If things had gone a bit different a view like this with 9-3, 9-5, 9-5 SC and 9-4x side by side would have been rather normal. But we all know how things went for Saab, so meeting this range of cars on a dealer lot tells a lot about the amount of dedication that is involved in their business.
Saab Service Lafrentz in Kiel, Germany has been selling and servicing Saab for more than 25 years and even after bankruptcy they’ve never stopped. As the flow of new cars from Trollhättan ended they put a focus on finding pre-owned cars. They also have already imported two 9-4x, one more is right now on its way to Germany. When the auction of those 9-5 SC in Sweden took place they also bought one of them.
It’s rather unlikely that this car will ever go on sale (as it is drven by Markus Lafrentz himself) but through the experience with that car Saab Service Lafrentz became an unofficial competence center to get the 9-5 SC street legal here in Europe. As I heared they are right now helping other owners of this rare car to get the needed approvals. It was said that those could not be obtained but never say never…
I first met Markus and his father at the 2011 Octoberfest in Trollhättan and was struck by the amount of passion they have for the brand. If you are in Germany or nearby and have a certain issue with your Saab or need some part that is hard to find it may pay off to get in touch with them. They have an excellent network and helped quite a few Saab drivers. I’d also recommend to have a look at the cars they have in stock. Besides the 9-4x I’d recommend having a look at their 9-3 Griffin 2.0T SportCombi and that gorgeous fully restored 9000 Aero.
One special thing is the car Markus’ father is driving – one of two ever built red 9-4x Aero. Here’s a bit of the story in Markus’ own words:
We first decided to buy a 9-4x in the US in November 2011 and had one reserved but at that time the guys from Saab Germany promised us that they will deliver us the cars latest in april 2012 so we decided to wait. From the knowing of today the dumbest decision I made. If I had taken the one we had on reserve I could have sold a lot of them because in the beginning of the year most of the people didn’t fear the bankruptcy and had been totally impressed from the car after the German dealer tour.
But that’s the past. Then in February 2012 my dad and I had a four week vacation in New York and Florida (most of the time in Florida). We decided that we wouldn’t do business but hey what shall I say, that didn’t work out. So we decided to visit Saab dealerships and search for a 9-4x that suits us. We had been looking around at the big dealerships but none of them had stock or the stock was sold. So we got back home in march and started to do the research for a car through the web. We found a dealer which bought all the cars GM/SCNA used as the marketing cars. And there were two interesting cars. One completely new black one and the crystal red one. After a little research we found out, that only two red aero’s should have come from the production line and the decision was made. The red one suits our collection better because it’s even more unique than the 9-4x can be. Since we have a little collection of Saabs we definetely wanted to have it and a good friend of mine who has a business in the US made all things clear. That was in late may 2012. Then it took until late August before we picked the car up at the harbour. There were a lot of misunderstandings with the transport company so that it took so long. But in the end the car arrived and we were all very happy with it.
In the beginning of September we started to do the conversions to the car to get in on the EU standard. Tires are a point because they are mostly not the ones which are allowed here. Than the lighting has to be revised a little and you have to install a rear fog light because they don’t have it in the US. We tried to get it in as it should and managed to use the switches out of the 9-5 and installed the LED’s in the spot where it was supposed to be when the cars would have come as EU Versions. What we also did is getting the AC Unit switches on the °C standard. The system can also be changed to the metric units so it is looking like the ones we should have gotten. And the Odometer has to be changed from miles to kilometers that’s also a costly thing.
The only thing we didn’t managed to change is the navigations system but we are in talks with some people who might have the possibility of changing it. We also needed to get the car inspected by the german “TÜV” to get the licenses to get the car registrated. This is probably the toughest and costly thing but as you have seen in sweden it worked out. 😉