USA Hirsch dealer listing

Hirsch recently loaded up the dealer listing for the United States on their website. As you can see, it’s a small selection of dealers, but most of the Saab-populated areas should find themselves with some coverage.

The Hirsch website’s listing seems to be sorted by the name of the town the dealership exists in. I’ve organised this one by state, which hopefully might give you a quicker reference.

UPDATE: Whilst this list does appear on the Hirsch website, since posting it here, I’ve been advised that it’s a preliminary listing and may not be a complete representation of dealers that will carry Hirsch products. More may opt-in in the near future.

Also note that Hirsch products won’t be available in the US until the second quarter of the 2011.

Thanks to Sapan for the tip.

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California
Continental Motors, 617 South Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA-92054, Phone +1 760 722-1868

Connecticut
Mitchell Saab, 384 Hopmeadow Street, CT 06070-Simsbury, Phone +1 860 408-6065

Iowa
Meyer Garage, 2687-480th Street, IA 50455-McIntire, Phone +1 641 737-2239

Massachusetts
Charles River Saab, 570 Arsenal Street, MA 02472-Watertown, Phone +1 617 923-9230

Shaw Saab, 22 Pond Street, 22 Pond Street, MA 02061-Norwell, Phone +1 781 982-7222

128 Sales Inc., 614 North Avenue, MA 01880-Wakefield, Phone +1 781 224-3700

Hyannis Saab, 600 Yarmouth, MA 02601-Hyannis, Phone +1 508 760-2700

Pioneer Valley Sales & Service, P.O. Box 254, MA 01373-South Deerfield, Phone +1 413 665-2140

Maine
Stetson Auto Sales, 1174 Eastern Road Route 131, ME 04864-Warren, Phone +1 207 273-2345

O’Connor Saab of Augusta, 268 State Street, ME 04330-Augusta, Phone +1 207 622-6336

Michigan
Saab of Troy, 1819 Maplelawn, MI 48084-Troy, Phone +1 248 205-1333

Trio Motors, Inc., P.O. Box 190178, MI 48519-Burton, Phone +1 810 742-7250

Minnesota
Morries’s Cadillac – Saab, 7400 Wayzata Boulevard, MN 55426-Minneapolis, Phone +1 952 544-0096

Montana
Dana Saab, 2046 Grand Avenue, MT 59102-Billings, Phone +1 406 656-7654

New Jersey
Reinertsen Motors Inc., 295 Route #53, NJ 07834-Denville, Phone +1 973 627-0616

New York
Sports Car Centre of Syracuse, Ltd., 3105 Erie Blvd. East, NY 13214-Syracuse, Phone +1 315 446-5010

Checkpoint Foreign Car S&S Inc., 487 Kenmore Avenue, NY 14223-Buffalo, Phone +1 716 836-2033

Brownell Motors, Inc., P.O. Box 413, NY 12524-Fishkill, Phone +1 845 831-3000

Pennsylvania
Kunkle Motors, RR 1, P.O. Box 386, PA 18612-Dallas, Phone +1 570 675-1546

Virginia
International Motors Ltd., 540 S. Washington Street, VA 22046-Falls Church, Phone +1 703 534 0770

Vermont
P J’s Auto Village, 2073 Williston Road, VT 05403-South Burlington, Phone +1 802 862-0875

Saab 9-5 getting Hirsch Performance upgrade

It’s OK to get a little excited, though not too excited (just yet).

This photo is from Flickr, and the caption reads….

Saab 9-5 getting prepared for performance upgrade homologation

So Hirsch Performance have been hard at work by the sound of things and now have the car undergoing homologation testing.

As you can see, the car looks quite plain. My understanding is that work is also underway to design and produce some of the cosmetic enhancements that Hirsch do so well.

This is great to see!

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.
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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.
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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?

Eurotuner Saab 900 article now online

Last month I posted about a magnificent Saab 900 Convertible that had been covered in Eurotuner magazine. It was the first time they’d featured a Saab (quite unbelievable, I know, given how tuneable they are) so it was kind of a big deal.
Eurotuner Saab 900
I featured some scans of the article at that time, but the article is now available online for those who didn’t have the time (or the inclination) to battle through the scans.
This really is one very special convertible, so be inspired and enjoy!

I love a good modified Saab 96

I’m not sure how current this is. The website looks a little out of date now and I haven’t taken the time to contact the owner yet.
It’s sure fun to look at, though.
This is a Saab 96 Turbo, built by a guy named Martin Roth. It just goes to show how good these cars can look with the right styling (have a look at the black Saab 96 V6 if you need some more convincing).
96turbo1.jpg
96turbo2.jpg
Martin’s website is here and you can check out the build of the Saab 96 Turbo on the site. There’s some great photos of Saab gatherings there, too, with heaps of Saab 96s in formation.
And whilst you’re there, I’m sure you’ll enjoy checking out the awesome, mid-engined Saab Sonett Turbo as well 🙂
SonettTurbo.jpg
Thanks to Mark S for the links.

Maptuner – the plug-n-play tune-up for Saabs

When I visited Sweden back in September this year, I visited the guys at Maptun.  They’re sponsors here at Saabs United, and they wanted me to provide a review of their new Maptuner plug-in tuner.
Being early in the Maptuner’s life, there’s not one available for my model of Saab, so I had to find a friend here in Oz with a suitable car.  I tapped a bloke you know around here as PT, from Sydney.  Pete and the family have a 9-3 SportCombi that was just begging for an upgrade.
Here’s Pete’s upgrade story:

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The Maptuner upgrade to our 93 Linear SportCombi was easy. All we had to do was drop the engine, install a mild cam, bigger injectors and intercooler, rebuild the turbocharger, re-program the ECU and it was done. Simple enough and after all, there’s nothing like a bit of home mechanics to build the bond between man & motor. 
But that’s all a fabrication, of course. 
The motor didn’t move, the turbo is untouched, and yet every aspect of the engine’s performance seems altered – and all by a small black box and a length of cable that P1000290.JPG upgrades the engine to deliver the potential that Saab’s 2.0 turbo 4 contains. A blindfold test (not a good idea when driving – but you get my drift….) isn’t even necessary; the differences between the pre- and post-upgraded engine are like night and day. 
The first giveaway is the sound.  Start the engine after uploading the ECU re-map from the Maptuner device and you start thinking your ears are playing tricks.  Is that a deeper note…. a smooth, tenor vibrato?  Well, more air through the engine means more air through the exhaust and so the note becomes deeper and more purposeful. The tinny note of the 1.8t base spec engine is banished as the engine gets in touch with its inner Aero.  Its no race engine but there is a nicely balanced tone with a hint of turbo whistle.
FYI, our car was a base 1.8t SportCombi with 110kW and 220nm.  The upgrade has given us 164kW and 330Nm – a transformation in every sense.
P1000282.JPG
Things get even better under driving conditions, prompting me to turn off the stereo and lower the rear windows during a winding test drive down a local B-road.  It’s never going to upset a true 2.8T Aero but its certainly much closer to the spirit of the car. For the first few days I have to stop myself accelerating at every opportunity just to hear the engine.
Its in real world driving where the upgrade differences quickly make themselves known. Torque. Lots of torque.  Torque delivered in effortless motion that delays gearshifts and pulls the car along like an invisible string. This is what gives SAABs their wonderful drivability, the effortless ease through traffic or on the freeway.  Put your foot down with purpose, the exhaust growls and the car just pulls away. No fuss, no slamming gear changes. I’m reminded every day that our humble little Linear now has more grunt than the 2.0 Aero spec engines had only a couple of years ago. 
I should add that the 9-3 is my wife’s car and madam was quietly cynical that anything of purpose could be done via a computer cable. First time out with the updated engine she nearly rear-ended someone when the car picked up its skirts and boogied down the road with more purpose than expected. So, driving it has been a pleasant surprise for her too: the ease of acceleration out of intersections, roundabouts or from behind trucks.  Just knowing that the car could get itself out of bother quickly gives confidence and adds a reassuring cabability to what was a handy but slightly under-cooked family car.
It’s not about speeding or dragging off kids at the lights.  It’s about having the capability when it’s needed. To take the other view, if you want to take sensible and socially-responsible behavior to the nth degree, there is always the speed limiter built in to the Maptuner that can be turned on.  That feature alone would be a serious consideration if we had teenagers who were starting to drive.
Although the car came to us in Sport spec with the upgraded chassis, wheels & body, it was always very modest on the road. Now it feels like it has reached its potential and is the car it always should have been, thanks to a few minutes with the clever Maptuner software. To have access to this degree of performance via an upgrade process that is essentially no more complex than syncing your i-Pod is a joy.
P1000289.JPG
The Maptuner device itself can be used without instructions due to the cues that it gives you (although instructions would be a welcome addition to the pack guys, just to provide some reassurance for the customer) In a nice touch, the contact with Maptun can continue past the initial purchase and updates are available from their website for up-loading to your car throughout its life.
Downsides?
Hard to think of any of significance. The move to 98 octane fuel perhaps? The Maptuner is based on 98 and so that’s a change from the usually 91 for us but with the extra expense of the better quality fuel comes improved economy as well as the true potential of the re-mapped ECU so it’s a trade that we’re happy to make.
If you were to have a change of heart the Maptuner stores a copy of the original tune first that can be re-installed with the same straightforward plug-n-play process. This might help if you wanted to sell the car unmodified for instance but I can’t imagine another circumstance you’d want to take the step back.
On balance though, theres’ a lot to recommend a Maptune upgrade. Particularly if you have a car like ours that is well suited and really just fulfilling its potential.
9/10 for me. The missing 1/10? Include it (along with kindred spirits Hirsch) under the Saab aftersales/warranty program.
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Swade here…….
As well as the upgraded tune and speed limiter that Pete’s mentioned, above, the Maptuner also comes with a few other features that I should mention here.

       

  • Shift up lamp (manual transmission only) – A shift up lamp will appear whenever it is more economical to use a higher gear. It will also appear if you are approaching the rev limiter.
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  • Fault code reader – If your Check Engine light is lit, the MapTuner is able to read the fault code and erase it with a few key strokes.
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  • Wheel circumference – Different wheels have different circumference. With the MapTuner you can easily calibrate the car so that the speedometer is accurate.

Thanks to Maptun for providing PT with the Maptuner device for the purposes of this test.

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