needless to say, rescuing a Saab isn’t always going to be easy, but it’ll sure put a smile back on your face.
“I fell asleep dropping the phone directly on my face, which woke me up with a smack, I lifted my phone from my neck, ready to put it down for the night when, there it was, a 2002 Saab 9-3 just like the one I wanted. Well not just like it but, the potential was there and that was good enough
The full story, raw and unabridged SvsS_Rescuing a 93 HOT Aero
Sometimes I catch a glimpse of the Saab and think ‘wow’ – it’s usually when I’m not expecting it either. I stand for a while and admire the shape, I can’t help thinking just how amazing these still look, it feels absolutely timeless. It really is a privilege to be able to own and maintain such an iconic Saab.
Right, time to go for a quick drive I think.
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.
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.
So, rather than me continuing my search for a new Saab on EBay / Autotrader / Gumtree / ClassicCarsForSale etc, I had an idea, why not see if another Saabist wants a swap.
What I’m after is a 9000 Aero, manual, well looked after and with a sunroof if possible, can be a bit stanced and tuned although that’s also what I’d like to do when I find the right one. Needs to be lower than 200,000 miles and have a decent service history, any colour except red or white would suit fine, but Sabre Green, Black or Dark Grey perfect, oh and have Aero / super Aero alloys or something a bit different.
What would you get in return? A very lovely, fast, reliable 9-3 HOT Aero convertible that’s been lavished with goodies for the past couple of years. Running at around 280+ hp, (think Viggen, but better). Lowered with a Bilstein / Maptun setup, new Bridgestone Potanza all round, stainless steel exhaust, new turbo, clutch…the list goes on.
I was planning to pop it on EBay at around £3,000, so that’s the kind of 9000 Aero value I’d be after.
Anyone got itchy Saab feet? Inbox open firstname.lastname@example.org
This for this
I must confess, I’ve had this absolutely stunning Saab HOT Aero sitting in my inbox for a rather long time, as have a number of other exceptional global Saabs that need sharing with everyone, only me to blame, life has a tendency to get in the way sometimes.
I must also confess my location envy, owned, enjoyed and immaculately maintained by Pino, this Aero resides next to the coast in Trieste, Italy. It’s a 2001 Saab with Hirsch mods in a abundance – 5 spoke alloys, aluminium pedals, interior panels and an amazing sculptured sports steering wheel helping to handle the 265hp and 385Nm it’s currently producing.
It’s just taken up it’s rightful place as a member of the High Mile Club with 112,500 on the clock.
And if i’d have been closer when we visited Puglia last year, I’d have taken up the offer of meeting for a beer and admiring this great Aero (thanks Pino), I’ll take a rain check for sure though.