Bond Street Car Service website launched

svss_Bond Street Car Service

I’m delighted to have been able to help my local Saab Service Centre, Bond Street, launch their new website today.

Sadly, at the end of 2012, Bond Street had to cease trading after 24 years of dedication to Saabs. Then at the beginning of 2013, they set themselves up as an Approved Saab Service Centre and will continue to care, service, repair and maintain some of the 188,000 Saabs still in the UK.

It’s been a great privilege to be able to use some of the Saab photography I’ve lovingly taken one the past few years and I’m extremely proud of their new site.

It hasn’t been an easy time for Saab dealers, and to be able to help my local dealer begin a new leg of their journey, still with Saab, is a great honour.

There are areas that still need work and further content, but have a look and let me know what you think

Someone’s in for a Saab treat

A few months ago, I was given the keys to a gorgeous white 9-5 Aero as a loan car for the day, nice in itself, but what made it extremely unique was the matt black roof, and a lot of people seemed to agree.

Yesterday, when I dropped my 9-3 down to Bond Street Saab, I spotted this seriously nice white 9-3 on the forecourt, and it had the same matt black roof as the 9-5. I asked the MD about it, and it turns out they had the bespoke paint done ex works, and wow, does it look stunning.

A 2009 TTiD 180 Aero Saloon with only 12,000 miles on the clock, Bond Street have not only treated it to the matt black roof, but added a set of 18″ Aero X alloys, and all for just £13,995. This is going to make someone seriously happy.

If anyone’s looking for a very special 9-3 TTiD in the UK right now, this is it, and I’m sure the guys at Bond Street would be happy to tell you more (although it’ll be a shame to take it off the forecourt it looks that nice).

One year on and the 9-3 goes back to it’s roots

After almost a year of separation, my 9-3 went back to its roots this morning for a bit of Bond Street Saab time; Its first ever service was due, and as expected it’s been well looked after. The 9-3 benefitted from the new fixed price servicing Saab Parts UK have very kindly set up, with new oil, filters and a thorough health check, it’s now ready for another years journey.

As I arrived back at Bond Street in the evening to pick up my Saab all over again, I got a real buzz, not easy to explain, it sat there amongst other gleaming Saabs and it felt good, really good.

Looking back to when I first collected my new 9-3 back in 2011, I set about creating Saab vs. Scepticism to share a little Saab loving with the thousands of like-minded Saabists out there, and I must say, I’ve been overwhelmed by the response. Over 25,000 views, 200 comments and nearly 50 gorgeous Saabs added to the High Mile Club page, It really has been fantastic fun, and I really hope people will continue to enjoy it.

I also set up Saab vs. Scepticism to do a long term review of the new 9-3, which has been rather more difficult than I imagined. A year has passed, and the car has performed flawlessly, 15,000 miles, endless fun and most importantly for me, kept me happy; I still wouldn’t have chosen differently, I did try, but it really had to be the 9-3, I’m not bored, and that’s high praise indeed.

All I can say, is a huge thanks to Saab for giving us such iconic and individual cars, to Bond Street Saab for staying strong during these difficult times and to everyone who takes the time to look, read and enjoy Saab vs. Scepticism.

To warranty or not warranty, that is the question

I find myself in a rather difficult position, as I imagine other owners of brand new Saabs will do. In August 2012, my 9-3 will be a year old, which means that as well as the manufactures 3 year warranty no longer being honoured, the 12 month dealer warranty expires too.

I happen to be lucky enough to live near an extremely established and passionate Saab dealership, who from recent conversations will continue to sell, service and look after the hundreds, if not thousands of cherished Saabs in our area. However, with no warranty, I could face large and unexpected bills over the coming years, so it’s all in the hands of the Saab Reliability Gods, or maybe not.

Here in the UK at least, It seems the newly formed and rather visionary Saab Automobile Parts UK Limited could save the day, they’ve launched Saab Secure; a warranty that replaces the original manufactures one.

The Good I’ll be able to keep my new 9-3 away from third party parts and non Saab mechanics for the foreseeable future.

The Bad After spending over twenty five thousand pounds on a new car, I’ll have to dig a little deeper and pay for a replacement warranty, when what I would have liked to see was some kind of honourable gesture from Saab or my dealership.

Saab Secure _ Because my Saab is worth it.

Bearing up. Another replacement part for the SAAB

After 5 or so months with the 9-3, the only problems i’ve had, have been self made.

I decided to have the standard SAAB springs replaced with Hirsch ones – these offer a lower, firmer ride with sharper handling, and to date, I have been exceptionally impressed with the difference they have made. Compared to our 9-3 SportCombi, it feels like a different car and easily shadows its competitor brands I test drove.

Problem is, by changing the springs, it seems to have upset the factory equilibrium and caused the bearing cages to fail on both front corners. The first went only weeks after picking up the 9-3, the second, just before our family trip to Cornwall. My dealer, Bond Street SAAB have been fantastic as usual, taking in the car, fixing the problem and even having the car cleaned and looking immaculate upon my return (I could get used to that).

Being Hirsch parts, everything was covered under the manufacturers warranty, which is another great reason to go for it and add a few Hirsch goodies when you buy your new SAAB.

Let’s hope my obsession with Hirsch won’t cause me many more dealer visits in the future though.

And because the picture of a broken bearing cage wouldn’t have been interesting, I’ve added another recent picture.

A SAAB journey to the end of the earth

Well, almost, about 40 miles from Land’s End actually.

We’ll be up bright and early tomorrow for a 5 hour journey down to the gorgeous Cornish coast to relax, take a few photos, surf, walk on the beaches and maybe eat too many homemade scones with clotted cream.

I’ll be resetting the mpg on the SAAB 9-3 and let you all know how it performs with a week of driving – motorways, moors, country lanes and steep coastal roads – should be interesting.

I only have one concern; a while ago I mentioned that after changing all of the cars suspension to Hirsch, that one of the front bearing cages needed to be replaced. Well, on the eve of our journey, the other side seems to be going the same way.

My SAAB dealer had told me that this is perfectly safe, so i’m hoping he’s right. We’ll soon see. Any insight into this from anyone would be much appreciated.

The Importance of Hirsch

SAAB make amazing cars, simple as that, but, what if you really want to raise the bar in terms of performance and style?

As you’d expect, SAAB has the answer, for nearly 20 years they have collaborated with Swiss performance company Hirsch, who are completely exclusive to the brand and know the cars inside out – they take the best and then somehow make them even better, emphasising and reinforcing the SAAB qualities, without compromise.

Choosing the SAAB 9-3 was easy (every other car I tried just didn’t really do it for me, none had the right feeling) but what became rather difficult, was specifying the Hirsch equipment. A balance between style and performance has always been important, so exterior wise this was my final Hirsch list :

Lower sport suspension
200hp performance upgrade
18″ twinspoke alloys with Michelin Pilot PS2
345mm brake discs + Single piston calipers + performance pads
Dual Stainless Steel exhaust with rear diffuser
4 piece honeycomb front grille
Boot lip spoiler

And for the interior :

Sport steering wheel
Carbon leather instrument panel
Carbon leather interior trim
Leather door handles
Aluminium pedals

A few weeks after the orders were placed with Hirsch in Switzerland, a truck load of brown boxes filled with goodies arrived at my SAAB dealer, I got an excited phone call to let me know everything had arrived safely, and that they would start to dismantle my new SAAB immediately. Another week, and another phone call to let me know it was ready to pick up, fantastic.

The combined effect is staggering, in the way it drives, in the way it feels, and in the way it looks. The sheer joy of picking up a new SAAB for the first time is amazing, but to have been able to tailor it to my exact requirements has been indescribable.

In a mass of bland, and rather unexciting cars available in the executive saloon sector, the SAAB 9-3 stands out a mile, and by giving it the Hirsch treatment, it becomes completely unique. It is a car you can’t wait to get back into, you’ll always choose the most exciting route home to take advantage of the exhilarating drive and it’s also stunning to look at.

SAAB & Hirsch, a perfect combination.