St. Emillion Road Trip in a hot Aero convertible

St Emillion 1 St Emillion 3St Emillion 2

A Saab vs. Scepticism regular very kindly shared a few photos of his recent road trip to St. Emillion. Traveling in his gorgeous 9-3 HOT Aero convertible, I can only imagine just how special it must have felt, roof down, warm breeze, gorgeous scenery and all from the comfort of what has to be one the most beautiful Saabs ever crafted.

Thanks for sharing MF

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Saab Feel Good Factor

SvsS_Summer Saab 1SvsS_Summer Saab 2SvsS_Summer Saab 3

Warm mornings, hazy evenings, deep blue skies, 15 mile commute, what better way to spend it than in a Saab convertible.

I must admit, I feel a bit short changed if I don’t go in the convertible on days like this, don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to get back into my 9-3, but the pure, simple pleasures of the convertible are hard to beat.

Watch as the trees fly by overhead, Summer sounds as clear as if they were coming from inside the car, and even when you hit traffic, look up for a moment and enjoy utter freedom – clear skies, fresh air.

All this in a Saab that cost about the same as a night in a luxury London hotel (equally pleasurable, but short lived). The undeniable feel good factor is hard to beat for the money, look after a car like this, treat it well and it will give you years of simple pleasure, and what’s more, it still look stunning.

This is an ongoing project which so far has included new wheels, new bumper, Abbott Racing lowered springs, interior refresh – still lots to do, but for now, it’s time just to enjoy.

eSID (aka extended Saab Information Display)

eSID SaabeSID Saab MuseumeSID PowereSID Torque

Remember this gorgeous Hirsch 9-3 from Norway I posted a few moths ago? Well, it’s back again, and has just been fitted with one of the coolest Saab gadgets I’ve seen, the eSID.

The eSID; aka extended Saab Information Display, has been lovingly created by a former Saab Development Engineer and cleverly collects hidden performance data from your 9-3 and displays it via the standard dash SID.  Its highlights for me would have to be:

Maximum measured torque/power
Acceleration tests
Momentary fuel consumption

Its owner, Erik has kindly sent me a few pictures of his trip to Trollhättan to pick up this uber cool Saab gadget, he also managed to drop in at the Saab factory and museum for a few great photo opportunities.

I can only imagine the fun he had on his trip back home to Norway with the eSID fitted, thanks for sharing this Erik.

Here’s the eSID pdf if you need to find out more.

eSID UPDATE

Not surprisingly, the fantastic eSID seems to have grabbed a lot of people’s interest, so I thought I better add everything I know (thanks again Erik):

It costs 1000 SEK which in UK terms is approximately £90.00. I don’t know much about shipping costs however.
You can contact the eSID design directly via this email saab.esid@gmail.com
And there’s even a demonstration film here

To London and back in One Direction

svss_9-3 One Direction

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.

Saabs and the Rat Look movement

I couldn’t help myself, there’s something very anti establishment about the Rat Look, which in a way is very Saab. I’ll hear screams of protest, but this is for a bit of fun, and when you really think about it, we’ll do anything to keep our Saabs on the road, Rat Look is just an extension of that.

Whilst some Saabs have been pimped with lots of love to create just the right ‘look’ others have endured a lifetime of wear and tear for their patina. All truly honour the Rat Look, and I thought they should be represented on any self respecting Saab blog.

Originating way back in the early 1900’s, RAT stands for Recycled Automotive Transport, it’s really about keeping a car on the road no matter what, and with as little cash as possible, sometimes borrowing parts from other cars and with a serious ‘make do’ attitude. Of course, the look has progressed, but anything goes basically, the more homemade, the better.

To me, it’s just another form of creating individuality, and if it keeps some of the old Saabs on the road, then I’m cool with that.

If your Saab is featured, I hope you don’t mind me showcasing it – spread the Saab love I say.

The SportCombi gets serious about rubber

Another week, and another Saab story to share.

Driving back from the airport last weekend in the SportCombi, we had the unfortunate luck of suffering a blow out –  one of the rear Bridgestone tyres completely gave up the ghost. Luckily though, we had just pulled off the motorway, and my son and I were able to hop out and change the offending tyre for the spacesaver which carried us all safely home.

This morning, I arranged to have 2 new rear tyres fitted, but as it turned out, these weren’t my worst type problem. I regularly check the tyres on all three Saabs, I hadn’t done a thorough enough job on the SportCombi, as although the tread depth was still legal, the far inner (hidden) edges of both front tyres were literally close to exploding; the rubber had begun to pull away and reveal the inner thread, not good.

Two hours later, nearly four hundred pounds worse off, and the SportCombi is a happy, safe Saab again, it’s also had some tracking alterations to ensure the new front tyres don’t suffer the same fate again in the near future.

When things like this happen, it serves to remind me just how important taking care of tyres are. One of the reasons I love Saabs is their superior safety, however, they still depend on 4 simple cylinders of rubber to keep my family safe, and at speeds Saabs are happy at, you can never underestimate their importance.

So what rubber best suits a Saab? Although I worship the handling and refinement of the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2’s on my 9-3 saloon, I’ve become increasingly impressed with the all round capabilities of Kumho’s.

I recently put a full set on the Carlsson alloys for the 900, and the Mercedes Coupe before that, and they’ve performed faultlessly; great handing in both wet and dry conditions, extremely quiet, and a very attractive tread pattern. Although not cheap, the Kumho’s do represent a saving over say the Michelins and seem to suit Saabs well, so the SportCombi now proudly sits on a set of Kumho ECSTA LE Sport KU39’s.

I’ll report on their longevity in a few thousand miles, but until then, the SportCombi’s looking good with its new rubber.

Nineteen Saabs. One weekend. Three point one million miles.

On Friday I set up a new page here on Saab vs. Scepticism – The High Mile Club, RobinM very kindly posted it on Saabs United Saturday morning, and I’ve been smiling ever since.

I imagined it being a page that honoured our high mile Saabs and proved just how beautifully crafted they are. I’ve been absolutely blown away by the fantastic response I’ve had from every part of the globe; UK, Sweden and Netherlands to the United States, Australia and the Republic of San Marino, and so far, with just 19 Saabs added, we’ve covered a combined 3,143,625.0 million miles, impressive.

What has made it so exciting, is hearing the Saab stories we all have to tell, it proves just how much they become part of our lives; some passed down through generations of families, others with diplomatic histories but all, without exception, utterly loved.

Saabs seem to command loyalty, and no matter what the future holds, our original Saabs are here to stay. I set the mileage benchmark at 100,000+ miles as this is a genuine barrier for a lot of people, but what I’ve quickly discovered, is that this barrier doesn’t exist with Saab owners, it seems the higher the mileage the better, it’s a kind of badge of honour.

I’d love to see the newly established global Saab Parts Companies take this on and see just how important they are, our Saabs need to be cared for and maintained for many more millions of miles, so maybe with benchmarks set at 100 / 250 / 500 / 750,0000 miles + anyone reaching the benchmarks gets a well earned free overhaul, a bit of genuine Saab tlc shall we say.

I’m sure I’ll receive many more Saabs to add to the collection, and I plan to share some of the great stories I’ve received too, but a huge thank you for proving my point; our Saabs are here to stay, and they’re built to last a lifetime of journeys.