Righting wrongs and wronging rights

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The work continues on the 9-5 Aero Hirsch, it’s had it’s second trip to the folks at Malcolm Miles. New water pump, cam belt, sub frame bushes, new air con pipes to replace ones that had been warn through by constant rubbing with other pipes, and the manifold has been removed to replace broken studs together with a new gasket.

The drive is noticeably improved, no squeaking from the warn belt, no blowing from the manifold and the refreshed engine seems to be pulling beautifully. I’d forgotten just how well put together the 9-5s are – superbly relaxed and effortless in the city and manically fast when there are clear roads ahead.

My idea is to keep buying rare or unusual Saabs and bring them back to a standard that allows them to stay on the road for many more years. This one had obviously been lovingly cared for in the past, but recently has had less attention lavished on it. At the moment, I’m in two minds as to whether to have the bonnet and front grille resprayed, as the rest of the car seems to have the original paintwork, besides, I kind of like cars that tell a story.

I’ve also been repeatedly advised to swap the Hirsch alloys and pop them on my 9-3 convertible, the double Y spokes look fantastic on the 9-5s so that might be the next change, together with the addition of a boot lip to finish off the rear styling.

In the meantime, I’m hugely enjoying driving the 9-5, the new Hirsch carbon dash looks stunning and with the super rare luxury spec, the family are enjoying it too – the rear heated seats are an absolute dream on rainy days.

Oh, and it’s had a shiny new bonnet badge to claim back it’s proud identity.

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9-5 Aero Hirsch Rescue Mission

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For the past few months I’ve been tirelessly searching for another interesting Saab that required some loving and maybe a tweak or two here and there, a few weeks ago I found one.

A random Autotrader search popped up a 2005 Saab 9-5 HOT Aero saloon in black, it had a pretty basic description and a few photos, but it only took the first one to have me hooked. What were described as 17” alloys in the copy seemed to be 18” Hirsch 6 spoke alloys in the photo, I did my best to zoom in to the image, and there, on the tyre (for from clear to see) ‘R18’.  Further pictures featured a Hirsch front grille, stainless steel twin exhaust and a seriously good looking Hirsch steering wheel, it also appeared to be a lot lower than normal Aeros, so might have Hirsch suspension, but I couldn’t be sure – none of these Hirsch features where mentioned in the description however.

The Saab was in Bristol, and as I had no time to go and see it, I took a leap of (Saab blindness) faith and bought it. A couple of weeks later the dealer finally managed to find a driver to deliver it to its new home. All I can say, is that it’s arrived just in time, it’s far from the best example, but at some point in its life, has been lavished with care and loved as a Saab like this should be. It has an original specification I’d have plumped for myself- perforated sport leather interior in sand, heated and ventilated front and rear, folding mirrors, sat nav and after further inspection, full Hirsch lowered suspension too.

The list of things to do isn’t short however, It was loved once, but from the general condition and cleanliness, that must have been a few years ago. The headlights were completely cloudy with a textured surface, scratches and large stone chips on pretty much every panel, badly kerbed front alloys, different tyres on each corner, a pretty filthy interior with a stale smell of smoke emanating from it the moment you open the door and leather that has lost some of its suppleness and beauty.

Pretty much before doing anything else, I put a call in to my Saab guru, Jason at Malcolm Miles and gave him the heads up he’d be helping me with a new project (sorry Jason), and it’ll be going in soon for a serious health check, full service and general analysis of what’s possible. Initial impressions after driving it are good, no smoke, pretty tight and Hirsch suspension still feels seriously nice, I have a feeling it has also benefited from the Hirsch ECU upgrade, but I’ll be calling in the services of Karl at Noob Tune to get to it’s full potential either way.
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Saturday arrived and there was no time to waste, Autoglym headlight rescue kit at the ready and we’re off, a couple of hours work and the transformation is pretty exceptional, the 9-5’s headlights are back to their ridiculously bright, Xenon selves and almost as good as new.  The rest of the day has been spent cleaning some of the grime off the interior – dashboard, steering wheel, door panels, headlining –  all get attention with yet more Autoglym products, and it seems, that under the grime it’s in pretty decent condition.

Sunday will see the seats get some attention, leather cleaned and moisturised and carpets cleaned the best I can until I get it professionally sorted at least.

It’s going to be a long, but enjoyable rescue mission, these 9-5 Aeros are pretty special cars, but with the additional Hirsch kit, it makes it a very rare find indeed. All I have to do is keep my daughter away from the keys now!

9-5 Hirsch-Emily

Saab Reflections

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I gave the Aero a much deserved clean today – after breaking the roof and having it fixed one day then promptly ripping off the front bumper the next, it really did deserve it.

Once i’d finished, it wasn’t the overall cleanliness that caught my eye, it was the gorgeous reflections being cast over it, not only that, but the glimpses of the interior through the reflections – just so Saab.  A bit of indulgent photography, but we all need it sometimes.

Probably the best seats in the world

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Ever since I first fell in love with Saabs there has been one particular car that fuelled the obsession, the Saab 9000 Aero. If I’m honest  it was the interior that excited me almost as much as the car itself, those amazingly curvaceous seats, once sat in, the feeling is never forgotten. To me, these are the seats that helped give Saab the reputation for creating the best car seats in the world.

Recently, I’ve been lucky enough to meet another great Saab lover, he drove from Ireland to pick up the 900 alloys I’d offered a few months back. He has a great collection of Saabs including a couple of 900’s a 9-3 SportCombi and a fantastic 9000 Aero. After chatting for a while, it turned out that he’d got a spare 9000 Aero interior he didn’t need, how could I resist?

For the time being, they’re residing in our living room and will eventually form part of  another Saab project, until then though I can admire their exquisite detailing. Over the years since I first saw them, they haven’t lost any of their beauty, they’ve got an exceptionally timeless shape and design and are as comfortable as I remember.

If only every car seat were as good as these.

Saab 9000 Form & Function

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My love affair with the iconic 9000 continues, I have plans afoot to find an Aero in need of a bit of TLC and a touch of uniqueness. For the time being though I have to console myself with other people’s cars, great images and the odd jewel I discover – like an immaculate 1989 brochure for instance.

I found this wonderful 95 page brochure dedicated to the pure Form & Function of the Saab 9000, I love the fact that it contains literally hundreds of beautifully crafted technical illustrations – how the many Saab innovations work, comfort, safety, it’s all in here. Just look at the rear seats in supple tan leather (I can almost smell the Saabness) and that instrument cluster, stunning.

Such an iconic car, and to me, one of the finest Saabs ever built.

Inside Saab

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I never tire of a Saab interior, always feels exceptionally timeless and just a great place to be. Whilst the weather is rather depressing, climb inside a Saab, pop the heated seats on and you’ll start to feel better.

Stuck in endless city traffic, no problem, just a little more time to admire the interior details and turn the stereo up a little louder.

The sum of Its parts

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Even before I owned Saabs I admired their wheel designs, there’s something very Swedish about them; simple, refined and elegant yet utterly modern, designs that have always reflected Saab beautifully.

There have been a few favourites along the way, the 9-3 HOT Aero twin 3 spoke, double Y alloys for instance or the original Aeros on the 9000, both exceptionally stunning wheels.

Everyone loves alloys, but there are literally thousands of other design details equally as stunning in every Saab – lights, seats, cup holders, air vents, grilles, buttons, each designed to work beautifully together to create a unique aesthetic.

These details can easily be overlooked, but when you take a moment to admire shape and form you really appreciate the shear amount of effort that must have gone into every single part. Saab have always done this so well, always something to inspire you.