Wednesday Quick Snippets

…and I mean quick snippets.
I’m going to be away from the interwebs most of the day again today so please talk amongst yourselves.
CAR Magazine have some new spyshots of the 2010 Saab 9-5, which are so similar to all the previous spyshots that we’ve seen so far that absolutely no-one thought they were newsworthy and emailed me to tell me about their appearance (which is unheard of for Saab spyshots).
Even the mention in comments was without a link!
The rear of this car is going to be interesting. I can’t imagine those sharp lines being real, but can’t wait to see what that back end really looks like.
It seems there was a Saab 900 owners gathering in Paris recently.
Ooh la la!!!
Golfhunter has a few photos at Flickr. Fantastique.
Wouldn’t it be good if Car and Driver actually posted their polls for a reason and did follow up articles on them?
In the Which Geneva Production Debut Would You Like To See In Your Garage? poll, the Saab 9-3x now has 29% of the vote.
Noted: comments from North America have dropped off markedly in the last week. Am I not pretty enough?

Sunday Saab Flickr Images

I haven’t done a Flickr dump in a little while, so here’s a nice Sunday mix of images. Some beautiful Saabs here and some sad ones, too.
Click on any of the photos to enlarge.
Our unofficial Saab ambassador to the UK, Robin M, has done it again. If I’m counting correctly, this is the sixth Saab purchased by a family member or friend in recent years.
The wheels got thrown in as an extra. Nice!! Photo by Robin.
I’ve never seen one of these before. A promotional Saab Rubik’s Cube. Looks like late 1990s or early naughties.
Photo by Navarzo
A beautiful late model C900 in white. Photo by wyvernsaab
When you see a Saab 900 in this color, it’s normally a friction tester. This one’s on the track, however, and it’s looking good! Photo by Ivandif

Read moreSunday Saab Flickr Images

Great moments in Saab design – Saab 900 HVAC system

How many of you can remember getting into a Saab 900 for the very first time, seeing a bunch of dials and arrows on the dashboard and thinking “what the heck is that???” That was certainly part of my first Saab 900 experience.
The Saab 900 heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is quite likely to be one of the first things that many former 900 owners will remember about their cars. It’s very Swedish, very Saab and very, very good at its job.
The dials were made chunky enough so that they could be operated easily even if the driver was wearing gloves or mittens (though mittens and cars don’t go together that well, IMHO). All controls were within easy reach of both driver and passenger and are easy to operate with covered hands.
Going from the left, the first two dials are pretty self explanatory, being fan speed and temperature. The uninitiated may wonder why the fan only has settings of 1, 2 and 3. How do you turn it off?
The answer to that question and the beauty of the Saab 900 HVAC system lies within the third dial, which controls the vacuum driven ventilation system.
Saab’s thinking was that if any of the vents are open, the system is operating. Therefore, the fan should be on. The ventilation dial therefore has a ‘0’ position at the bottom, which is where the entire system shuts off. Move the dial from the ‘0’ position and the required vents open up and the fan operates at the speed indicated on the fan control dial.
The ventilation dial looks quite complex at first glance, but is actually simplicity itself.
From a cold start, the ventilation dial should be turned 180 degrees to point at the top position, directing air at the windscreen. Shortly thereafter, the screen should be sufficiently clear to move the dial into the next position (arrows up and down) where equal amounts of warm air are directed at the windscreen and at the occupants’ feet.
The down arrow is for warm air at the feet only (though a small amount is still directed to the windows)
Saab900HVACvents.jpg The down arrow with the box at the top is many a C900 owner’s favourite. This directs warm air at the occupants’ feet to keep them warm at their core, and directs cool air through the center vents to keep the occupants fresh and attentive. A perfect combination!
The small arrow pointing left and right is for cold air. It will be directed through the side vents at the speed indicated on the fan speed selector.
The large arrow pointing left and right directs cold air through the same vents at maximum speed.
The final position is the ‘0’ position to turn the system off.
A few fun facts.
* At full force, the Saab 900 HVAC system is capable of pumping out 100 litres of air per second!
* At a temperature of -20F and with the car running at idle, the Saab 900 HVAC system was designed to have the cabin temperature at +70F within five minutes.
* There are 12 air vents in the Saab 900, all of which were wind tunnel tested for best airflow and evacuation.
* Saab had a world first when they introduced a pollen filter for their ventilation systems in 1978. It’s an electrostatic unit that filters out anything over 0.004mm in size from incoming air.

Images and info from 1986 Saab 900 engineering brochure on Wulf’s SaabMedia website.

4Car reminisce on the Saab 900

4Car freuquently run a number of featurettes. It gives them the chance to say something nice about everyone, I guess, which is a good thing. If you can’t say something nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all (which is why I haven’t written anything on Bob Lutz’s retirement yet)
Ken H sent through a note about one of their latest features, one called Sentimental Attachments, where they list a number of cars they remember fondly and a few of the reasons why.
The Saab 900 is quite rightly remembered thus:

It’s easy to forget how unique the long-nosed 900 looked in the 1980s and how gracefully it aged in the 1990s. In an age of characterless economy-boxes, the born-from-jets design with wraparound windscreen and cockpit-layout dashboard really stood out.
The 900 Turbo was the first turbocharged road car made in any numbers. Purists prefer the early 8-valve version, with wider-spread torque curve, though the later 16-valve models are a little quicker. Both have the requisite Saab quirks, such as ignition situated under the handbrake lever and locking in reverse gear.
So where are they all now? High parts costs and labour charges sent many to the scrapyard, and there are few to choose from in the middle ground between the expensive collectors’ cars and the tatty models in need of restoration. Can’t help but be drawn back to the idea, though.

Unique in design. Unique in engineering.
That’s a much taller order in today’s automotive world, but I’m pretty confident that an independent Saab can do it.
Photo: Trollhattan Saab 900 photo day.

Saab 900 with Saab 900 trailer

Like me, you might have seen the occasional photo of a red Saab convertible with a red Saab trailer floating around the internet. I can’t remember if I saw them in a forum, or on Flickr, but when I first saw the photos that John C sent to me, I had a sense of the familiar.
What I knew nothing of, however, was the story behind the trailer – which is the story that John’s passed on for sharing here at TS.
I just love original projects like this. Enjoy.
Saab and a half……Or Clifford and Harvey (halfy) as my daughter prefers.
My daughter named our 1991 T16S convertible Clifford as he’s red, has a name tag (the Clifford alarm plate) after the children’s cartoon character Clifford the Big Red Dog, and Harvey, well, let me explain about Harvey.
Last year we went on holiday to Albas in the Lot region of France, and after many an evening enjoying the good food and very good wine, we bemoaned the fact we had flown, which severely limited the amount of wine we could take home.
After one particularly long day enjoying the fruits of the region and several hours evaluating the possibility of resurrecting our guests’ VW Karmann Ghia Conv from the boathouse, our guests knowing we had a passion for Classic 900’s suggested we drive down the following year and bring a trailer to allow us to take home as much wine as we liked. After a few more glasses, the plan became more contrived and it was sort of agreed that a Saab trailer would be created to be towed behind our T16S Conv.

Unlike other silly late night discussions, this one carried forward to the next morning, and got more meat on the bones. My wife Julie thought it was just like me, but as the 900 we were planning on driving down in the following year was hers, she contributed that as long as it was the same colour, had the same body kit and alloys, then why not? Let’s do it!
After a few months of planning I began looking for a suitable donor vehicle that was cheap and eventually I found a 2-door 8 valve Turbo that was good and solid for £150 and collected him from S.Wales. Jon Saab in Poole kindly helped strip him down to a carcass, and distributed the engine, gearbox and other usable items to the needy cars of the region while I found help to get the oxy scalpel to work.
Andy, John and the guys at New Milton Motors initially thought we were bonkers but agreed to fabricate the chassis, cut the donor vehicle in half and mount it on the frame. I have to admit it was a very strange sensation drawing cut lines on pillars and the floor pans like some mad surgeon, but the deal was done, torches were lit and the 900 became half a Saab. The roof became the front panel, a heavy duty hitch was bolted on and phase one was complete and ready for a road test. The very strange looking appendage towed like a dream, but did create some amusement to the pedestrians we passed.

Next the trailer went to Kustom Kolors, the previous year they had done a good job in stripping down and re-spraying Clifford and were intrigued by the challenge of making a slightly rusty half a Saab look like a fully fledged trailer. It was decided we would line the trailer space with aluminum checker plate with the individual plates being seam welded, cap various holes created during the creation, fit an S kit post-spraying and work out how to fit a tonneau cover at a later date. A few months and a lot of part searching later Harvey was rolled out of the workshop and smiles the size of the Grand Canyon appeared on the faces of all who had been involved in creating it.

The last 2 parts of the jigsaw still remained, tonneau cover and alloys. The trailer went to a friend of Kustom Kolors called Gary (a vehicle upholsterer and roof manufacturer) who worked out the best way to match in the mohair and fit a cover that wouldn’t blow off while eating up the French motorway miles to Albas. This just left the alloys, Clifford has curly alloys but the trailer was born from a 1985 2-door leaving me with a slight problem to a problem, the axle stubs are different sizes which would mean acquiring a replacement axle for the trailer and fitting it in the 2 weeks left before holidays, so with great disappointment new wheel trims were fitted and that was that, to be honest it didn’t make that much difference, and did leave me with something to do next year.

Clifford was serviced, a new gearbox (many thanks 2stroke) and clutch was fitted in preparation for the journey and off we went. I can honestly say having been to several classic car rallies and shows that the combo definitely attracted more attention than envisaged. Clifford and Harvey were photographed endlessly on the motorway, at the services with many an interested party engaging in discussion about how long it took, how much it cost but all in all everyone was very positive and complimentary on the Saab and a half.
We arrived in Albas at Justin and Robin’s, a Saab friendly holiday destination where the initial idea was born, and the story of Harvey is complete. Needless to say many a vineyard visit later we returned home fully laden, very relaxed with great memories.

No breakdowns, 1700 miles later, averaging 30mpg empty and 26.5mpg loaded up, this years holiday was much more fun that simply getting on a plane, with the bonus of having made lots of new friends because of the Harvey the trailer. We thought we would share the experience with you.
A few more photos follow. As always, the photos are enlargeable with a click.
My thanks to John for passing on this great story.

Saab 900 HID Xenon lamps installation

It’s handy when the head of a car magazine is a Saab nut. Such is the case with TotalCar in Hungary. This installation guide was published recently there, and Ivan has worked hard at a translation and gained permission from TotalCar so that I can reproduce it here.
Trollhattan Saab provides no warranty to you about this process. It’s a translation only. You’re all big boys and big girls, OK?
Thanks very much to Ivan for providing an article that I’m sure will be of interest to some 900 owners out there.

HID Xenon light installation DIY

Some blue lighting thing is coming. One light points to the sky but the other one illuminates the ground in front of the car, and I’m getting almost blind: it must be an aftermarket DIY HID xenon kit. I hate it, but really, it’s time to have one for myself.
HID Xenons
HID replacement set for H4 bulbs
Of course, I don’t need HID. The factory installed lights are perfect, especially since the mirror coating has been refurbished and the glass replaced. However, I was still interested and the set I found on Ebay- HID AKA High Intensity Discharge – was affordable, priced at 100 EUR. We can also buy them direct in Hungary nowadays, but I ordered it some time ago and just kept it on the shelf until I brought myself to tinker around with it.
HID Xenons
Electromagnet moves the light source back and forth
My Saab C900 uses H4 bulbs, so I have chosen a bi-xenon set for replacing them. “Bi” means that the low beam and the high beam are both xenon. It’s a little bit deceptive because even thought it is descrived as dual light, there is only one light source and a mechanism moves it.

Read moreSaab 900 HID Xenon lamps installation

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