Carlsson and the 900

The classic 900 convertible is one of most iconic Saabs out there, it’s unique and inspirational design has meant an enduring timelessness and elegance that feels as sharp today as it always has. But although mine already wears the Aero body styling I always craved, something was missing – a set of 16″ Carlsson Aero alloys.

Last week, I spotted a set of these elusive wheels on Ebay, in need of future refurbishment and currently wearing some pretty rough track day tyres, but I couldn’t resist, my 900 would be visually complete. The seller shipped them within 48 hours, they went straight into the back of the convertible, and driven into town and treated to a brand new set of tyres.

My son and I spent an indulgent day on Saturday fitting the alloys, and they look superb, I always had an image of how a 900 convertible should look, and this is it, the Carlsson wheels make such a difference, the proportions are absolutely spot on.

We also gave the 900 a much needed wax and managed to revive the rubber Aero spoilers, which were looking decidedly green, now lovely and black again – a day well spent.

Over the coming weeks the 900 has an exciting trip planned too, it will be swept away by none other than Abbott Racing for a bit more Saab loving; a new radiator, upgraded ECU, fuel regulator, dump valve and a few other treats, I wish I was going to watch the Saab gurus in action, but they’ve promised to take a few photos for me along the way.

For now though, I’ll watch the rain bead up and run off the beautifully waxed 900 and admire the gorgeous new Carlsson alloys.

Two’s company, three’s a crowd. Maybe not.

This Saturday, we took a giant leap of faith (or maybe stupidity) and collected another SAAB; yep, we now have three SAABs on the drive.

I’ve known the owner of this classic 900 convertible for almost 15 years, and always (jokingly) said that if he wanted to sell, i’d be there. A few weeks ago, we started an email conversation about the aforementioned car, and over the weekend, we collected it.

Looking slightly sorry for itself, it hasn’t been driven much over Winter, the roof desperately needs reproofing, condensation is beginning to get inside and the drivers window has given up the ghost. It needs some serious TLC.

Saab vs Scepticism started off with posts about 1 very special 9-3, but as our small family collection grows, I realise it’s beginning to be more about the SAAB way of life, which hopefully, the 900 will add yet another layer too.

The Winter has really set in now, so I’ll have to wait a while before I can get my hands dirty. I’ll be attempting to take a few photos of the new family member as soon possible, but for now, the classic convertible will be ploughing through dirty and snowy roads until we are graced by the arrival of Spring.

Glamour one day, work the next.

It’s all very nice keeping the SAAB spotlessly clean and taking sexy photos of it, but the original idea of Saab vs Scepticism was to do a long, long term review of daily life with the 9-3.

That brings me to it’s latest mission; to safely transport the materials for one of our home projects. Sounds like an everyday mission, but what has amazed me about the SAAB is the shear capacity of its boot space, simply drop the rear seats, and i’ve managed to get a piece of timber 1700mm x 900mm straight in there, cool.

I was planning on taking our SportCombi to pick the timber up, but this has really pleased me, it’s just another reason why I love the 9-3 – hugely quick, refined and a pleasure to drive, but also practical when called upon.

My son and I have the yearly tradition of collecting our freshly cut 8ft Christmas tree in the next few weeks, that’ll be fun.

It’s all about the SportCombi

A few weeks ago, we became the proud owners of another 9-3; a SportCombi TiD Vector.

In just 4 short years of life, it’s covered 130,000 miles, so knew that when we picked it up, we needed to give it some tlc.

I booked it in with Charles, an amazing mechanic who lives and breathes cars, he also loves SAAB’s, and has given our new 9-3 a thorough service; fresh oil, filters, fluid changes and a general good check up.

He discovered that during its life, no-one seemed to have touched any of the brakes, being completely worn and an in an extremely poor state, he also found water in the brake fluid, which happens over time but should be checked and changed regularly to ensure correct function. He’s changed all brake discs and pads on the car, releasing a seized calliper and replaced a few nuts and bolts.

It seems the tlc has made our new SportCombi extremely happy, it feels as fresh and tight, it pulls beautifully, the engine is quieter and the brakes now do their job perfectly.

It’s ready for it’s next 130,000 miles!

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.

Notes from a Cornish trip. Part II

I read over my Cornish Notes Part I and had a think about what i’d missed out.

I don’t think I made enough fuss about how exceptionally comfortable the SAAB 9-3 is for long distances, it really does make the journey feel totally effortless, and after another 350 mile round trip to pick a 9-3 Sport Combi for my wife earlier this week, it really has confirmed this for me.

Also, anyone having had the pleasure to drive around the ultra thin country lanes of Cornwall will know how important good brakes are. The locals (my Grandfather having been one of them) seem to find it rather amusing to scare the visitors and speed up the second they’re on these lanes, either that, or turn any number of infinite corners and you can be faced with:

A. more corners
B. a heard of content sheep
D. a huge farm vehicle plunging the entire lane into darkness

All of which require urgent braking to avoid a Cornish collision. This is were I thank Hirsch for the amazing brakes on the 9-3, they really are fantastic, they give you complete and utter confidence, better than any other car I’ve owned.

A week of driving in Cornwall and the SAAB looked as though it had just finished the Paris – Dakar Rally, and deserved a very well earned clean.

The more I drive this SAAB, the more I love it.

Introducing the newest member to our SAAB family; a 9-3 Sport Combi.

After bringing home our new SAAB 9-3 saloon a good few months ago now, my wife became rather fond of it and decided she’d like to change her BMW 118d for a 9-3 Sport Combi, and here it is.

We drove 150 miles yesterday to collect it from a lovely dealer in Wirral, Merseyside, it was originally leased from SAAB GB, and has had one very careful private owner since then. It’s a Vector Sport 1.9 TiD with some goodies including the aluminium roof rails, Xenon headlights, upgraded stereo and although standard, sits on an attractive set of 17″ SAAB alloys.

It’s in one of my favourite colour combinations for the Sport Combi; deep metallic petrol blue with Cream Sport leather interior, and it’s really been looked after.

I’ve ordered a set of roof bars and my son and I can make the most of it with some Autumn mountain biking.

Sitting elegantly next to my 9-3 saloon on the driveway, I can’t help thinking how amazingly fresh these SAABs still look, and after driving behind the Sport Combi for our 150 mile journey home yesterday, it gave me enough time to study the rear end, and I truly think it still has to be one of the most beautiful estate cars on the road.

Welcome home!