1986 Saab 900i two door saloon
After many years of the usual suspects (Fiesta, Minis and an Escort) I saw a 900i for sale locally, £750 with 11 months test and a bit of tax. Went for a look and a chat with the chap selling the car. Agreed £700 and drove off with a grin from ear to ear.
She was in a bit of a sorry state really. Needed a service and a new front wheel bearing to start with.
Then I began sorting the rest. The dash had been covered in revolting fake wood vinyl, took hours to clean it all off. A stereo needed to be installed. The bonnet had a nasty paint blister from a previous battle with either acid or an overheated engine!
I lovingly preped the bonnet, filled the gaps, wet and dried it, bough aged spray paint to match the metallic green, looked amazing. Just needed to add the laquer..........doh! Splurted out of the can and ruined all the work I had done! So I left it alone. A two shade light green metallic 900.....
Ran the car for nearly a year, enjoying the rumble of the engine and the torque it gave. The alternator was a bit tricky, needed to be revved past 2K each morning to get it charging. Left me stranded a few times, but loved it all the same.
This car gave me the Saab bug, so when I got a promotion at work, along came....
1998 Saab 9-3 2.3i S
123K on the clock, 2 and a half years old, black, tan cloth interior, I was smitten! Went to view a 1996 900 and ended up with the 9-3.
A great car, powerful, quick enough for me back then. I ended up doing another 15K with only one problem, the air con compressor clutch gave up on the motorway. A local specialist reconditioned the clutch rather than replacing the whole compressor, a re-gas and all was good.
The first black car I have owned, and vowed never to have another.
The car was a little challenging in the corners, but was an epic motorway cruiser. My two lads were toddlers then, and all their toys, prams etc fitted perfectly into the boot. Whoo needs an MPV?!
The lure of a 9-5 then got the better of me, so I went up to Derby and part exed the 9-3 against......
1999 Saab 9-5 SE Estate
I loved this one! 2.0lpt was a revelation compared to the 2.3 non-turbo in the 9-3. Smoother power and better economy.
As an estate it opened up camping to the entire family, tent, cooker, canopy, the lot!
Got bored with the 150bhp, so a trip to WMSS convinced me to get the Elkparts ECU and air filter upgrade, 200+bhp....whoohoo...
Ran fabulously for miles. Bought the car on 98K, and ran it for 24 months and 25K miles with no problems. Would have loved leather in it, as the sand cloth was a little prone to staining from the boys.
Happy family days in that car. Only ever let me down with a flat battery.
I even did the SID repair myself.
Then divorce reared its ugly head, so the big family car parted way for........
2000 Saab 9-5 Airflow
In bright red with black leather it was the single man (but really still a family man) car that I craved! Had the rare 3 spoke alloys, AS3 stereo, heated seats and sports kit as in the Airflow limited edition models.
Bought from SimplySaabs in Bristol, it had 110K with a new gearbox and turbo. So was ready to roll!
We went to EuroDisney, Wales, France and numerous other places on holiday. It was a little strangled on the power as it was the standard 150bhp, but money was tight and I struggled to warrant spending on another ECU upgrade.
It had its faults and ended up casting me money. A nick in the seatbelt cost over £200 at MOT time (thanks all at WMSS......) and the UV joint went on the front, again an expensive fix.
But the miles racked up and I courted several possible new Mrs Wynnes in that car! I settled on the right one (she is now Mrs Wynne...) and we began to settle down.
During all of this Saab ownership time, I had always, always had the hankering for a 9-5 Aero. One February afternoon the desire became too much, and along came......
2003 Saab 9-5 Aero
What a car! Bought from a fellow SaabScene member, we drove down the the Slough area and agreed the price. The soon to be Mrs W soon realised that she would be driving the red 9-5 back to Brum! Not amused. I entertained myself with the 250+bhp all the way up the M42! Amazing.
Put the red 9-5 up for sale, had 149K on the clock by then, some chap came and bought a bargain.
The Aero had been an ex-Surrey Police car, unmarked motorway patrol. It had had a lot of work done by the previous owner, holes sorted, oil changed etc and was in cracking condition. I needed a new fog light and a xenon self levelling sensor to get it fully up to scratch.
And amazing and very capable car. I loved every second of driving it, just knowing that the second anyone challenged me (in a straight line that is....) I would blitz them into oblivion! Torque and power that just came on and on and on when the right pedal was pressed.
The factory fit sat nav was even ok, still had the Police locations on the motorways loaded into it.....dear me.
I polished, cherished and really felt satisfied in owning that car. An ambition fulfilled and it really did live up to expectations, and then some.
Unfortunately a new job had arrived, with a cross city commute each day and back, and then to top it off the ex moved down to Torquay with my lads. A combination of the two totally killed the chance of running the Aero. The 2.3 and its mighty turbo liked a drink or three on those runs, mainly because I had no will power and usually ended up booting it! On one such journey I was stopped by plod (in and unmarked Honda Accord Typer R) doing an average of 98.8mph.......A stern telling off later I was on my way, with no fine or points deduction.
The price of petrol had gone through the roof and I was now doing 20K + miles per year. I put the Aero up for sale on here and PH, Autotrader etc. Took a while to go, ended up having to drop the price by £500.
A sad, sad day when it went.
A couple of days later I bought........
2004 Saab 9-5 Linear Sport 2.2tid
Oh dear. We really didn't get along to be fair. I tried to talk myself into liking the car, but it just wouldn't settle with me. Having been a huge anti-diesel person for years and years, running the tractor was a real shock.
Maybe it was coming from the top of the range tick every option box Aero, but it just didn't work.
Mpg was ok, driveability was ok, comfort was ok. Nothing really bad, I just didn't like it, at all.
In black with the 17" double Y alloys it looked the part, it just never felt the part. Its days were numbered.
So after 4 months of ownership, paddytobesure (a fellow SS user) picked the car up and drove away into the sunset. He enjoyed the car and had no problems from what I remember.
A little bit of money later, along arrived......
2003 Saab 9-3SS Vector Sport 2.0lpt
I searched for ages for the next car, looked at Alfas, Signums (with the 2.0lpt Saab engine) and even a 3 series. Eventually I sourced the black 9-3 up in Warrington. Agreed a price and took the train up.
It had nearly every option, sat nav, tyre pressure sensors, AS3 stereo, Aero upgrade full leather, lowered sports suspension, rear boot spoiler. I was a happy man, back in a petrol Saab.
But, it was never a comfortable car. The suspension was harsh over anything but the smoothest of surfaces. The OS driveshaft sheared off needing a replacement. It ate drop links. A speaker blew in the passenger front door, stupidly I replaced them both with non Saab ones causing a massive loss of bass. I then set about remedying this with an amp and 6x9s in the rear, what a PITA! Wish I had left it alone.
Bought with 53K on the clock, it got to 75K before I had had enough. Hopefully it was just my car and not all 9-3SS, but it was a huge disappointment to me. I am particular about my cars, I want them just right, this one rarely was.
So with a sad heart I said goodbye to the world of all things Saab.......then bought a fantastic Alfa 159 1.9jtdm. Cracking car.
After 5 years in Alfas, 2 great ones (159 jtdm and a GT Q2) and one duff one (159 LE) I now find myself back in Saabland. I took the train to Just Saabs in Farnborough and came back in a 2001 9-3 Aero in Cosmic Blue. Bloomin' marvellous it is to.
2001 Saab 9-3 Aero
So whats not to like? Cheap, quick, well built, rare, fun and safe. Its a win/win for Wynne.......see what I did there.....
Considering it is 11 year old, and wasn't the most cutting edge of chassis even in its day, its still tools around perfectly well in the traffic of 2012. The front certainly lacks to poise and communication of the Alfas, but it feels solid, very much unlike the Alfas.
Motorways are a doddle. Dual carriageway is a treat, and even decent A roads can be a blast.
Manages decent enough economy for a 200bhp+ petrol car, around 34mpg a tank full.
It needs a little TLC, but then so would any car with those years and 112K on the clock. Its full service history shows, all the mechanical bits are in order, and even the bodywork is generally very straight and true.
So it has begun to restore my faith in the Saab marque once again. I'm enjoying the 2 months of ownership to date, long may it continue.
Thanks for reading, looking forward to your comments on my mini ownership reviews!