Vacation trip: 4.700 kilometers with the Saab 9-3

Reader's contribution by Benjamin.

Before now relatively exactly three years I took over a cayenne-red Saab 9-3 I with simplest equipment (B204i) from the model year 1998 from careful pensioner hand with something over 53.000 km. To date, I had moved him more well 50.000 km primarily on Germany's roads.

But last year was the 24. June to 09. July the opportunity of a more unusual tour. And since you do not do such a trip every day, here is a detailed report:

The SAAB 9-3 is ready to board in the port of Calais
The SAAB 9-3 is ready to board in the port of Calais

The opportunity arose from the fact that my friend, Josephine, completed an internship in a hospital near Kilmarnock (southwest of Glasgow) in June. For this she had to travel there and come back (with not inconsiderable luggage). In addition, the summer is THE travel time and when Madame is already there, it makes sense to combine the useful with the pleasant.

Do you fly there and spend a few days there? Hm. Then you need accommodation, definitely a rental car in the outlying village. Besides, she actually had a job there, so there would only be weekends left for things to do anyway. Unless you choose the start or end of the internship. - In a spontaneous mood I once expressed my long-held thoughts of a road trip with the SAAB and from then on it was really just a question of how to implement it ...

On her way she attacked on the rail. Three transfers (Cologne, Brussels, London) and 13 hours train ride to Glasgow (it should be 18 hours); then one night and the next day to Kilmarnock. She had to pay (because of her accumulated bonus points for years), however, only the route from London to Kilmarnock. Cheaper it was not at German Wings.

Now it was up to me to organize the way back ... What could you see and where on the way? - To date, I only knew London from the island (from my graduation trip) and the Scottish Highlands (from a whiskey trail with the family). Both should no longer be approached on this tour. - The big questions were rather: Which ferry (s) do you take? What time of day? Where do you plan to stay? How big do you choose the daily stages so that you still have time for sightseeing? To make matters worse, we definitely had to run into her family in Thuringia on July 05th, because round birthdays cannot be postponed ...

Well ... here is the result:

Wednesday, June 20.06th: It started in Berlin. Initially only across the republic into the Moselle valley. There they moved into quarters for a few days and the car was inspected in Trier. The obligatory oil change was made and the front brakes were also completely new (discs and blocks), as well as the ignition distributor and fingers and cap. Despite its age, the car should be fit and be able to cover the upcoming kilometers without failures.

Sunday, June 24.06th: Most of the tour begins. From Bernkastel-Kues through Belgium to Calais. Before going on the ferry, the SAAB got pirate trains: eye patches (masking because of the asymmetrical light). I had made these to measure with black handicraft film (according to the manual) so that we could also be on the road with mandatory low beam during the day. Then it went English soil from Dover only a few first left-hand practice kilometers to Canterbury. The sightseeing of the city was on the program for the afternoon and evening. Overnight in the University of Kent. Unoccupied student rooms are rented to guests there during the holidays. The students, who were also there during the holidays, were all in a pub in the evening that broadcast the England game against Italy. Accompanied by a pint of ale, the unfortunate English football defeat ended the evening - maybe it was better because if they had been eliminated against Germany, I would have been in the

the following days, I must have been afraid of the varnish of the red ... Breakfast was served the next morning in one of the campus cafés.

Monday, 25.06: It went from Canterbury to London or Greenwich. There, the Royal Observatory (with the 0 meridian), the Cutty Sark and a pedestrian tunnel under the Thames (similar to the old Elbtunnel in HH) were inspected. Due to the dense afternoon traffic, this time it went north of the Thames to Southend-on-Sea. The old (Victorian) beach promenade is very pretty to look at, the newer entertainment mile can also be saved.

Tuesday, June 26.06th: From Southend-on-Sea to Bishop's Stortford. This time, a SAA stopover in North London was made and two new used headlamp wipers were obtained from Neo Bros. Let's see when I get to swap them ...

Wednesday, June 27.06th: We leave the extended outskirts of London and first drive to Cambridge. There, the pretty old town with its many colleges and their chapels is examined. The visit to the King's Chapel was spared, as you got a good impression of the dimensions at the entrance and the entrance fee of £ 7,50 is far beyond what I intend to pay for a church (!). Then it's back on the road and in the evening we reach Sheffield. A pretty hilly city with more than enough steep and broken streets.

Thursday, June 28.06th: ​​It went from Sheffield to York. There the next old town was explored and also here the extensive visit of the Minster was abandoned (reason, see Cambridge, King's Chapel). For this you came to the National Railway Museum for free. Also very interesting and the estimated two hours were hardly enough. Then it went to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. There the German car caused a sensation, at least among German tourists and a group of schoolchildren: “Did you drive all of this?”; "Do you do that more often?" I don't do that more often, but two years ago we had already driven from Berlin to the SAAB Festival in Trollhättan (visiting the place of birth, so to speak). Otherwise Newcastle offered a breathtaking storm in the afternoon, with thunderstorms, heavy rain and floods. The resulting traffic jam on all streets ensured that the spectacle could be followed up close… It took us almost two hours to walk the seven kilometers from the city center. This meant that I could only get to know a few streets from this city.

The evening in Newcastle Gray-White meets Cayennerot
The evening in Newcastle Gray-White meets Cayennerot

Friday, June 29.06th: From Newcastle, the route first ran along Hadrians Wall and along to the west and then bent to the northwest at Carlisle. In the morning, a former Roman fort was on the plan for a visit. I could have looked at the Romans on the Rhine and Moselle, but if you are there ... 😉 Near Dumfries the obligatory Scottish castle with the beautiful 'Drumlanrig Castle' was worked through and finally we went on to Kilmarnock . There we finally met the travel occasion, my friend.

During the German European Championship games, she (Josi) had made some acquaintances in the local pub ("The Boys", as the older gentlemen were called), so that the evening round was wet and happy. They did not miss the chance to buy us one drink at a time (reason: you would have to make up for it because of the Italian victory and the resulting winnings). However, they were visibly disappointed when I answered the question with which car I drove all the way: "With an old SAAB." They were all proud owners of young German-made vehicles. Oh well…

Saturday, June 30.06th: From Kilmarnock we first went north, a visit to the largest distillery in the Lowlands (Auchentoshan) was on the agenda. The whiskey offered was only allowed to wet my tongue briefly so that I could get an impression of it; I had to drive a few more kilometers, because from there it was supposed to go further east, to Edinburgh. There in the afternoon we went from a P&R parking lot to explore the city.

Sunday, July 01.07st: The geographic highlight of the tour, Edinburgh, has already been left. It should go through the Scottish Borders on small streets. First to Melrose or Melrose Abbey. Some Scottish kings were buried there. Today it is a ruin, an impressive ruin. Unfortunately, my camera does not have the ability to reproduce the natural spectacle of sun, wind, clouds and rain. Later on the route another stop in Gretna Green (a former wedding paradise for English people). Then it was time to make the route. So on Motorways south, Blackpool was the goal of the day. The planned excursion through the Lake District unfortunately had to be canceled because the monastery had captivated us for so long. In Blackpool the usual thing again: exploration on foot and I have to say: it works. Anyone I had previously told about this goal advised me against it ... dirty, cheap, ugly. However, the entire beach promenade is brand new, the buildings around the northern pier have been renovated (beautiful Art Deco style) and this development is likely to spread further south in the near future. However, the reputation is likely to continue for a while ...

SAAB 9-3 on a stop in the Scottish Borders
SAAB 9-3 on a stop in the Scottish Borders

Monday, July 02.07nd: From Blackpool we went to the Albert Docks in Liverpool. 'The Beatles Story' was on the program. Then straight back through a toll tunnel to Chester. There another, exceptionally beautiful old town was visited (the cathedral was again left out for reasons already mentioned). After a small lunch we went back to the car to eat kilometers. However, we approved a little detour from the direct route to the SAAB to give it a few Welsh roads under the wheels. Then it went east on Motorways past Manchester. The last full day on British soil ended on a farm and bed and breakfast in the orbit of Leeds.

Tuesday, July 03.07rd: First we go from the farm to Hull and from there we set sail in the late afternoon with the SAAB. Not as you'd imagine at first, but it looked like a little cruise. Especially since the passengers were not traveling in old and now very dirty Sweden, but to a large extent consisted of several leisure vehicle clubs: three Morgan (two Plus 4, an Aero), two Ferrari 348, two BMW motorcycle clubs with together about 15 vehicles and a team of 9-3II Cabriolet with single-seat (formula) racing cars on the trailer. The student-occupied (middle-) old SAAB was more of a marginal group than those who would otherwise like to see themselves as exclusive. 😉 In any case, we drew our attention because we were led into a previously empty lane, which was exactly in the middle between the already filled lanes with all the exclusive vehicles. Of all places, next to the large motorcycle group, who, just dismounted, were now at least half on our way and in the way ...

Waiting for the boarding in Hull
Waiting for the boarding in Hull

Wednesday, July 04.07th: After an extensive dinner, a quiet (but short) night and a quick breakfast, we roll off the ferry shortly after 9 a.m., Central Europe and the right-hand traffic have us again. We are in Zeebrugge. Half an hour later we are in Bruges without "Zee". The SAAB lands next to its peers in the parking garage and once again an old town is made unsafe. I had visited this city years ago and had a completely different memory of the number of tourists. Ugly. The city itself confirmed the previous impressions.

In the afternoon, the track is made again, it goes to Aachen. There we are received by a school friend of my person, guided around, executed and accommodated.

Thursday, 05.07 .: In the late morning we start again. Penultimate stage. It goes to East Thuringia in the home of my girlfriend. There we will spend the weekend and attend a family celebration. Friday is the preparation, the Sunday of rest.

Monday, 09.07: From Thuringia there are only about 280 very well known kilometers to Berlin.

It was eventful. It was impressive. It was exhausting - not necessarily driving, but rather sleeping in thirteen different beds, each with unpacking, repacking and packing the suitcases and bags. - However, this venture was planned from the beginning less so than the recreational aspect of a classic vacation, but rather had the intention of seeing something of the country and people on the island, away from the usual goals, and, besides, to combine the adventure with the adored, namely, to pick them up up in Scotland and bring them home safely.

Our itinerary
Our itinerary

The tour had, as far as I could roughly reconstruct it with Google maps, 4116 km (without ferry kilometers). On the counter of thirteen-year-old SAAB 4700 stand at the end of trouble-free kilometers. This includes all explorations, detours and detours.

A lot of usable photos with SAAB were not made, since one was more concerned with the views of the stranger than with the acquaintance ... but I picked out a few presentable ones.

Let's see what's next ... 🙂

Pictures & Text: Benjamin for

11 thoughts on "Vacation trip: 4.700 kilometers with the Saab 9-3"

  • Hello Benjamin,

    nice report and chic SAAB. This is a good year, my daughter has the same - also from the first pensioner hand - but in green. It now has 1 km and is very easy to maintain.

    Continue your journey with it!

  • I envy you for this tour. It sure was a lot of fun. Thanks for the nice review.

  • The spoiler is retrofitted. I brought him 2010 from the festival in THN.

  • If you read your own travelogue with a little time lag, it is amazing which details you have mentioned and which you left out ... and photos without SAAB would have fit in between. The whole thing is very text-heavy. But I am pleased that the SAAB community still likes it!
    Right now I'm thinking about how I could fit a trip to the festival in Trollhättan into my schedule ... Hoppas att träffa några av er där! 😉

  • Great story; Good decision to drive the Saab 🙂

  • I just thought the turbos had a spoiler at the back. At least mine did not have one, but mine also had less 2 doors. 😉

  • Very nice report!
    I drive the 2.0i as a winter car. Meanwhile 235.000km on the clock. Not the most agile, but a nice glider when it's in motion. Absolutely reliable, zero oil consumption and 7,8-8,2l in winter. I like him….

  • Nice car, nice report. Since the next big ride can come.

  • Nice report, thanks. Fit in the lunch break.

    Greetings from Bad Salzdetfurth

  • I join in: a really successful report!
    And is not that the same Saab that Pastewka drives in the eponymous series ?! I think even the color is identsich :-)! A nice car!

  • nice report, ... and nice to read that the 9-3I also has younger fans. anyway i think the shape is one of the most timeless from saab and still fits in well with the street scene today. In memory of my 902 2,0i I also believe that you can move it quickly! take good care of your saab! (Ours was only given after more than 265000km)

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