SOTW, Happy Birthday Dario

Yes, its Dario’s Birthday and SOTW is dedicated to him and his two Saabs.

Hello Robin .

My name is Dario and I’m from Lisbon , Portugal, and I am the founder of the Saab Clubs in Portugal

The 9-5 is my second Saab that I have , this is a Saab 9-5 from 1998, 2.3t , and this morning I decided to see the sunrise at my work , and then I take this picture…and I thought….this goes directly to my desktop 🙂 I hope you like it as well.

Then there is my first Saab, a 9000, that I still have.

Read moreSOTW, Happy Birthday Dario

Volcanic emissions and handling the twisties

Route chosen
It is Friday 5pm. I’ve attended a work seminar at a hotel outside town and I need to drive 330 km to get home.

There were two alternatives for me to get to the border. Either go back through the city and stay on the highway, or take the shortest route through the country side (60 km vs 80 km).

Had it not been for the traffic, this particular road would have been a blast to drive. It was twisty and the speed limit was sometimes set up to make the ride near interesting. However, at 5pm the locals were not where they were supposed to be – at home. No, they were all lined up in front of my car, adding further delay to my progress.

The time added to my trip allowed my thoughts to wander a bit more than usual. At one point, I noticed that the main part of the queue was actually pulling away from us. An older Mercedes was unable or unwilling to keep pace, and the road was too twisty to allow slower vehicles to safely overtake him. It was time for me to demonstrate the power of the mighty 9000. My 9000 is probably as old as that Mercedes, but the 9000 was built as a modern car and is more than just a mere heap of metal on wheels.

Read moreVolcanic emissions and handling the twisties

Friday Night Snippets

Our Saab 9000 has, as predicted, been written off by our insurers.

Despite the inevitability of someone calling me a goose, I’m accepting this decision and have now started the search for a replacement. The criteria: inexpensive, preferably another 9000 due to cargo needs, decent condition and acceptable mileage.

This one seems to fit the bill. I drove it a few days ago and whilst the brakes feel a little spongy and the steering a little rubbery, the price and condition are right. It’ll be the first time in years I’ve owned a Saab with a cloth interior, though – which is not a bad thing, just different.

I’m getting it looked over early next week. Hopefully everything checks out OK. If not, it looks like I’ll have to swallow the extra $1,000 it costs to head off to the mainland to look for an Anni.

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According to Gasgoo, the Saab 9-4x could be the first of the new generation Saabs to hit the Chinese market next year….

Swedish carmaker Saab, now owned by Dutch auto maker Spyker, will start selling cars in China, Russia, Brazil and Mexico in the first half 2011. Its small luxury crossover, the new Saab 9-4X will probably be the first model to be put on the Chinese market, where SUVs are the most beloved, xcar.com reported Friday, citing Adrian Hallmark, Saab’s executive director of sales.

I’m a little dubious on this one, for a couple of reasons. First, there’s the Adrian Hallmark citation. Hallmark’s resignation was announced last month, though he doesn’t start at Jaguar until December and could still be tying up loose ends.

Also, how are they going to enter the Chinese market in the first half of 2011 when their supposed first vehicle, the Saab 9-4x, won’t going sale in countries outside North America until August?

Chinese Saab fans – I think you’ll get the 9-5 and 9-3 before the beloved crossover (which is how I think the 9-4x should be referred to from now on 🙂 ).

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Swedish Automotive commentator, Matt Carlson, thinks that a lot of the doom and gloom permeating Saab press reports is a tad premature.

It’s nice to see someone there looking at the bigger picture and acknowledging all that Saab has been up against this year. Carlson thinks Saab need to rebuild confidence over the next six months and a turnaround will need to be evident during Spring.

Fair call. I’d give them until summer, when the 9-5 combi should come.

——

Speaking of Sweden, it’s cold in Trollhattan right now. Spare a thought for the little Trolls….

Thanks to Tim and Mioh

SaabRobz gets published – and crashes (Saab Safety)

If you’re a regular Saab-watcher on Flickr then you’ll have heard of SaabRobz. In fact, if you’ve been around SU and TS for long enough then you’ll be familiar with the name, too, as I’ve featured photos by SaabRobz a number of times over the years.

One of his specialties is collected in a group on Flickr called “Saab Junkyard”. The German seller of old Saab bits, Skandix, found this group recently and decided to publish a post on it, including a great slideshow highlighting the images that SaabRobz has captured over the last few years.

It’s amazing to see how many old Saabs have been junked in the Swedish countryside over the years. You feel like you want to pick one up, bring it home and care for it.

It’s great to see the meticulous long-term work of people like SaabRobz etc, being noticed by companies like Skandix and others.

Share it around – and make sure you check out the slideshow they’ve posted and get a look at all them old Saabs.

——

Some more news from SaabRobz…..

This is his beautiful Saab 9000: click.

Unfortunately, this car is no more. It gave its life to save his after he tried out the moose test for himself recently.

I crashed with a moose this weekend, not a nice experience…. the airbag went off and i crashed into the ditch. The rescue personnel had to cut the roof to get me out of the car (they take no chances if it’s a possible neck injury, they told me)

My Saab 9000 is history, but I am very happy that I drove a SAAB! With a smaller car I may not be alive today.

It’s sad news (especially for the moose!) but its great that SaabRobz lived to drive another day.

Safety. No-one does it better than Saab.

Update: Our Saab 9000 problems solved

We’ve finally solved the mystery ailment that was troubling our Saab 9000. I know a few of you were asking questions as to what the final verdict was, so here’s your answer.
The original problem was diagnosed as a faulty fuel pump, but $500 and new pump later, the car was starting but it took quite a bit of cranking before it would do so. You’d turn the key and the car would be trying to start for 7-10 seconds before actually starting.
Given that this is my wife’s car, I didn’t want her getting stranded anywhere so we took it in to Steve the mechanic tonight for another look.
Steve hooked up a pressure gauge to the fuel system, started the car and the gauge immediately went up to around 2.5 bar, which is OK. Switch the ignition off, however, and the pressure went down to zero, which is not OK.
Apparently there was some gunk (technical term) in the fuel pressure regulator that was stopping a valve from sealing properly. I’m running from memory here, but there was definitely gunk involved.
Anyway, Steve got a clamp onto one of the lines, which cleared the blockage and the gauge showed a steady 2.5bar – on or off.
Problem solved. The car now starts on the first turn and lives to fight another year.

The Saab 9000 Aero as art

I can only bring you one image from this collection (and I’m not even supposed to do that, really) so you’ll have to take my word for it when I tell you that this photo session featuring a pristine Saab 9000 Aero is something special.
Click to enlarge.
Saab9000Sophie.jpg
There are only 10 photos in the collection and they’ve been taken by someone calling themselves d/7 on Flickr.
As a driver’s car, the Saab 9000 Aero is already a work of art. These images take that automotive art and put it in a whole new light.
Magnificent.

Another Saab that could have been – Saab 9000 wagon

Spotted and sent in by Peter S.
As you know, the Saab 9000 achitecture was designed in concert with FIAT and became the basis for models from FIAT, Lancia and Alfa Romeo (hence the Salfa Romeaab that James May built for Top Gear a few years ago).
I’m not sure where this photo appeared, but Peter’s found it and sent it in. Personally, I’m inclined to offer this as Exhibit A for the “Bring Back The Hatch” prosecution.
saab-9000-wagon.jpg

Lancia did go ahead with a wagon variant. Here’s the Thema in wagon form.
lancia_thema_1.jpg

My thanks to Peter for the images!

Saab 9000 at Bathurst

This weekend is the biggest weekend on the Australian motorsport calendar. Tomorrow will see Holdens and Fords duke it out at Mount Panorama in a race that’s had various names over the years as sponsors have come and gone. Regardless of the name, the race is always known by we Aussies simply as Bathurst.
The mountain circuit gets populated by hoons and you may have already seen that the police have imposed a 24-can-per-day beer limit on people there. Aside from the trackside wildlife, there’s also a big race.
The race is a 1,000km endurance event and it’s the pinnacle of the V8 Supercar race series. It’s red vs blue. Holden vs Ford. The classic Australian battle between evil and evil. Or good and good.
And it should be noted that they’re running on E85 this year.
The V8’s are the marquee event on the calendar, but Bathurst also hosts other events though the year. One of the bigger events is a big production car enduro. In 1992 the production car enduro, held in April, was called the James Hardie 12-Hour and Saab were there!
BathurstSaab1.jpg
Turbin’s done some research on this car:
——
After a post here about SAAB and racing some time ago, I got thinking about the SAAB 9000 Turbo S in the 1992 James Hardie 12 Hour at Bathurst.
I asked autopics.com.au if they had some images and here are the proofs they sent me. They assure me the negs are of very high quality and you can order prints up to 20″x30″ for $99.
I was more interested in just seeing the car. It was driven by Colin Bond and Glen Seton, and only bested by a BMW M5 in 2nd and an RX7 in 1st. From what I’ve googled before but can’t find now it was only some problem with a brake pad change or something that stopped them from beating the M5. The RX7 was unbeatable though winning with a 3 lap lead. I remember watching this race.
Something somebody else recalled was the in-car radio with Seton laughing about how luxurious it was for a racing car, it still had all the electrics!! Apparently he opened the sunroof down Conrod straight!
It was an official SAAB Australia entry and I read a couple of years ago in an interview how the head of SAAB Oz watched it with the rest of the office and called it a high point in his career.
BathurstSaab2.jpg
Another snippet:

The above 9000 CS was unlucky not to get 2nd outright, a great effort for such a low-profile and supposedly non-sporting sedan. Apart from a 1st-lap hiccup it ran like a train all day and was clearly faster around Bathurst than the uber-expensive BMW M5, especially in a straight line where it could even hold onto the tail of the very rapid RX7 TTs up Mountain Straight.

——
Ah, them were the days.
Hopefully Saab can get back there some day. The production series races still go on with a huge range of categories available (even diesels).

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