Carl-Oscar Alsén contacted the crew a while back and submitted his article on a summer spent with the 9-5. Enjoy the read!
A dream coming true – my summer trip with the new 9-5
When it was time for me and my girlfriend’s second roadtrip this summer we both decided that it should be extra special. For our first tour around Sweden we had rented a comfortable and convenient, yet small, Nissan Micra. This time it would be more in line with my preferences.
Although I’ve never owned anyone, I’m a huge Saab fan. My fandom has mostly consisted of distant admiration. I simply fell in love with the Saab design. I guess it all started when Saab Automobile was up for sale by GM a few years ago. I’ve always been more of a David than Goliath supporter and I get very passionate when I see something which is superior losing out to what I would consider the opposite (having said that, I still morn the decline of HD DVD, which was defeated by Blu-ray in 2008).
I have driven a few Saabs in the past though, and with great pleasure. The first time, however, was as late as the summer of 2011. I moved from one side of the country to the other and rented a car to carry the trailer with all my furnitures and other belongings (including all my HD DVDs, of course). By random selection I ended up getting a 2006 model 9-5 SportCombi, manual gearing. I vividly remember how the BioPower engine fought with the full-packed trailer, in the pouring rain.
When I a couple of months later started my internship for Sveriges Television (the swedish public service television company) I once again got to drive a 2006-2010 line 9-5 SportCombi, this time a SVT-labeled automatic one.
The only car I’ve owned so far is a 1994 Renault Clio, bought in 2010. I sold it a year ago, and has ever since been dreaming about my next car, which most certainly is going to be a Saab. Preferably an automatic laser red 2004 or 2005 9-5 SportCombi (Linear or Aero remains to be seen). The reason why this dream hasn’t trancended into reality already is as simple as it gets. I simply can’t afford it. Having studied from 2010 (and being unemployed before that), my dream is pretty far away on the horizon, since I’m planning to study awhile further.
Thankfully, cars can also be rented. There were two models I was especially interested in, the 9-3 SportCombi (or SportWagon, if you prefer) and the “new” 9-5 sedan. After deeming the 9-5 cost prohibitive, we went for the 9-3 wagon. I honestly felt like a happy little kid then and there, having just made the reservation. It was pure exhilaration.
The following day I got a call from the representative at MABI Tyresö. He told me that a 9-3 SportCombi wasn’t available but that they did have a sedan on the lot. “Well”, I said, “there are two models that I’m especially interested in, the 9-3 SportCombi and the last 9-5. Since you didn’t have the Combi, can I get a discount on the 9-5 instead?”. “Sure you can”, he said.
If I had been excited the night before I was literally flying by now.
Less than a week later, we started our journey across the country. Our first stop was the village of Fors, in Dalarna. Parking the big-ass 9-5 there wasn’t all that easy, but I eventually managed. Dreamingly, I gazed upon it’s shimmering beauty from the window of our cabin.
The following day we continued north through Dalarna, visiting Falun, Leksand and Rättvik before eventually turning 180 degrees around, going to Åmål in Västra Götaland for our second cabin stay. During the long night-driving from Rättvik down to Åmål, I had plenty of time to enjoy the comfort and pleasure of driving this car. Watching the sun go down and the moon show up while the green-lighted dashboard glowed in the dark. We eventually arrived at the cabin, late at night.
Obviously, no road-trip around this part of the country would be complete without a visit to Trollhättan, and the Saab Car Museum. This was our plan for the next day to come.
This plan would however experience a serious threat, involving the 9-5 itself. This cabin was placed close to the water and the pathway to it through the forrest was long and narrow. Right before entering the small cabin area there was a rather steep slope down to the parking space. Though not much of a problem during the descent the night before, it would prove to be more of a challenge when going uphill. This was mainly due to the almost complete lack of bound possibility because of the parking space being so close to the slope and essentially no space surrounding it.
So when I made my first attempt I ended up being stuck with the front wheels in the gravel. Being desperate, I tried to gas myself up causing the engine light to glow and the clutch to smell like burned rubber.
I then backed straight down (the parking space was to the left of the house and small road) trying to get enough bound. Although I had covered the previous tracks/holes in the gravel, and got help from my girlfriend pushing the car from behind, I had no more luck this time around.
After some major trouble backing the car back into the space, and waiting for the clutch to cool down, I made my third attempt, this time not being so heavy on the gas. This would end up being far more succesful, and I managed to get the heck out of there.
But time was running short, and making it before the Saab Museum’s closing time, seemed uncertain. I had very much looked forward to this, since this would be my first visit there. It would also be my first chance of studying the 9-2X, Aero X, 9-4X and the last 9-5 SportCombi in reality.
“Born from jets”, they used to say in the advertising. Well, I felt like a pilot the more I drove this car. Or maybe pretended I was a pilot, would be a better description. Well, this pilot had a deadline to catch, and I let this 9-5 show its powers as we sweeped through the beatiful summer landscape. My girlfriend and navigator, with an iPhone in her hand, gave me constant reports on how we were doing. If we wouldn’t make it, it would be a bit of a disaster. Well, at least for me.
We made it, just half an hour before closing time. Because there was so little time left of being open, the receptionist kindly charged us as pensioners, which was at a lower price.
It really made my day to make it there, and I had a Saab ice-cream cone as well (yes, of course my girlfriend got one too).
After this we went on to Oxelösund, Södermanland for our last cabin night. We returned to Stockholm the following day.
All in all, this was a great trip. First of all, it being done with my dear girlfriend who kindly supports my Saab-mania (well, with some reservation when it comes to all the die-cast models I’ve bought, despite struggling with my student economy).
But second, I got to drive a car I would never dream to afford anytime soon. A rare and precious bird, with a tail so beautiful it hurts.
I got to feel how it’s like to own it, experiencing quite a lot of stares and raised eyebrows over this anomaly of a car. In fact, one of the more memorable moments was in Falun when an older man, assuming I had bought the car, asked me if I recieved any service on it (obviously referring to the bankruptcy). He had worked with Saab previously, hence his curiousness.
Now, I’m just waiting for that own, first Saab of mine…
Saab is dead – long live Saab!