The 9-3X Factor

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Over Winter, the 9-3X is really put into action, tackling rough country roads and private dirt tracks to take our son to various shooting estates – guns, dogs, wellies and wet clothes. Mountain bikes piled in the back or on the roof, driven to remote forests and used as a temporary pop up restaurant and shelter from stormy skies, it handles it all with ease, and more than a little style.

After all of its hard work, it was about time to give the interior a much need cleansing of Winter wear, as always I was utterly impressed with how fantastic the Saab interior handles the abuse. Not only has it come up beautifully again, but nothing seems to wear, the buttons and fixings, carpets and linings, all perfect. It’s like having a brand new Saab every time I clean it, and on the eve of it’s High Mile Club membership, I never fail to be impressed.

No doubt about it, the 9-3X is a seriously robust piece of kit, but then again, it’s going to be, it’s a Saab.

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TWO’S COMPANY

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The more Saab people I get to know, the more I realise not many of us settle for just one Saab, some of use have two, three or even several. A fellow Saabist and a really friendly guy called George, recently sent me a few pictures of his current Saab lineup to share with everybody.

He’s owned 7 Saabs during the past 12 years and currently has the perfect Saab combo – a 9-3 convertible and the eminently capable 9-3 TTiD Aero SportCombi.

The stunning Arctic White convertible originally came in to George’s life as a courtesy car, but he fell in love and had to have it, that was almost six years ago. He’s recently added a set of 18” Turbines which really do suit the car perfectly. And let’s not forget the Aero SportCombi either – it’s always nice to see beautifully maintained examples, especially finished in this red.

Seems I was slow to share these photos and quite rightly, George’s convertible is already the ‘star’ over on the wonderful Saabtala. Thanks for sharing with us all, fantastic job.

Lights Camera Action

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Although the weather in Sweden was spectacular when we visited, I’m under no illusion about how bad it can get when it decides to change.

I noticed plenty of cars with huge spotlights firmly attached to their grilles, but I didn’t see many Saabs with them fitted, then these 2 appeared in the same car park, on the same day.

Both 9-5 SportCombis, I think they suit them well.

X Rated Saab

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It was time to make a choice, either spend some money on my wife’s loyal 185,000 mile SportCombi or invest in a new one that would see us through many more years of Saabing – we chose to invest.

We’d briefly looked at other options, but nothing stood out or appealed quite like a 9-3 SportCombi, in fact my wife wouldn’t look at anything else. She had simple requests: it had to be black or dark grey, have bluetooth, leather, heated seats and parking sensors, the search was on.

We saw some the hadn’t been looked after, others that were too expensive and others that just didn’t feel right, then a pretty special 9-3 came along.

A black 2011 93X with 200hp Hirsch upgrade, full sport leather, Sat Nav and all of the above requirements. It came from S.A.B, a great guy who specialises in exceptional quality Saabs with many years experience.

It’s already settled in nicely, doing it’s job and carrying son and dog to a local country estate over the weekend, lots of mud, lots of 4x4s, but the 9-3X looked perfectly at home.

Looking forward to the next 100,000 or so miles in this great Saab.

Batteries, Brakes and Breaks

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It’s been a quiet few weeks on SvsS, work has rather taken over and kept me from my passion. So, what’s been happening, well, they say bad things come it threes, and that seems to have been the case with our Saabs recently.

1. Early morning call from my wife saying ‘the car’s dead, interior lights are flicking all over the place, doors won’t lock and engine won’t start’ . We had it checked over and sure enough the battery was no longer doing what it should do, alternator all fine, so new battery at £108 for the SportCombi please.

2. Wife complains ‘when I go over bumps or around corners, it makes a knocking sound almost as though something’s broken, like metal against metal’  So off the SportCombi went again to our local garage and sure enough, one of the front springs had become brittle and broken, new front set purchased and fitted for £120, not bad I thought.

3. My turn, travelling back from Wales after a gorgeous weekend, the 9-3 TTiD starts making a horrible noise every time I brake, first thought, stone trapped from the gravel roads we’d been traveling on. Except it didn’t stop, if fact it got worse over the coming days. Into the garage, rear pads completely worn to the metal (even though they where checked only a month ago) and discs had suffered too. New pads and vented discs to the rear, all fitted and silent again, another £180.

So, £400+ lighter but all great again, well almost, someone decided to not see my wife was slowing down and decided not to use something called brakes resulting in a little bump at a junction. But being a Saab, although it forced the rear bumper out a touch and pushed the parking sensors in, it can easily be fixed for around £500, luckily, we won’t be footing the bill for that one.

All in all, a busy few weeks offline, not the most inspiring post, but real life.

Town, country and off the beaten track

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With 171,000 miles under its belt, our SportCombi has proved itself more than worthy in any situation, from city commuting, cross-continent grand tours and family days out, to the weekly grocery shop. Over the past few months I’ve been reminded just how effortlessly it performs its duties.

Every Winter my son helps out at a local country estate, we drive him there in the early morning when the mist still shrouds the countryside and pick him up again when the Winter sun is setting over the rolling fields.

It’s a 15 mile drive each way, along winding lanes and mud tracks to reach the estate, greeted by a sea of Land Rovers, Range Rovers and Mitsubishis; icons of the English countryside, the SportCombi holds its own. It happily carries a very dirty dog, wellies, wax jackets, waterproofs, sticks, bags, food, hats and anything else we care to push in through its doors.

It isn’t a precious car, not to be used, the SportCombi is a workhorse performing faultlessly day in day out, equally comfortable arriving at some Uber cool city offices as it is getting stuck in to country life, and all in legendary Saab comfort and safety.

What more could you ask for from a car?

Chopped SportCombi

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Ever wonder what a car would look like if…

I find myself asking this on a regular basis, call it inquisitiveness but I’ve always wondered what our SportCombi would look like if we chopped a few inches of the roofline, and that’s where Photoshop comes in.

A couple of marques have done this recently, reduced the hight of the roof and create elegant slithers of glass – it works, I kind of like it with the gorgeously curvaceous Saab rear light clusters, it accentuates them beautifully.

Of course, I had to pop on the Hirsch alloys from my Saloon, and tint the glass slightly and…