Resurrecting a Classic. Crafting an Outlaw


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).


Saabotage DynoDay

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Folks, barbecue, Saabs and the odd chilled beer – what a perfect combination.

The members of Saabotage over in Poland seem to do things properly, a gathering of Saab folks to talk, tune and test their great collection of Saabs, all accompanied with proper food, my idea of heaven.

As their next DynoDay will be on Saturday, June 4th, I thought I’d collect a few past photos to share and also a great film short.  Wish I could be there to join them!

Parisian Style

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We had the pleasure of staying in St Germain and exploring the 6/7th Arrondissements last week – I now know why Paris in the Springtime is such an inspirational experience. The light is absolutely beautiful, café culture intoxicating and the timeless elegance of the architecture literally surrounds you.

Enough about that though, this is a blog dedicated to Saabs, and I’m happy to say, Paris is full of them. Just like the city itself, none where perfect, they had an air of bohemian style, loved and used, an extension of their owners – statements of style.

Saabs need no justification, no comparison, they look at home just about anywhere. I was reminded of how much they become part of our lifestyles, now all I need is a cosy Parisian pied-à-terre to go with our Saabs.

Welsh Saabs

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Last week we drove down to stay with friends for a few days. Gorgeous trips on quite roads cutting through the beauty of Snowdonia, narrow country lanes with rolling hills either side and Saabs, lots of them.

Seriously, I was surprised, I think I saw more Saabs in Wales than I’ve seen for a while. I wasn’t photographically prepared so no nice shots I’m afraid, but captured all the same.

We’ll be going again soon so I’ll be prepared next time.

To London and back in One Direction

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Earlier this week we took three very excited teenage girls to London to go and see One Direction. Luckily, they’re old enough for us to push them onto the Underground and wave goodbye for a few hours whilst we spent a long lazy lunch at The Delaunay (if you live in the UK and haven’t been, go). That’s obviously not the reason for this post though, after all, it’s meant to be a blog about Saabs.

It’s a 200 mile round trip to London from home, so we took the saloon. We found the usually agonising M1, free of congestion and up for some serious Saab loving. I’ve been watching the mpg slowly decrease for the past few months now, with far too much city driving and not enough smile inducing open roads, so this journey turned out to be a real pleasure.

It took just one and a half hours from our home in Leicestershire right into the heart of London, I won’t note our average speed as unfortunately, the M1 isn’t the Autobahn but the Saab still returned close to 50mpg, that made me very happy.

The 200hp TTiD is an absolute joy, it’s extremely quiet and relaxed when you want it to be, but put your foot down, hear the muted grunt of the Hirsch duel exhaust and plenty of so called sports saloons vanish in the rear view mirror.

Every Saab I’ve ever driven has felt safe at any speed, but the 9-3, with its Hirsch suspension and wheel upgrade feels supremely reassuring, firmly grounded and agile as the miles passed by in a blur.

I enjoyed our long, lazy lunch followed by a whirlwind viewing of the National Portrait Gallery and  an indulgent stop at Paul Bakery in Covent Garden, but I could’t help looking forward to another 100 mile blast in the Saab.

The High Mile Club continues into 2013

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Last June, I set up a page for something called the High Mile Club. As we weren’t going to see new Saabs for a while, I wanted to show how the Saabs we already own and love are in for the long haul, built to last and with stories to tell.

I’ve been thrilled to see so many amazing High Miles Saabs coming in to my Inbox ever since, and from so many global neighbourhoods.

A couple of days ago, I received the very first High Mile Saab of 2013, and it too had a story to tell. Being the first of the year, I thought I’d share it with you, it comes from the neighbourhood of Syracuse, New York.

“Back in 2009, I drove my Father-In-Law’s SportCombi, it made me realise I just had to have a Saab. A week later, my wife and I traveled 350 miles to pick up this 2003 9-5 SportCombi. It had already covered 80,000 miles and since then, we’ve added another 50,000 miles and loved every moment.

We’ve also purchased a brand new 9-3 SportCombi in 2011, and our son purchased a classic 900s, which he loves, It’s currently awaiting a new transmission and has covered 115,000 miles.

My beloved SportCombi is as strong and good looking today as the day we collected her, and I’m looking forward to 200,000 miles and beyond.

We’re hoping to add my Father-In-Law and son’s Saabs to the High Mile Club soon too”

Another fantastic story, and proving, yet again, that Saabs become part of your family, a tradition that passes through generations. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes into my Inbox next.

Join the High Mile Club.

The 8ft Christmas Tree & The Saab Convertible

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It’s an annual tradition in our house; the collecting of the Christmas Tree. My son and I drive over to a local farm who grow the trees, we take our time choosing the best, we say hello to the resident Lamas, grab a mince pie and prepare to squeeze the (always too tall) tree into the car for our journey home.

This year, we could have made the whole thing simple, take the SportCombi, drop the rear seats and an 8ft tree would have fitted in beautifully, but it was such a nice day; fresh, crisp, a bit of sun, perfect for a run in the 900 convertible.

So, with roof down, heater on full, we triumphantly returned home with an 8ft Christmas Tree sticking proudly out of the back of the convertible. The smell of the pine needles and frost on the ground adding to the joy of a topless Winter’s drive, this may very well become a new festive Saab tradition.