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by Swade

Help needed – Geneva accommodation

January 31, 2011 in Troll Stuff

It seems we may have only one of two attending the Geneva show. I had to scratch and argue to get my accreditation, which only came through yesterday after initially being denied. RedJ’s is not looking rosy at this point.

That said, with such a late confirmation of attendance, accommodation is going to be a massive hassle to find.

Just wondering – has anyone here got any local knowledge as to where to look. I’m assuming that as with every other year, Geneva itself is completely booked out. Consequently I might need to stay somewhere within commuting distance.

If anyone has a suitable lead, or suitable advice, please let me know via email (swade99-at-gmail-dot-com)




I’m not 100% sure about SW plans, but I think he/we needs accommodation for 3 nights, coming at the 28th of February and leaving on the 3rd of May.

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by Swade

Housekeeping: Comments (again)

January 23, 2011 in Troll Stuff

I got an email from a Saabs United reader earlier today, which included the following:

I don’t read all the comments nowadays as there is so much negative talking in there.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen this. It’s not even the first time I’ve seen this in the last three days.

People seem to think that just because they can comment here freely, that they should. Comments become a place for throwaway lines, online comedy auditions, needless over-reactive negativity and/or the idea that “Saab will die if they don’t [do what the commenter thinks is important]“.

There have been a few other transgressions recently that have necessitated action. A number of racial comments have seen one regular relegated to a moderation queue. And a visit from someone whose sole purpose was to declare that Saab Is Dead has seen the same action.

This is an enthusiast’s website. I don’t mind discussion or polite, considered argument. I don’t mind disagreement. But the purpose of this site is to support Saab and document current events happening with the company and the ownership community. It’s not to prognosticate or prophesy on what could be the direst possible consequence of any given action.

I want this site to reflect positively towards the Saab brand. I want people who come here to see the picture that I see – an innovative company in a tough position, but working as best they can to proceed, and making progress towards that goal. I want it to be a positive experience for people who land here.

Some guidelines to commenting here:

  • Read the comments policy.
  • Read the comments policy again.
  • Consider whether what you’ve got to say actually adds to the discussion.
  • Be prepared to accept the viewpoints of others. They might well know a lot more than you do about a given situation.
  • Don’t look at a story in isolation (e.g. the recent, small recall on fuel pumps). Consider the big picture.
  • Recognise your own limitations. If you don’t know the circumstances surrounding a decision (i.e. the big picture), admit it. If you don’t understand the consequences of, or obstacles to your proposed idea, either hold it, or if you proceed to share your wisdom, admit it.

Saabs United is not all about you. It’s not all about me, either. It’s all about Saab. Please consider the ramifications of what you want to say before you say it because it might well have a negative impact on the experience of others here.

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by Swade

Another mini-milestone for Saabs United

January 12, 2011 in Troll Stuff

From my WordPress dashboard today…..

“100%Saab” was the one who brought us to this magical all-9′s comment milestone (thanks!), which in some Saaby way feels every bit as important than the one that came after it…..

Thanks to “74Stingray” for providing the first 6-figure comment here at SU.

It’s nice to see two regulars here fill in some important milestones. I feel like I should get a set of steak knives for both of you :-)

Thanks all for your ongoing contributions to the life of Saabs United.

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by Swade

Upgrades on the way for my Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo

January 11, 2011 in Troll Stuff

For those of you who are new around here, this is my car…..

Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo

It’s a 1999 Saab 9-3 SE Sport, known as a Monte Carlo here in Australia. We only got 50 of them here, each of them numbered. There are various configurations – 3-door, 5-door, Auto and Manual, all of them with a B204R engine, producing 200hp in manual form. Mine is #9, a 3-door manual.

Since getting the car, I’ve fitted the following:

  • 17-inch wheels from a 9-3SS with Continental SportContact rubber
  • Steering rack clamp and brace
  • Custom made front subframe brace
  • Rear sway bar
  • Carbonfibre dash kit (originally fitted to Viggen here in Oz)
  • Hirsch stainless steel cat-back exhaust
  • Hirsch wastegate actuator
  • Hirsch performance ECU
  • Maptun performance air filter (I have a Speedparts one as well)
  • Saab 9-3 Viggen dampers and springs

I’ve had the car for two years now, which is pretty good for me :-)

I was considering replacing the car some time early this year, but some circumstances have arisen that have made me reconsider. Instead of selling, I’m now upgrading a few bits and pieces.

It became evident shortly after the Hirsch ECU upgrade that my clutch was wearing. I’ve put up with it for a little while now, but I figured that this should be the first upgrade.

Hence, a Viggen clutch has been ordered and should arrive later this week, along with a few other goodies.

Since I’m uprating the clutch, I figured the car could do with a bit more power and some better breathing. Soooooooooo…. I emailed my mates at Maptun to see what they suggested.

Along with the clutch, I’m now looking forward to receiving:

  • Maptun Stage 3 ECU
  • Uprated Forge wastegate actuator (matched to ECU requirements)
  • A big, fat downpipe to complete the exhaust system.

I’m told these upgrades should be good for a theoretical 280hp and around 400Nm of torque.

UPS tracking tells me they’ve left Melbourne, so I’m hoping for a call from my mechanic tomorrow to say they’ve arrived. If so, I reckon I’ll be risking a ticket some time early next week :-)

At the same time as this stuff’s installed, I’m going to get my airbag and stereo controls back, and get Steve the mechanic to look at the front end for an occasional knocking noise.

Sometimes not buying a replacement car can be fun, too.

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by Swade

SU Site Statistics – December 2010

January 9, 2011 in Troll Stuff

We’re in a new month so I’ll take this weekend opportunity to share the site statistics from December 2010.

SU served 467,222 pages during December 2010, to 67,261 unique visitors. A slower month, thanks to the Christmas break, which really was a break this year.

Seeing we’re at year’s end, why not a small sample of annual numbers as well?

Saabs United served 7,551,995 page views for the whole of 2010. These pages were served to 784,589 individual visitors. Not too shabby, eh?


The top 20 cities visiting Saabs United during December were as follows:

Munich, Berlin and Amsterdam were all in the 25, but just didn’t make it into the top 20.

Much is made of the potential contained in the so-called “BRIC” countries. Visitation here isn’t quite pointing to the same thing, but Russia’s good at 5,821 pages and China’s growing with 1,313 pages (Taiwanese Saab fans viewed just over 2,000 pages for the month). India and Brazil were both around the 400 page mark, so there aren’t many people looking for Saab information there…. yet :-)


Here are some new stats for you….

19.7% of visits to SU in December were people visiting just once.

28.6% of visits to SU in December were the 200th (or more) visit for the person concerned.


The top 3 individual pages viewed in December 2010 (aside from the home page) were as follows:


That’s it for this month.

And here we go again for the start of 2011!!

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by Swade

Saab 900 Convertible gets emu art treatment

January 3, 2011 in Troll Stuff

I think it’s going to be a convertible themed month…..

As some of you know, my wife does quite a lot of watercolour painting. At her first solo exhibition, held back in November 2010, she had a painting of some emus in a Mini Convertible. This prompted a few people to ask “what about a Saab convertible?” – and she even received one commission for such a painting.

I thought I’d share the finished result with everyone here at SU….

The emu paintings aren’t all she does, but they are extremely popular as they bring such a big smile to people’s faces.

Putting them in a 900 Convertible will hopefully bring even more smiles.

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by Swade

SU Site Stats November 2010

December 2, 2010 in Troll Stuff

The monthly report is as follows….

  • There were 160 posts written on Saabs United during November. That’s an average of just over 5 posts per day.
  • Saabs United served 519,518 pages to 71,638 individual visitors during November 2010.
  • Visitors spent an average of three minutes (precisely) on site, per visit.
  • The busiest day of the month was November 18, with over 23,000 pages served. November 18 saw various posts associated with the launch of the Saab 9-4x at the LA Auto Show.


The US provides the most visitors in terms of countries……

…but doesn’t provide a single city in the top 10….

New York was #11 :-)


The top 5 posts viewed during November were as follows:

The most commented articles on site this month (over 50 comments) were as follows:

And finally, for something different, the top 10 browsers accessing the site:

Thanks to all for hanging around. It’s been a pleasure.

A dubious milestone passes

November 25, 2010 in Editorial, Saabology, Troll Stuff

EggsnGrits here, long time no post.  My day job has been insanely demanding for the last three or four months, but with magnificent results, so I’m not complaining much.

Thanks to @JustSaab on Twitter, I’m reminded that this is the very day and hour that I reluctantly picked up the phone to call Swade in Tasmania a year ago.  The information that I had to give? Koenigsegg Group had abruptly ended their bid to purchase Saab Automobile AB.  The announcement was made near the end of the European working day, about 10:30 AM here in Nashville, Tennessee or about 3:30 AM in Tasmania.

As I recall vividly, Swade’s first words were, “Fair dinkum?”  (Translated:  “Really?”)  The second question was one that really brings back the memories:  “Who is reporting it?”  As you may recall, by late November of last year we’d had quite enough of the junk journalism and speculative posts surrounding the GM/Saab split.  Swade (nor I, for that matter) was in no mood to wrestle with yet another bogus report with no real basis in fact.  “Reuters, AP and BBC from what I can see here.  Fritz Henderson (then acting CEO of GM) has a news conference scheduled for today.”   Of course, you know the rest of the story.

I bring this up today not to wallow in the negatives of Saab’s near death experience.  I want us all to revel in just how far we have come!  Two new world-class vehicles, our new 9-5 and the home-run 9-4x, in the showrooms.  Dealerships in Canada.  A partnership with a leader in automotive technology, BMW, for development of new Saabs.  A new 9-3 in engineering and test.  A growing and thriving North American organization lead by Mike Colleran and crew.  The talented Jason Castriota leading our design efforts.  And, finally, a charismatic and active leader in Victor Muller paired with our own strong, steady Jan-Ake Jonsson.

We have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving week.  We’ve come so far in just 12 months.  Just think about what we can do with the next 12.  It’s going to continue to be a great ride.

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by Swade

Things that go ‘bump’ in the afternoon….

November 12, 2010 in Troll Stuff

We moved offices yesterday.

We were told about the move around six weeks ago and I’ve been unhappy about it ever since. We’ve gone from a nice convenient office in the center of the city to a building that’s only another 5 minutes from home, but the setting couldn’t be any more different.

We’re now in the middle of what Australians call “the bush”. This is the sort of area that firefighters worry about – lots of trees, high fuel load and at the top of a hill where the wind can whip up a frenzy in no time. In fact, I went on a small walk today and you could see the charring from the last fire that came through.

I was told today that snake season is coming, too. We need to watch out for them in the carpark and in the surrounding countryside. Tasmania has three types of snake (Tiger, Lowland Copperhead and white-lipped) and two of those three will do more than just spoil your lunchtime stroll.

Enough of the snakes, though. As I was cleaning out my office cupboards earlier today, I came across some papers I haven’t seen in a long time.

The main one of interest was a green invoice, detailing the purchase of our Saab 9000 CS from a used car dealer here in Hobart a number of years ago. Along with that invoice was an inspection report, listing a bunch of items that needed to be fixed or replaced. Looking back, I don’t know why I paid the price that we did for that car, with all those things wrong.

It was a wonderfully nostalgic find for a car guy. Our 9000 isn’t anything to shout about but it’s served us faithfully, noisy transmission and all, ever since we first brought it home. It eats up the miles on a long trip and is truly one of those cars that gets you to your destination in as good a shape as when you started off.

The 9000 is my wife’s car. It’s the only automatic in the family, so it’s the only one that she drives. A few hours ago, as I was contemplating what to write next here at SU, she called me on my mobile phone.

“Swade, I’ve been in a bad, bad accident!”

My mind raced, as would anyone’s. But she was OK enough to call, she sounded OK and she wasn’t crying.

How bad could it be?

Read the rest of this entry →

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by Swade

Maybe, in a year from now…..

November 9, 2010 in Saabology, Troll Stuff

One of the great frustrations (and ironies) about me running this website is that I’ve never bought a new Saab. I’ve never bought a new car of any make, actually. It’s not something that sits that well with me given that I’m a staunch supporter of the brand but my wife and I have financial plans that involve paying off our house as the #1 priority. I guess you could say I try to make up for the lack of buying by doing other things (e.g. you’re reading one of them right now).

The good news is that the end of our mortgage purgatory is now within sight. It’s still going to take a year or so, but we’re almost getting to the point where I can start looking around and thinking about the Saab I’d like to buy.

A small tangent…..

I must be getting old or something. Even just two years ago, I could spend hours on motoring classified websites, trawling through the various cheapies I’d like to buy. I’ve bought a few of them over the years, too. Older Saabs, Alfas and even a Mazda MX-5. I look at those sites now, though, and there’s very little (aside from unattainable Porsches) that holds any interest for me anymore.

Must be time to start thinking new. /tangent

Whilst I absolutely love the Saab 9-5, I have to concede that it would be too expensive for us given what I would expect the Aussie price to be. It’s also bigger than what I think my wife would be comfortable driving.

A Saab 9-3 is more our style and ever since I drove a Saab 9-3x for a week in Sweden last year, it’s been my absolute favourite model in the 9-3 range.

So….. perfect world scenario, here’s what I’d be getting (built on the Saab GB website)

My Saab 9-3x

That’s a Saab 9-3x in Laser Red, with the TTiD engine and FWD.

The interior is the more spartan textile/leather combination in black and grey. There’s something about it that suits the more utilitarian nature of the car for me.

My Saab 9-3x Int

Options would include the Prestige Pack, comprising electric memory seats and the BOSE upgraded audio and Bluetooth.

I don’t particularly need XWD where I live and I’d be very happy to get the combined frugality and performance of the 180hp and 400Nm TTiD engine.

Well, kind of…..

Given that this would be the first new car purchase (and assuming it’ll be available here in Australia) I’d try and make it a little special by going for the Hirsch software upgrade. This would lift the output to 200hp and 430Nm without any loss in economy or warranty coverage. The 0-100 sprint is only marginally faster, but the 80-120 push is significantly quicker (as it should be with Saabs).

Whilst burying my nose in the Hirsch order book, I’d also spring for the Carbon Leather dashboard to dress up the interior. Their sportier steering wheel might also come into calculations, depending on the budget.

My Saab 9-3x Side

So, all going well, this is the car I’d like to be telling you all about – finally – in around 12-18 months from now.

It’ll have been a long haul from being a newbie blogger with an old 99Turbo to this, but it’s a journey well worth taking.

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by Swade

Free postage on T-Shirts for North America

November 9, 2010 in Troll Stuff

I haven’t written about our little T-shirt shop for a while, but our shirt provider, Spreadshirt, has an offer on for the next week that’s worth writing about.

Don’t shoot the messenger, but there is just a little more than 6 weeks left till Christmas. Don’t panic! That’s just for people who wait until the 23rd to start their gift shopping. Good things come to those who wait plan accordingly. So, if you are already thinking about the right gift for your gift list: this free shipping promotion is a great way to start!

Order from our wide selection of gift ideas before November 14th and enter the coupon code SHOPEARLYUS (or CADSHOPEARLY for Canada) when going through checkout.

Of course, if no-one else in your family is thinking of a Saab T-Shirt for you, you might want to email this post to them (see sharing options below).

Ivan’s got plenty of great designs at the shop and you can use the SU DIY Shop to customise your shirt in any number of ways.

Saab Turbo Shirt