Park Life

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Being a fully paid up petrolhead, any chance to get out and meet up with likeminded folk is always a pleasure. Luckily for me, there’s a local car and classic meet held nearby in a village called Earls Barton. It’s grown over the years and attracts a seriously varied collection of cars, including an unbadged 2016 Aston Martin work’s car, a stunningly beautiful 1960’s Nissan Skyline GT-R and a whole array of iconic Porsches, Ferraris and other exotics

Obviously what caught my eye, were a number of Saabs happily sitting alongside the great and good and holding their own very nicely. What’s so refreshing about car meets like this is that they appeal to all, from the old folks sitting in their picnic chairs next to an immaculate 99 to the slammed and anything but standard 9-3 with the biggest gold alloys I’ve ever seen squeezed on to a Saab.

A host of others from a beautiful classic 900 turbo, 9000 Aero and 9-3 convertible proved that our Saabs really do look great anywhere.

Just the way it is

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After spending almost the entire day yesterday on the interior of the 9-5, I only needed to grab a few hours this morning to clean and moisturise the leather and give the carpets a thorough shampoo and brush up. The smoke smell still remains, but has already been greatly reduced, someone has kindly given me a tip to help with that (thanks Kent), but am surprised at just how beautifully it has all cleaned up.

It was one of few hot days we’ve had here in the UK this Summer, so thought i’d grab a few photos of the 9-5 pretty much as it arrived, except for the shiny headlights of course.

Even thought there is plenty of work to do to bring this Saab up to scratch, I’m loving the stance the Hirsch suspension provides, and those alloys, wow.

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

After reading Saab vs. Scepticism

A few weeks ago I received an email from Matt, telling me Saab vs. Scepticism was to blame for him buying a non-running Saab HOT Aero convertible on EBay.

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An entire story of the preceding weeks ensued, and rather than water it down, I’ve included it as a pdf, raw and unabridged at the bottom of the post. Needless to say, rescuing a Saab isn’t always going to be easy, but it’ll sure put a smile back on your face.

“I fell asleep dropping the phone directly on my face, which woke me up with a smack, I lifted my phone from my neck, ready to put it down for the night when, there it was, a 2002 Saab 9-3 just like the one I wanted. Well not just like it but, the potential was there and that was good enough
for me!”…

The full story, raw and unabridged SvsS_Rescuing a 93 HOT Aero

In the eyes of the beholder

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Sometimes I catch a glimpse of the Saab and think ‘wow’ – it’s usually when I’m not expecting it either. I stand for a while and admire the shape, I can’t help thinking just how amazing these still look, it feels absolutely timeless. It really is a privilege to be able to own and maintain such an iconic Saab.

Right, time to go for a quick drive I think.

Return to the fold

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Whenever I hear about someone either buying a Saab for the first time, or returning to the fold, I feel a sense of pride. I feel pleased to hear about someone else who’ll look after another Saab for the future.

M from Scotland recently sent me a few snaps of his very smart 2007 9-3 Aero 2.8T. He’d been an Aero owner previously, but after several years of V8’ing, has found his way back. Since purchasing the 42,000 mile 9-3, M has been busy getting it exactly how he wants it, adding a set of 19” RS6 alloys (which seriously suit it), Hirsch diffuser and discreet rear boot spoiler, he’s also had a Stage 1 remap delivering a healthy 292hp and 440nm.

And that’s not quite it yet “I’ve just purchased a set of Hirsch grills (mostly broken) but I plan on putting the jigsaw back together and then painting them gloss black (mostly to hide the Glue)”.

Thanks for sharing and look forward to see the front grille all in place.

RAT Look Saab, Netherland Style

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Always love hearing about unusual Saabs from around the globe, especially ones that don’t conform.

A few years ago I featured some RAT Look Saabs, a style not often associated with or applied to Saabs for some reason. These aren’t pristine, Concours cars, or in contrast to popular belief, not badly maintained either. It’s a style that has to be considered and designed, the base car often better and faster than most everyday cars.

I received a great email from P in the Netherlands recently, he’s currently turning his ’96 trackday 9-3 into a RAT Look Saab. It features Independence rims clad in Toyo intermediate rubber, sitting on Koni / Eibach lowered suspension. TD04 turbo, forge dump valve, sport downpipes, upgraded front brakes, strut bar and is running stage 3 to around 250hp, whilst the interior features a set of Porsche race seats. Oh, and it’s covered some 250,000 kilometres throughout it’s exciting life.

It also features a rare Saab bike lift to keep P’s Ridley road bike safe, and perfectly finishes off this RAT Look Saab.