SaabR’s Saab 9-3 Coupé

The SaabsUnited team received this great email from Rob about his love for his 9-3 Coupé. Here is his story.

My name is Rob Adolph (SaabR on SaabsUnited) and I wanted to share the story of my Saab and my connection to this great marque. Although I have been in the Saab family less time than most, it is no less important to me.

A little bit about me first. I work with Jason Powell for Springman’s Saab in BC, Canada. I am one of two salespeople on the floor here and love to talk Saab. The cars, the company, the community all make working for the future of our company worthwhile.

I started in the automotive industry 25 years ago and have seen a lot of changes. From the market to the technology in the cars themselves, change has been the only constant. My first experience with a Saab happened much earlier though when I was around 7 or 8 years old and my Dad took me car shopping with him. We went to all the usual places and examined all the usual suspects. He was always the most interested in the European cars though and ultimately ended up at the Saab store in front of a brand new model – the 900. I remember two things clearly. Getting in to the car and thinking the door was strange in how it wrapped around below the car was the first. The second thing that I thought was the absolute coolest (as an 8 year old kid) was the ignition between the seats. Of course as a kid, the driving was secondary! I was more excited about all the buttons. Unfortunately, my dad decided that a used car would be better (and more affordable) for us at the time and we got a Datsun. My other experience with a Saab was 5 or 6 years later and Dad took me with him to a friend’s place to help him move some things. His friend had an old Saab and all I wanted was to ride with him. I remembered the earlier fascination with the test drive a few years before and wanted to experience that again!

Fast forward several years and many cars later and here I am, selling the same cars that fascinated me almost 35 years ago. We found out that we would become a Saab dealer in the summer of 2010 and I was excited. The cars had become somewhat of a curiosity in my area, as you didn’t see many but you knew what they were. I started to read and learn as much as I could about the brand, the history and people and most of all, the cars. If I was going to sell them, I had better learn them! To go even further, I decided I wanted one. My favourite “newer” Saab is the 2008 TurboX SportCombi. The emotional side of me says that I could forego a lot of stuff to have one. The realistic side of me though (and my wife!) told me I needed something a little easier on the budget. The other model I really liked was the OG 9-3 Coupes. I thought they had a sporty look and the hatchback worked for my needs. I spent 2 months looking for one in my price range though and could not find one. I almost gave up and ended up with a 1996 900 5-door. It had a lot of kilometres on it and was pretty basic and a little rough around the edges, but it was a Saab. That all changed when I came to work the next day.

I received a phone call from a lady saying she just saw our ad for a beautiful black 2008 9-3 sedan and she wanted to see it. She would be in later and would come find me. She also mentioned she had been a Saab driver for many years and had a car she possibly wanted to trade. Later that afternoon, the exact car I had been looking for pulled into the parking lot and it turned out she was here to see the black 9-3! The rest, as they say, is history.

My car is a 1999 Saab 9-3 Coupe with a 2.0L turbo, 5-speed manual, leather heated seats and 178,000km on it. I have had many cars over my years of driving, including several while I worked for a “large” Japanese manufacturer, and I can, fairly and without exaggeration, say that my 9-3 is one of, if not the best car I have ever owned, new or used!

It puts a smile on my face when I hear the turbo wind up. It breezes through corners and is a complete joy to cruise on the highway. I am constantly amazed by this car, especially when I remember it is nearly 12 years old. There are no squeaks, rattles, leaks, vibrations or anything that takes away from the pure joy of driving it. It is a fun car. It is a reliable car. As many others on SaabsUnited can attest to, there is also an intangible when it comes to our Saabs. It is the thing that sends that thrill down your spine, that makes you enjoy driving, and as more than one of us knows, makes us take the long way home.

Maybe it isn’t intangible after all. Maybe it’s soul. And heart. And feeling. It is Saab.

And that is why I love my car.


Rob Adolph
Springman’s Saab Sales Department
ph: 604-530-2886
email: [email protected]

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Well put, Rob. Your story breathes love and passion. Me like a lot. The car, too.



Very well put, Rob! Great story, too! Not unlike many others… The want, the search, the FIND… Happy Saabing!


Nice car Rob. I have a 99 9-3 SE coupe too. Mine has done just over 104,000 km, so (in Saab terms) is still a baby. I hope that Saab remembers us coupe lovers when the current 9-3 gets replaced. We’ve been neglected far too long!



I have a 2002 9-3 SE aut 150 Hp (low pressure turbo) that I enjoy wery much. This summer, at around 150000 km, it has got a great service vith new oil at the aut transmission and a brand new turbo at my Saab dealer. I’ll check the oil level very often an keep it over middle all time, use one of the best oils available and change the oil every 10000 km. 🙂
Great car, and very fun to drive. Much more fun than our 2005 Volvo V70 D5 aut. 🙂


This reminds me of yet an other Saab marketing ‘hiccup’ from the past. Why in the world haven’t they emphasized more the fun aspect. Even at the time of introducing the NG 9-3, a turbo Saab was just a blast compared to any naturally-aspired competitor.

PS. all of you who own an OG 9-3 2.0T with low milage (less than 200k km). I’d go for (some) tuning to widen that smile even further 😉


Why stop at 200k km?

Mine has been running flawlessly with a little tune for the last 150k km, and is doing fine at well above 200k km.

I agree on the marketing hiccup 😉 And may I add that I still think that a OG9-3 with a little tweaking is the closest thing you will ever get to having a 4-wheel Motorbike. Which in my POV is a serious recommendation.
One advantage over the MC is that it also hauls my Guitar Gear and the Caravan with ease

Oh..did I say that I love my little red car 🙂


No need to stop at 200k km, I was just trying establish the mark for low a milage Saab 🙂
I’ve heard of brands that are old and beat up after 70k 😉


Funny… I have been thinking of doing that very thing. I could go from 185hp to 225hp so easily! Hmmm, but then I would need new tires, suspension, exhaust, brakes… uh oh! The bank account manager won’t like this very much! 🙂


Actually I don’t think you need all that -unless you start ‘racing’ of course. If the extra power is only used for more spirited acceleration the standard brakes I believe are more than adequate. They are designed for autobahn speeds anyway.
A Maptun Stage 1 for example will put 225 hp under the hood and no part changes required.

Your bank manager would probably approve such a good investment, but as you said I’m not so sure about the bank account manager especially if you start picking up tickets 😉


+1 on that steg 1

Since the car ia probably also up for a change of exhaust some day, just go directly to Steg 3 for that little extra widening of the smile..
The brakes will hold there too, even though I would always recommend the 308mm discs up front..
Which invitably brings around a new set of wheels..
Oh…I suddently get the point of the bank manager 😉 Oh well..Steg 1 is highly recommended anyway


Nice car Rob. See you on Monday, have a great weekend!!! 🙂


Thanks zippy, you too! I’ll be here!


Absolutely excellent story. I’ve been reading a few articles about Saab in the past few days and the comments on them keep saying things along the lines of: Saab is irrelevant, Saab has no brand values anymore etc. But this story, this is exactly what Saab is about. The passion, the enthusiasm, the pure joy of owning and driving a Saab. This, this is Saab, and we are the Saab community who know exactly what Saab is about. 🙂


Looks sharp!

From looking at it, you would never think that it is 12 years old! In fact, this looks it like the first Saab I encountered, that seemed to have a big influence on me.


Nice car, in mint condition Rob


That looks almost the same as my 2000 9-3 except mine is the 5-door. Purchased new it is my first Saab and the best car I have ever owned…180,000 miles and I still love driving it!


Thanks for the comments folks. It is a great car and if the new 9-3 even remotely captures the magic of these older Saabs, we’ll have a winner for sure!

you would never think that it is 12 years old!


Nice car, in mint condition

I wish it was mint! lol with a little TLC it could be though and that is the surprising thing about it. It has stood up extremely well for a 12 year old car. People still think it is newer that it is!

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