More of that custom Saab 92

Martin F photographed this customised Saab 92 at the Saab Days gathering over the weekend.
Custom Saab 93
The car aroused a reasonable amount of interest in comments, and Martin has been kind enough to chip in a link to some more photos on Garaget (thanks!!)
Click to enlarge!
According to the Garaget page, the car has the original two cylinder, to-stroke engine and the original gearbox.
Of course, as you can see here it’s got a completely restored and customised exterior and interior. Those are 18-inch wheels you see there, though the car retains it’s original drum brakes.
The car was purchased less than a year ago, so if they’ve done all this restoration work in that time then it’s a job well done already.
It sounds like the owner might not be finished yet, too, with audio still to go in and the “Future Plans” section if the Garaget page simply saying Be ready.

Saab Ads – Get yours NOW at Elkparts!

I thought I’d better post this again. When I first offered these posters via email there were 300 requests for them and I figure some may have missed this post last week and wondered why they didn’t receive the email.
Here you go….
You can tell I’m not a businessman…..
If I’d thought this through properly I would have proposed this to John from Elkparts right from the get-go. As it happened, I didn’t think about it until I saw his name in the comments thread asking for a copy of the Saab Advert PDF that I posted about yesterday.
In a win-win-win situation for everybody, John has graciously agreed to host the Saab Advert PDFs so that you can now download them at your liesure and not have to worry about me stuffing up a complex bulk email.

  • You don’t have to wait until the weekend to get your copy.
  • I don’t have to worry about the time consuming task of preparing the bulk email – or the prospect of it getting messed up.
  • Whilst you’re there, you might want to peruse some scale models of the cars in the advert, or some of the other offers Elkparts has especially for SU readers.

Click here to get your Saab Advert PDF now, from Elkparts.
Saab Advert
John had offered some time ago to host podcasts for me if I’d chosen to go down that road, an offer that was declined with thanks because I couldn’t see myself having the time for a good quality podcast that would add much more in terms of value for you readers.
The response to the Saab Advert PDF article has been rather overwhelming. As I write this, there’s 300 requests for it. I’m sure there’s some automated software that could do the job of collating those addresses for me, but I don’t know what it is and right now the prospect of cutting and pasting 300 email addresses into a bulk email seems rather daunting………SO…
When I saw John’s request for a copy, I emailed him and asked if he wouldn’t mind hosting them on his servers so that people could download them at their leisure.
As mentioned above, the result is a win for everyone concerned.
My thanks to John for this generous time-saver of a gesture and to everyone, thanks for your interest in the adverts. I hope you enjoy them and pass them on to some other Saab friends of yours.
It’s a little bit of pay-it-forward, Saab style.
Click here to get your Saab Advert PDF now, from Elkparts.
My thanks once again to Steve C for passing them on to me, and also to Lowe Brindfors for passing them on to him in the first place.
Also, if you are concerned because you’ve provided an email address in comments to the previous entry on this subject, please have no fear.
As is normal SU policy, your email address has not been passed on to a third party and never will be. The only reason it was needed was for the reason stated in the original entry, so that I could email the PDF’s out to people.

Sunday Night Snippets – Rusty Ashes edition

Australia’s New Zealand’s own Russell Crowe has bought a Saab!
Well, almost. He’s helped one of the crew in the movie he’s filming buy a Saab, which is near enough, I suppose.

The Oscar winner handed sound recordist Denise Yarde £5000 ($10,200) to buy a new car after her old one burst into flames while she was driving from her London home to the movie set in Virginia Water, Surrey.
When she arrived on set she told co-workers, including the multi-millionaire star of the film, about her ordeal and said she would now have to find the money to buy a new car.
The Sunday Mirror newspaper reported that when Crowe made a joke about the car, Yarde shot back: “Well I suppose it’s OK for you Russell. You’ve probably never had to worry about finding five grand for a new car.”
A short time later, Crowe handed over a wad of cash, saying: “There you go. You can buy a £10,000 car now.”
A film insider told the newspaper that Yarde was overjoyed by the gesture and used the money to buy a top-of-the-range 2007 Saab.

The movie he’s filming is a new version of Robin Hood, so I suppose the natural question is who did he steal the money from before he handed it over?
Thanks to Damien C for the link!
Don’t forget Etienne’s Saab Days photos…..
The Ashes
I’ve got to say to our English friends, that here in Australia we are Not Happy with the umpiring at Lords.
It doesn’t excuse the 1st innings collapse we had, but to lose Ponting to a ball he didn’t hit in tht 1st innings, and then lose BOTH opening batsmen to poor decisions in the 2nd innings (Freddy bowled a no ball to get Katich and the umpires refused to refer the bounced catch that dismissed Hughes) is very disheartening.
It looks like we’re going to lose this test now. And with Bing Lee most likely still unavailable for the third test, question marks around Stuart Clark, Mitch Johnson feeling emotional and Mike Hussey looking like he’d struggle to hit a piñata, I think Australia’s going to struggle in this series.
I hope Ponting gives the umpires a very big serve at the end of play today.

More from Saab Days and the Midnight Sun Rally

It’s all happening this weekend in Sweden.
We’ve got the Midnight Sun rally going on as well as the Saab Days festival and some SU regulars are involved with both.
Midnight Sun Rally
First to the rally, where our mate Jörgen T is driving his Saab 96 and doing pretty well. He was in 4th place after 2 legs of the rally. One leg to go.
This is the field at the 2nd nightly stopover at Årjäng. As you can see, the weather is not being kind – not much midnight sun going on here…..
This is Jörgen with Elizabeth Nyström, who was an occasional co-driver with Pat Moss (who apparently, did not like green cars – consider yourself a little more educated now)
Jörgen also called into the Saab museum on day 1, and photographed what is apparently a new car to the museum, a replica of Per Eklund’s Saab 96 from 1973, a car in which he nearly killed himself in an accident in Jyväskylö, Finland.
Here’s hoping Jörgen has another great day on the final day of the rally. My thanks to him for keeping us updated and sending in some great photos.
Saab Days
The Saab Days celebrations are also on in Trollhattan and I’ve received some great photos from Martin F.
You can see more of these here. Thanks Martin!!
A nice Saab 99 in orange…..
And a cutaway Saab, very nicely photographed in the Saab museum….
The number of custom Saabs at these events, and the quality and degree of the work, is always jaw-dropping. We just don’t see Saabs like this outside Sweden.
Or this rather extreme Saab 93 from the 1950s…..
Another shot from the museum.
Another regular who’s at Saab Days is Dippen, and he’s shot some videos, which I’ve embedded after the jump.
Some people have trouble viewing video on this site. If that’s you, or if you’re using Internet Explorer, then click here to see Dippen’s videos.
If video’s OK for you, then click through to watch just a few of them.

Read moreMore from Saab Days and the Midnight Sun Rally

Images from Saab Days and the Midnight Sun rally

Etienne from Belgium, who runs the Saabhuy blog, is currently in Trollhattan for Saab Days and has started depositing photos on to his Flickr account.
Of course, the Midnight Sun rally competitors took a stop in Trollhattan as well last night, so it’s no surprise that his latest photos have a distinct motorsport feel.
There’s more photos at his Flickr account if you’d like to check them out.
And on motorsport, one of our own is actually running his car quite successfully in this Midnight Sun rally. Jörgen T is driving his Saab 96 in the event and actually came second in the regularity section of the rally yesterday!
Here he is with the car….
And the V4 under the hood……
Jörgen with former Saab factory driver Simo Lampinen after a day’s driving.

Upgrading a 1998-2002 Saab 9-3 – Part 1: Viggen Rescue Kit

This 4-part series was original published in January 2009 at Trollhattan Saab. I thought I’d bring it online here at SU in order to form part of a Saab Tuning Guide.
I got an email from John K asking what might be the best path to take to upgrade his MY2000 Saab 9-3. Not just any Saab, 9-3, either. John was the guy who ended up buying the black 9-3 Viggen 5-door that I was looking at in Sydney, just before Christmas.
John writes:

I understand you owned a Viggen at some stage and I was hoping you could provide some guidance on some minor upgrades I was looking for the car. It’s starting to get a little confusing with all the sites, parts and part no’s available and seeing as most items would need to come from overseas I really don’t want to muck up an orders with incorrect parts etc.
Initially I was looking at installing the following and hope you can provide further details on the best option, where to buy from and relevant part no’s (if possible):
1) Shock absorbers – I would like to replace these with a quality set (front & rear). The current ones are leaking slightly and I’ve been told they are all pretty much due for replacement. Do you know which ones work well on the Viggen? (i.e. Koni, Bilstein, KYB or other). In your opinion where would be the best place to source these?
2) Poly Bushes – I’ve been told that replacing standard bushes with polyurethane assists in handling. Can you advise which bushes would be worthwhile changing (sorry, I’m not very mechanically minded and all the guys I know are not very well versed with the Viggen).
3) Performance Air-Filter – Any recommendations on a good element or filter kit?
4) Exhaust – Is it worthwhile purchasing an exhaust kit from a saab parts centre (i.e. genuinesaab or elkparts or would a made up one from an exhaust fitter be sufficient). I’m looking at going 3″ with as many mufflers as possible to keep it quite.
5) Computer Upgrades – Again, any advice on what to upgrade here for more performance? Elk parts sell a BSR flash handset which plugs into the diagnostic adapter and upgrades the existing computer for more power….have you heard any good or bad things about this?
Sorry to trouble you with these questions.

No trouble at all!
There’s a lot there, and rather than write back an email, I thought it would be worth a post here. Others may be interested, and I’ll be going through almost all this stuff with the Monte Carlo anyway.
As you know, I’m no techie. In fact, I’m practically incompetent. But I have owned a Viggen previously and I have spent a bucketload of time checking out the things I could do to get a little more satisfaction from it.
So without further ado…..
The Viggen is one heck of a great car, but like almost all 9-3s of its vintage, it’s got too much engine for the chassis it sits in. That means it has some handling compromises in its normal state, compromises that only get magnified if you try to tap some of that plentiful power potential.
The first thing you need then, is stability.
Viggen Rescue Kit
The Viggen Rescue Kit (or fundamental parts thereof) made by Abbott Racing in the UK is the undisputed essential item for sorting out some of the inherent problems with the 9-3. It’s named for the Viggen that inspired it, but the VRK is appropriate for any upgraded 9-3.
The VRK is made up of four components: a steering rack clamp and bulkhead brace, polyurethane track control arm bushes, a support arm bearing kit and a stainless steel subframe brance. The components can be bought separately but it’s cheaper to buy the kit as a unit.
gold_rack_clampThe magic pill here is the steering rack clamp and subframe brace, available for both LHD and RHD cars. The original Saab steering rack clamp is a flimsy rubber unit with a steel surround. The Abbott unit is made from billet alloy and along with the subframe brace, it holds the steering rack firmly in place and all-but eliminates the torque steer from the Viggen. As you get so much feedback from the steering wheel, this is a great upgrade.
I fitted the Abbott steering rack clamp and subframe brace to my Viggen and it was nothing short of a transformation in how the car felt.
Abbott Racing are the guys behind the VRK but if you’re in Australia, you have to buy your Abbott products through Swedish Prestige, in Melbourne. This is fine as Dean’s a great guy to deal with, but going through a middleman does increase the price and you won’t get much change out of A$1,500 for the VRK. I’m not sure of the purchasing arrangements in other countries outside the UK, but Abbott are pretty loyal to their distributors so I’d imagine a similar situation exists.
The good news is that there are now alternatives to buying the original VRK. Various Saab parts specialists are now manufacturing elemts of the VRK and at a substantial savings on the original Abbott parts.
Genuine Saab (Taliaferro) make a LHD version of the steering rack clamp and subframe brace. Elkparts distribute this in Europe. Parts for Saabs make a RHD version and if you want an indication of the savings – subframeI got my steering rack clamp and bulkhead brace from Abbott in 2007 and it cost me around A$500. I just ordered the rack clamp for the Monte from PFS and it’s costing me $200 – delivered!
The stainless steel subframe brace is said to stiffen things up a bit. The Abbott unit it’s a two-point brance and there’s others who make this sort of unit as well. The Big Momma of subframe braces is the Taliaferro six-point brace, which is said to stiffen up the subframe considerably.

Upgrading a 1998-2002 Saab 9-3 – Part 2: Suspension

In part 1 we got John K’s request about upgrading his Viggen and covered some of the deficiencies of the vehicle as well as one of the essential upgrades to condier – the Viggen Rescue Kit.
In part 2 we look at a few other handling improvements so you can put all that power down in a more controlled manner.
Springs and Dampers
I had the Koni yellow adjustable dampers in my Viggen and I can highly recommend them.
If you call your local suspension specialist here in Australia, they’ll tell you that Koni don’t sell dampers for the Viggen or Aero. Garbage. They just don’t sell them in Australia. Koni have had some trouble with them here so they’ve withdrawn them from the lineup and you have to get them from one of the previously listed parts sellers.
I never had any trouble with mine and the adjustability is great if you like driving in different conditions and having the car being set up for those conditions. The dampers adjust via a little handle that Koni supply and it only takes a few minutes to adjust all four of them.
viggen-16_jpg I’ve never changed my springs but I’ve heard good things about Eibach springs and I’m considering lowering my Monte 30mm with a set of Eibachs from Elkparts. These will work fine on the Monte Carlo, though they may not lower the Viggen.
A Viggen can be lowered, however, but with the already low front bumper you’re asking for scuffing trouble. That didn’t put Jeff B in Melbourne off the idea, though, as he’s lowered his Viggen down onto its guts. It can be done.
Polyurethane Bushes
I never got around to fitting these to my own Viggen so I don’t know which bushes take priority or how well they work. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them, though.
I’ll have to defer to more experienced heads than mine on this one.
Rear Anti-roll Bar
Again, My time with the Viggen was cut short before I could install a rear anti-roll bar. It’s high on my list of priorities for the Monte Carlo, though. I drove Richo’s Viggen with an ARB installed and it really did flatten out the corners nicely.
The rear ARB gives the back end a lot of stability and the driver a lot of confidence coming out of corners (just don’t get too confident, eh?). They’re inexpensive, apparently easy to install and very, very effective.

Upgrading a 1998-2002 Saab 9-3 – Part 3: Intake and Exhaust

In part 1 of this series, we looked at the Viggen’s problems and one of the initial solutions in the Viggen rescue kit.
In part 2, we looked at other suspension components that can be upgraded and give you much better control over the power your car can unleash.
The components in those first to parts comprise a pretty fair list and it’s not a cheap one to fulfil.
But if you do the engine upgrades before you do this stuff – or the essential bits, at least – then you’ll end up with a car that goes like crazy, but rarely in a straight line and many of the changes in direction won’t be intentional.
So with that done, it’s on to the fun bits under the hood….
Again, it’s worthwhile getting your engine ready to make the most of the performance modifications you want to make. You can get a software upgrade straight away, but you’ll get a heap more out of it if you upgrade some of your hardware first.
Let’s start with some better breathing…..
Inhale – getting the air in
The key to getting more power out of you engine is getting more air into your engine. It’s not just the rate you can push the air in, either. The temperature matters, too. The colder the air, the denser it is, and therefore greater in volume.
The first step is to get a free flowing (but good) air intake. These have the advantage of allowing a lot of air in and if it’s a good unit, it’ll still perform its filtration duties properly as well. Because a Saab’s turbocharger generates so much heat, your air intake should come equipped with a heat shield to keep the air as cool as possible. You should also try and provide a cold air feed.
intakepipe I fitted a big intake pipe to my Viggen the day before my crash and for a day, at least, I enjoyed some really free breathing and some slightly increased output. The pipe is quite a bit wider than Saab’s standard pipe and therefore, is capable of delivering a lot more air. The intake pipe fits between your air mass meter and your turbo inlet and took Matt the Fudgepacker about an hour to fit.
Another item I plan on installing on the Monte Carlo is an uprated intercooler. The intercooler sold by Elkparts is the one I’m looking at as it’s far more efficient than the standard Saab model and yet it fits in the same space with no need for modifications. It’s made by Forge Motorsport to Elkparts specifications.
The intercooler provides colder air, increasing your throttle response, especially at low revs. I’ve heard it said that free flowing air filters allow your car to perform better at higher revs, but you lose some bottom end responsiveness. An increase in your intercooler flow rate can be a big help in overcoming this problem.
Exhale – the exhaust system
Imagine trying to breath through a straw. It’s hard enough under normal circumstances, but when you’re working hard it would be just about impossible. The same thing applies to your engine and the standard Saab intakes and exhaust are a bit like the straw – somewhat restrictive if you want to push things.
We’ve covered breathing in, but your engine also needs to breathe out and that’s where the exhaust comes in.
There’s a lot that goes into exhaust design from the size of the pipes to the number and even the configuration of the pipes. The main objective is to get unwanted exhaust gases evacuated as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Bigger is generally better, but that theory has limits and if you go too big then it can actually have a detrimental effect on your vehicle’s output. Saabs are generally alright taking up to a 3-inch exhaust, but I was advised that 2.25 would be optimal for my Alfa.
All of the big Saab parts sellers offer performance exhaust options. The best ones are regarded to be the ones made of stainless steel. All of the Saab-recommended performance exhausts should be pretty good, but the stainless steel ones will last longer.
One component to be mindful of is the catalytic converter. You can buy ‘cat-back’ exhausts and as the name suggests, they go from the catalytic converter to the rear of the vehicle. Alternatively, you can buy a full exhaust with a performance ‘cat’ included, which will be less restrictive and allow for better breathing and more performance.

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