Monday Night Snippets – iCrap edition

Pray for me.

Today I had to drive 4 hours in this:

Hyundai i30

It’s a Hyundai i30, which is like a Toyota Corolla, only more ripoff-ier. It rips off the 1 Series BMW at the back and it rips off a bashed crab at the front. Inside it’s Korea doing to Japan what Debbie did to Dallas Japan did to everyone 30 years ago – screwed ’em over with cheaper, but still reliable design and plastics.

Four hours in this little car, with an automatic transmission and no cruise control. What did I do to deserve this?


Hilton Holloway from Autocar says….

Saab’s all new 9-3 will make its debut at the 2012 Paris show, according to company sources.

That seems a little late to me, if they’re going to start selling it in Q4 of 2012. I’m doubting Hilton’s sources as I know they’re impeccable, but it just seems strange.

Rumour has it that we’ll see a concept well before that and interviews with Jason Castriota held just last week suggest that they’re in the wind tunnel with this car at the moment.

You can read more at Autocar.


Good news for Saab owner Nicholas D, who had the first smashed Saab 9-5 in Belgium.

Smashed Saab 9-5

His dealer, Callens-Bouckaert, had some trouble at first getting the required parts to fix the car because it was such a new model.

They, along with the Saab importer Behermans, worked feverishly for their client and I’m happy to pass on that the car is now fixed and Nicholas is one very happy guy!

Nicholas Saab 9-5


Congratulations to Tom Blomqvist, son of Stig, who just made history:

Tom Blomqvist made history at the weekend by becoming the youngest ever winner of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at just 16 years old in a thrilling climax to the 2010 season at Brands Hatch Indy circuit on 9th/10th October.

At just 16 years and 313 days, the son of rally legend Stig, was level on points with title rival Manor Competition’s Lewis Williamson heading into the final round of the season. The teenager though held his nerves to bring his Fortec Motorsport car home in second place, two places ahead of Williamson, to win the coveted title by a mere six points and follow in the footsteps of previous champions Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.

Tom Blomqvist

Tom Blomqvist

Thanks to Par Brandt for the tip!


If you’re a Saab nut and you’re on Twitter, but not following @elkparts, you’re quite possibly missing out on the occasional half-price bargain (SportCombi Eibach spring kit, anyone?).


After the success of the Mt Washington run, the guy who organized it, Luke L, is organizing another drive. This time it’s a Fall Cruise Through Eastern Connecticut. Join up at that link. It should be a visual spectacular.

I’m also told there’s a drive being organised for the Saab Club of Central Ohio. They’re heading out to the Hocking Hills to observe and admire the changing colors this weekend. Interested parties should contact Dan Orzano via email at [email protected]


We have a pilots in our midst. Me old mate Lance Cole is one of them, albeit the strong silent type.

Chris wrote to me today, telling me of the recent passing of a prominent French pilot named Renaud Ecalle. There’s no Saab connection here, but just for the pilots, here’s some video showing what he could do….. crazy stuff.


Thursday Night Snippets

Site Sponsor, Elkparts, is still running its Summer Sale where there’s huge discounts available – up to 70% – on a selected number of items.

It’s an eclectic mix of parts and models, but if there’s something there that’s suitable for your Saab, then chances are you’re in for a bargain. How about a set of 17″ Double Spoke alloys for around 40% off, for example?

And today only, John’s throwing in free UK carraige for all orders over 20 quid.


TTELA speak with head of Saab design, Jason Castriota:

The conditions are very similar (to the situation with Maserati), with the tough schedule and tight budget. Many times the best design is created under such conditions. The pressure makes people more determined.

…..This is definitely not a temporary job. I would like to see Saab succeed.


I think the title of this story, from a financial paper in the Netherlands, says it all:

Victor Muller: undisputed hero of the Saab dealers

A half-year loss and negative equity of the Dutch Spyker reduce Saab dealers at all. On the contrary, Spyker CEO Victor Muller can not go wrong in the showrooms….

….”We are incredibly pleased with the cooperation of Spyker,” said Hugo Buijze, branch manager of Hunter Auto in Naarden. “Interest in the new 9-5 is incredible. The confidence of the people in Saab is back. That we find new customers, but also the existing drivers and leasing companies. “


I’m not sure how many possible takers we’ll get for this one as you’d really have to be in the area already to participate (and “the area” is a long way away for most).

Tromsø University Museum, way up above the Arctic Circle in Norway, is doing a series of photos and stories about people and their cars. Whilst the campaign is open to all comers, whatever their vehicle and story, one of our friends up there, Thilo, will be entering and he sent the link along to me in the hope that some other Tromsøites might join in with their Saabs.

The photographs will be shown at Tromsø Museum’s permanent exhibition FLASH darkness in large format out on one of the museum’s walls in December and January. The images will then be included in the museum’s collection along with information about the photograph.

I still love the idea of doing a Saab Pride book that can be printed and given away by dealers when someone purchases a new Saab. One day, when there’s time…..


For sale: 1964 Saab, still pretty quick for its age, not particularly fuel efficient but lots and lots of fun. Bring a helmet.

Story. and Pictures.

Elkparts summer sale – nuts!

Twitterers may have already noticed that @Elkparts has been advertising some summer specials in the last few days.

How special are the specials?

Well, some of them are one-item-only jobs but if you’ve got the appropriate model, you could save up to 70%.

Example: Saab 9-5 parking assist for model year 03-04 (pictured), down from £335.94 to just £100.78.

That’s special.

You can check out Elkparts Summer Sale items here. Hopefully John will be adding some more items soon, so keep checking back too.

Name the new 9-5

Here’s a good question that popped up on Twitter a few days ago, courtesy of @elkparts.

The 9-5 is called the 9-5 from a corporate point of view, but what about all those other suppliers and associated businesses who will have to refer to the new model in their literature and sales pages?

For example, the originator of this question, Elkparts, sells parts and accessories for Saab vehicles and typically, the various generations of vehicles are grouped together to make it easier for customers to find parts for their particular model. Consequently, the 900 model has two seperate spots to differentiate between the Classic Saab 900 of 1979-93 (called simply the Saab 900 at Elkparts) and the Next Generation Saab 900 that ran from 1994-97 (called the GM900 at Elkparts).

So what, then, should the new 9-5 be referred to as?

The NG9-5 – next/new generation?

The Indy 9-5 – suggested by Eggs on Twitter, due to it being the first car following Saab’s independence from GM?

The 650 9-5 – referring to the internal model name within Saab for the 9-5?

Your suggestions would be welcome in comments and once we’ve got a good spread, I think a poll will be in order.

Anyone got a limited slip differential in their Saab?

I’ve always been just a little bit curious about differentials in front-wheel-drive cars. I guess you could say I’m a visual person and diffs just don’t stand out on FWD cars like they do on RWD cars. On a RWD cars they hang out the back like a big metal appendage but on FWD they must be tucked away (almost) like a eunuch.
So when I was chatting with John from Elkparts a week or so ago, I was surprised when he told me that one of the bigger selling items he’s had recently is the Quaife Limited Slip Differential upgrade.
I guess in tougher economic climates, people tend to maintain and upgrade their cars rather than buy new ones. Hence the choice people seem to be making to upgrade their diff.
The geeky stuff.
Allow me to tap Wikipedia for this. I’m a technical lightweight and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
A differential is a device, usually but not necessarily employing gears, capable of transmitting torque and rotation through three shafts, almost always used in one of two ways. In one way, it receives one input and provides two outputs; this is found in most automobiles. In the other way, it combines two inputs to create an output that is the sum, difference, or average, of the inputs.
In automobiles and other wheeled vehicles, the differential allows each of the driving roadwheels to rotate at different speeds, while for most vehicles supplying equal torque to each of them.
The main advantage of a limited slip differential is shown by considering the case of a standard (or “open”) differential where one wheel has no contact with the ground at all. In such a case, the contacting wheel will remain stationary, and the non-contacting wheel will rotate freely–the torque transmitted will be equal at both wheels, but will not exceed the threshold of torque needed to move the vehicle, and thus the vehicle will remain stationary. In everyday use on typical roads, such a situation is very unlikely, and so a normal differential suffices. For more demanding use, such as driving in mud, off-road, or for high performance vehicles, such a state of affairs is undesirable, and the LSD can be employed to deal with it. By limiting the angular velocity difference between a pair of driven wheels, useful torque can be transmitted as long as there is some traction available on at least one of the wheels.
I’ve heard a lot of people talk about the Quaife unit John was talking about.
In fact, as far as I can remember, it’s the only brand name I can recall anyone ever talking about when it comes to diffs.
Although I do recall talking with one of Saab’s tech gurus in Trollhattan, back in 2007, and he had a limited slip diff in his Saab 9-5 that Saab had made themselves. They were contemplating the manufacture of them for sale back then.
So – the big question is…..
Has anyone ever done this modification to their Saab and if so, how did it turn out? The Quaife units aren’t cheap but then, they’re the ones with the impeccable reputation from street to industrial to motorsport uses.
What say ye?

Hi-Res poster now available – in Swedish!

With many thanks (again) to the kind folks at Lowe Brindfors…..
And many thanks (a millions times over) to Elkparts…..
The Swedish version of the new Saab advertising poster featuring images from the Saab Support Convoys is now available for you to download and print.
(I recommend a right-click-save-as).
Click here for the Swedish version (6MB pdf), and in case you missed it, click here for the English version (3.5MB pdf).

My 2 cents on the price of Hirsch stuff

When I posted the pictures of State of Nine’s Hirsch-fitted Saab 9-3 last night I knew without a shadow of a doubt what the majority of comments received would be about.
The excellent finish of the leather interior? Nope.
The seamless integration of the splitter and rear diffuser? Nope.
The lightweight wheels that not only look fantastic, but give you incremental gains in unsprung weight? Nope.
The majority of comments were always going to be – and were – about price.
There’s no doubting that Hirsch stuff is more costly than other stuff out there in the marketplace. They don’t try to hide it and neither do State of Nine or other re-sellers of Hirsch gear, such as Elkparts in the UK. In a fiercely competitive marketplace like the US, that seemingly puts Hirsch at a significant disadvantage.
But there’s a couple of elements here that I’d like to explore and I’ll use my own personal experience to do it.

Read moreMy 2 cents on the price of Hirsch stuff

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