Monte Carlo mods (almost) complete – feels like a new car!!

I picked up my Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo today, having had a fair chunk of work completed on it. All I can say is WOW! It really does feel tighter and quicker than what I’d dared to hope.
I’m sorry about the crappy quality of the photos, but it’s still getting dark quite early here. Here’s my favourite one from tonight:
Click to enlarge and you’ll see my new badge on the back there. That’s a genuine Hirsch badge to go with the new Hirsch ECU in the car.
Finally, the Monte’s got the sort of power and pull I’d hoped for. It really is a huge difference when you drop the right foot, but remains totally driveable the rest of the time. I am so freaking pleased with this upgrade. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a tweaked ECU and I can wholeheartedly recommend it.
The power seems to come on instantly; it never gets tired and always feels strong. I’m really not sure how they do that, but prior to this changeover, the car felt short of breath after around 4,000 rpm.
It feels totally controllable now, too. I had a steering rack clamp and brace that I got from Parts for Saabs fitted to the car and it’s working a treat. I was a little worried about getting a non-Abbott unit but with all due respect to the original creators of this little masterpiece, it’s hard to justfy the extra cost (this one cost me $199 delivered vs $510 for the Abbott unit a few years ago).
It’s a little hard to see, but the blue bit is the clamp in the following photo.
The car also got a basic service, a quick adjustment to tighten the door when shut (very easy – should have done it myself) but the final difference maker was the fitment of new Viggen dampers and springs all round.
These were sourced from Saab Australia and have really sorted out the ride. The dampers on the car when I bought it were probably the original units it was made with. They were tired and creaky and the car tended to roll a fair bit as a result.
It’s a fantastic improvement and feels much firmer now, though it could still probably benefit from a better anti-roll bar on the rear.
It’s looking alright and now it’s driving much better as well.
I’ve still got three or four things left to do. I’ll be on the Elkparts website later on (done!) for a new intake and a badge for the front. A new better-breathing exhaust is on the agenda as well. And finally, I’ve got a feeling that I’m just going to have to change those front and rear bumpers for the deeper Aero versions.
Yes, I’m Viggenising, and I’m loving it!!

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