NINE HUNDRED LIVES

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In the last few months, the 900 has done itself proud. Not only has it been used pretty much as a daily driver, but has been a worthy companion for my son whilst he learns to drive. It has also taken us faultlessly on a 400 mile road trip to Snowdonia and home again.

On motorways it cruised quietly and comfortably, whilst also managing to feel as nimble as a mountain goat on the wonderfully indulgent, Snowdonian curves. It’s easy to see why so many people fall in love with these classic Saabs, they’re ridiculously easy to live with.

More recently, I joined the SaabFest in Warwickshire, where we picked up a beautifully preserved T16 leather steering wheel to replace to shabby rubber one, I’ve also crafted a set of ‘outlaw’ roof bars. I found some Yakima gutter towers on eBay, and then made the cross bars out of 30mm seasoned Oak – the natural wood looks fantastic with the Scarab Green.

As easy as it is to live with, it’s a 25 year old car, and has a lengthy to-do list, the dash lights still aren’t fixed and I need to add some new washer hoses as they keep dropping off. The new exhaust also has a tendency to knock over some bumps which needs sorting, but this truly is a fantastic car and quite rightly deserves it’s iconic status.

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Things take time

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It’s been a while since my last post, sadly, motivation has seemed to be rather low, but in the meantime, the 900 has been well and truly put through it’s paces. We’ve done almost 3,000 miles in it since it’s recovery, everything from driving lessons to road trips to Wales, it’s sat in heavy traffic, darted along winding country roads and cruised happily along motorways.

For the life of me I can’t understand why more people don’t embrace older cars as daily drivers, the 900 is ridiculously comfortable, it has electric windows and a quiet sunroof, it’s well mannered around town and has a gorgeously distinct burble when you put your foot down, it also commands quite a bit of attention. Young and old just can’t help giving it the thumbs up, from a bunch of hipster skateboarders to a very smart gentleman who couldn’t resist telling me how much he loved Saabs – he’d owned a few in the past and longed to own another.

The work continues though, the sunroof leaks when it rains heavily, the windscreen washer pipes have become brittle and keep falling off, and the new Turbo cluster still isn’t quite right, what I mean by that, is that smoke starts pouring out if I turn off the lights, and there’s no illumination at night.

We’ve also discovered the passenger side arch still has some rust that needs sorting, but lets face it, it doesn’t stop you driving and things just take time.

I’ve managed to source a set of roof bar towers and will be attempting to find some nice spotlights to keep the ‘Swedish Wilderness’ look on track.

The search also continues for something aptly unique to replace the 9-3 Aero convertible, although I’ve been wishing I hadn’t sold the 9-5 Hirsch, that was pretty rare.

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).

New York Classic 900 Aero

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It’s been a while since my last post, and a lot has changed. The 9-5 Aero Hirsch got sold and collected to a great couple who were just beginning their Saab journey and I’ve embarked on my next Saab saving project – a 900S 16v LPT 3 door coupe, which I’ll scribble a LOT more about very soon.

In the meantime, I couldn’t resist sharing this New York based 900 Aero with a few mods, like it or not, it’s had plenty of attention lavished on it.

Full story here

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

 

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.

Saab by Google Maps

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This is a about as addictive as spotting a gorgeous Saab on film.

You find yourself exploring a location in Google street view, somewhere you know or maybe are about to visit and you spot a Saab, distorted perspective or spliced together to make a whole, but a Saab all the same. I don’t set out to look for them, but I find myself hoping to spot one on my virtual journey.

This year we’ll be heading off to Italy and Sweden, so I’ll have my camera ready to capture a few real life Saabs from our travels and feature them on SvsS when I return – could one of them be yours?

High Mile Saab Stories

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Whilst the High Mile Club has steadily gained momentum and members, I’ve been amassing plenty of wonderful stories that come with these high mile Saabs, and I thought it was about time I started to share the odd one or two.

Rather than editing, I’ll share as I received them; unabridged, that way, we can all enjoy the passion felt for our high mile Saabs.

This was one of the early high mile members, a beautiful classic 900i convertible from Belgium with 261,564 Km.

I had my first Saab (green 99) in the seventies. It was a company car and I liked it very much. Later I had other jobs but no Saab anymore. One day, somewhere late nineties, my wife needed a new car and I saw this red Saab 900i convertible for sale (second hand). I told my wife, we went immediately to see our local Saab dealer and bought it on the spot. The car is a 1990 model.

My wife drove it daily until she died 2 years ago. I decided not to sell it ( I have a second car), I still drive it daily leaving my other car in the car park. It is really fun to drive this Saab, especially in warm weather with the open roof. Even my children come and use it by sunny weather.”

More high mile stories to come.

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.