Joining the Hirsch 9-3 Club

svss_Another Hirsch 9-3svss_Another Hirsch 9-3 2

A few weeks ago, I received a great note from J, a fellow UK Saabist, but rather than me rewriting his words, this is what he said:

“Thank you for inspiring me to upgrade my 9-3 with as many Hirsch goodies that are currently available, after drooling over the images of your beautiful 9-3 Hirsch – it’s stunning and looks far better than the Turbo X.

I’m currently waiting to fit my Hirsch 19″ rims once the salt has gone from the roads, and constantly trying to source the honeycomb grill and to try and finish off the carbon interior (require door trims and leather door handles). Other than that and waiting for Stephan to finish making the last batch of steering wheels both interior and exterior are nearly there. Only then will I celebrate by placing the new Hirsch badge to the rear.

I purchased the car in December after selling a 2004 2.0 Aero, I was looking for a diesel but ended up with a V6 – fortunately my miles are spent on the motorway and only drive every two weeks, so not entirely concerned about the mpg. Bizarrely, it’s around the same as my previous car. Having the car Maptun’d to 295bhp, a sixth gear and oodles of tarmac moving torque certainly helps the fuel economy.

It’s the best Saab I’ve owned thus far, no other Saab I’ve had since then has managed to trump my 9k Aero I sold back in 2008. I checked on the DVLA recently and it’s still on the road with well over 200,000 miles”.

It seems J has now had the pleasure of fitting his gorgeous new 19″ Hirsch alloys (although not without a few TPMS valve issues) as I received these pictures this morning. He tells me a Maptun exhaust will be coming next.

This really is a seriously nice 9-3, and I have to admit, I’m kind of envious that it’s a V6. Thank you for sharing J and for joining the Hirsch 9-3 Club, I look forward to seeing further Hirsch / Maptun progress.


18 thoughts on “Joining the Hirsch 9-3 Club

    • Thanks very much Paul, this car is very pampered! Could I ask, are your new TPMS valves self-learning or require Tech2?

      I heard the face lift models were but unsure?


  1. I just discovered your blog, and have spent a very pleasurable several hours catching up on it from the beginning! Your cars and photos are absolutely stunning; you describe so well what we all celebrate about these wonderful automobiles! After being Saab-less for three years, I’ve finally purchased a 2004 93 Arc convertible, and feel like I’ve died and gone to automotive heaven! It’s everything I loved about all six of my old classic 900’s and more! I look forward to reading many more of your postings!

    • Hi John

      Thank you so much for the great comments, so glad you enjoyed reading through it all. Congratulations on the new 9-3 Convertible, and welcome back to Saab, send a few pictures when you get a chance, it’s always great to share the Saab love.

      When I’ve had a break from a Saab, and then get another, I always feel like I’ve come home, it feels so good, they have a very special quality about them.

      Thanks again

    • Couldn’t agree with you more John, I was totally inspired by the gorgeous SVS car and equally stunning photography.

      In fact, since looking at the images of the 900 classic convertible featured on the previous blog, I’m currently browsing the small ads for an additional project…

      Enjoy your new car, here’s hoping for a great summer and lots of top down opportunities!


      • If you’re looking for a nice 900 classic convertible with a few bits and pieces to do on it, mine’s going on EBay tomorrow. Over the past year I’ve written a lot about it, and have enjoyed it hugely, but now I have more Saab plans.

        Hoping it will go to another Saabist, ps, thank for the comments on blog again, really helps keep me motivated and enjoying what I do.

  2. Curious about the hirsch flat bottom steering wheel – do you guys know if they are planning on making any more? Just read the post that J mentioned abou this…I’m very interested… Nice 9-3 by the way!

    • Really not sure, but the guys at Hirsch are fantastic if you contact them, sure they’ll tell you, they really should do though, I absolutely love mine.

      Maptun do a similar one, but not with the flat base.

    • Hi Mark, there’s supposed to be a limited supply of Hirsch steering wheels being manufactured and sold through ANA in Sweden – they Should be ready anytime now. Drop them an email, they’re so very helpful.

      Should anyone be able to source the Hirsch grill, I would be over the moon to say the least! Thought about the DIY route but would like to keep the car authentic, with the exception of having a Maptun remap over the Hirsch as I do prefer the extra torque (unlike my front tyres!).


  3. Gorgeous car, and it really suits those alloys. My 08 TTID (which i’ve owned for just over a year) is in the same colour. I wasn’t so keen on that colour but it’s really grown on me now, and you don’t see many in that colour on the roads. I want to do the door handle and hand brake lever leather upgrade as well. I’ve replaced the front headlights (had to be done, LED failure) to the new MY12 type with the blue tint. I have to say, it complements the car well.

    I have a question you folks might be able to answer. I’m considering buying the small spoiler for mine from my local dealership as they have one in stock. I’m also considering getting the Hirsch power upgrade done, and then just for something a bit different, fitting a set of Turbo X alloys as i think they would work well with the colour on my car. But who do you use regarding insurance? I’m with Admiral presently with the multicar policy for me and my good lady and would ideally like to remain with them for that reason. I’m concerned however that they will simply regard these as boy racer upgrades and charge a small fortune. I would need to think twice if this was the case. I just think these subtle changes would complement the car nicely.

    Would appreciate your thoughts.

    Thanks guys!

    • Hi Kev. It is a stunning car isn’t it, mine’s the same Carbon Grey too. Actually, I prefer it over black, such a gorgeous depth of colour.

      I’d love to see yours with the light upgrade, send a picture in sometime.

      The Turbo X alloys look great on this colour 9-3, I originally tried a set on mine before opting for the Hirsch ones, good choice though, and reasonably rare to see, go for them.

      The spoiler shouldn’t make any difference, as the Aeros and Turbo X’s came with them direct from the factory, most definitely not ‘boy racer’.

      The Hirsch power upgrade is a must (see vanishing type for thoughts)

      Thanks for the comments.

  4. Hi Paul, thanks for your comments and opinion. You have me sorely tempted to go ahead with my plans. Just the alloys could be a problem as they are difficult to get hold of. I’ll need to look into it. My car is an aero but no spoiler. They seemed to stop adding the spoiler from the MY08 model on. As you rightly say though, the Turbo X comes with it as standard.

    I was initially looking for a black TTID but the one I have now came up at a price I couldn’t refuse. I took her for a test drive and just had to have her. I was hooked from then on.

    I have the 180 bhp model so it’s plenty powerful already but the extra 20 bhp could make that extra bit of difference. It’s just a bit hard to justify paying the £500ish for the power upgrade. It’s unlikely to happen but if it was around half that I would jump at the chance. I’m slightly reluctant at this stage to go for the 10 free trial in case I like it so much that I end up spending the money anyway. It’s money I don’t have at this time. I think i’m gonna go ahead with the spoiler though as it’s a reasonable price including the paint.

    I’d be happy to send you some pics with the new headlights. The car needs a thorough wash before but when the better weather comes in i’ll be sure to send some into you. what’s the best way of sending them into you?

    Thanks again for your opinions.

    • Hi Kev, thanks for the great compliments about my car – I personally have Paul to blame (err, I mean thank, unlike my bank balance!) for his first class photography and his inspirational and gorgeous 9-3. How refreshing it is to drive something that is not only rare, but made even rarer with the ‘Hirsch touch’. They really did get every aspect and design spot on, perhaps more than Saab themselves…?!

      So, as for insurance, I’m yet to fully explore this dilemma next month when I’m due for renewal. After a quote from Carol Nash a few weeks ago, my premium is double from my current AXA policy – it was actually much higher until I suggested that the Turbo X was in fact in the same insurance group as my car and shares similar bhp/wheel size/spoliler etc., and the parts are essentially Saab components and only supplied via authentic Saab dealerships in the UK. However, I’m still looking into it so will report back, hopefully with some good news.

      As for rear spoilers, I think I may have purchased the last remaining Hirsch spolier along with the alloys as a set. It does slightly concern me that should an accident occur, the parts are no longer available. I recall from a previous blog post that Paul required a new Hirsch alloy not that long ago and they are rather expensive and now in very limited supply (i.e, not available in sets of four). On a positive note, I’ve owned some very rare and exotic cars in the past where even the slightest component have been ‘unobtania’, so I’m not that concerned despite modern British road standards… (don’t get me started…!)

      Anyway, back to rear spoilers, extremely limited options for the MY08 now the Hirsch option is gone – I suggest buying a used spoiler from the pre ’08 model Aero and use a competent bodyshop to ‘fill in’ where the Saab boot badge/emblem was. There are some great examples of this to be seen on many forums, and some prefer the more subtle appearance. Personally I don’t have a preference, I do however think they look naked without!. The final option is the raised Saab ‘Sport’ spoiler which looks horrific in my opinion, there are still some remaining on ebay and at dealerships etc.

      As for the TX alloys, they look superb, however they can sometimes look a bit too much if on a non TX car. They come in 18 and 19″ guise, they are I believe very recently available from Neo Brothers and there are a few European websites where they are still available. An alternative is the replica Scirocco ‘R’ type rims of which really suite the 9-3, I’m considering a set for next winter to preserve the newly acquired Hirsch rims:

      As for Hirsch leather door/handbrake handles, great news here! They have been sold out for quite some time at Hirsch, however the company who initially produced them for Hirsch are producing the items again. They will apparently be available/produced in around eight weeks time, at a cost of 320 euros including shipping to the UK. Contact Elmar at ( for further information.

      Finally, due to my awful camera skills my car is actually Titan Grey (I much prefer Carbon Grey as it really sets the wheels off, especially on Paul’s).

      Good luck Kev!

      • Hi Jon,

        Many thanks for the reply. I’ve actually managed to source an MY12 Griffin spoiler which will take a few weeks to arrive, but it will at least fit my boot lid no problem and no mods required to fill in the badge gap from the mk2 9-3 Aero spoiler. Just have to get it painted and fitted once it arrives but i’m in no big rush at the minute. I completely agree with your opinion on the spoilers. The sport spoiler just doesn’t do it for me at all, and i like the more subtle approach. It’s not shouty saying, look at me i’m a fast sports car butb does say i mean business.

        I’ve also ordered a MapTun box as opposed to going with the Hirsch upgrade. Tim from SaabsUnited listed a few useful features the MapTun unit can do and in my view is better value for money. I have no worries now about warranty cover anyway, and i can revert the car back to standard at any time if required which is another neat feature i like. The MapTun seems to add a little more power as well compared to the Hirsch upgrade. Given both upgrades were in a similar price range the MapTun was a no brainer for me.

        I had noticed the post on SaabsUnited regarding the door handle kit so i’ve got one ordered, but thanks for bringing it to my attention. I’m looking forward to getting it fitted and losing some of that nasty plastic look in the car. Typical GM sadly, but they do seem to be improving quality these days. Too late for SAAB though sadly.

        I thought Paul’s car was a darker colour, but just assumed it was the pictures that were making it look dark. I’m fairly certain my colour is closer to yours. I’ll need to look up the manual that came with the car and see what the exact colour is. I find the photography can play tricks with the colour at times and it doesn’t always look right even with some editing. Here is mine as an example (It still has the clear lens lights on it when this was taken). The picture has been darkened a bit to get the sky effect, but if you look on SaabsUnited i have a few more posted where the colour might be a little more obvious.

        I’ve decided to leave the alloys, for the time being at least. I’m quite happy with the wheels that have on it at the moment but may change them in future to the TX alloys. The problem was i can only source them in 19″ and the centre caps don’t come with them and SAAB Parts are out of stock for those. I think i would rather get them in 18″ if possible but not too bothered at the moment.

        Once i’ve got the spoiler fitted i’ll give the car a right good cleanout and have another wee photo session and send them into Paul. Watch this space!

        By the way Paul, i tried to reply to you via email but got a failure message back saying the person i’m trying to send to doesn’t have a account. Let me know via email how i can contact you and i’ll send some pictures into you when i’ve got some shots.

        Cheers for now guys.


  5. Hi Kev,

    Apologies for the late reply. It sounds like you’ve been very lucky in sourcing a rear spoiler, great result and better than the ‘filling in the badge option’. I don’t think I’ve seen a Griffin spoiler fitted in the UK as yet, as you say it will ‘mean business’! Can’t wait to see some pics of the car when it’s fitted.

    Talking of the business side of things, have you installed the Maptun tune yet? If you have, I’m sure you’re still smiling!

    I received my Hirsch steering wheel last week and hopefully fitting it tomorrow. Shame really as it looks rather nice where it’s currently situated on a book shelf…


    • Hi Jon,

      I performed the upgrade a couple of weeks ago. I was enjoying the extra power but unfortunately i ran into a problem. As you may or may not be aware the TID & TTID perform a regeneration from time to time to clear the DPF. This normally has to be completed when doing motorway runs. I do relatively short miles during the week going back and forth to work. As the MapTun map increases fuel and turbo pressure i believe this was causing an issue when the car was performing a regeneration. The car started running lumpy and after a couple of days my time for service came up. As i’d had this problem before shortly after i first got the car i knew exactly what it was. Checked the oil level and it was higher than it should be plus i could smell diesel off the dipstick £140 lighter and an oil and filter change later i’ve decided to go back to the original map for the time being. I’ll try and contact MapTun about it but i doubt there is much they can do. SAAB released an update a few years ago for the TTID to help with this problem and that was installed the first time i had this issue, so i’ll stick with it and use the MapTun for long runs down South etc. I can’t afford to shell out £140 every couple of months for an oil change. I’ve ordered an Op-Com so i can carry these out myself manually but still don’t want to risk remapping while i’m doing these short distances as you just don’t know when the car is going to do a regen.

      My spoiler has been shipped and i’m still waiting on it arriving but it will hopefully be here next week. It will be a while before i get it fitted though as finances are tight at the moment. I’m anxious to see if it’s the correct part as i got it for a really good price. I won’t believe it’s the griffin spoiler till i see it. I did buy it from a SAAB dealer though so it should be fine (hopefully).

      You should hopefully have your steering wheel fitted by now and enjoying it. I’d thought about replacing mine as well and the dash for the Hirsch leather type, but i’ve decided small upgrades are the way to go. Who knows, maybe in time i’ll change my mind but i’m happy with what i’ll be doing for now.

      Have a great weekend, looks as though it’s gonna be a good one!! 🙂

      Cheers for now


  6. I know this is a bit off topic, but could anyone enlighten me about what fuel grade they use and why?



    • Sorry for the delayed reply Mike, I usually stick to non supermarket diesel, although I’ve heard there’s no real difference – even if you go for the super expensive ‘performance’ diesel.

      Not sure if you meant diesel or not, and not 100% about standard UK octane ratings, but sure some of the other readers can give you a few sensible answers.

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