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.
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!