Much has been written about the Saab Spirit. Rolf Bleeker dedicated a whole book to the topic, which has been part of every fan's standard work for many years. Saab Spirit can be anything. The love for not so young cars; the joy of discovering a Saab in traffic; Conversations with like-minded people ... or the decision to build their own Saab.
The initial situation…
Family Lafrentz has - meanwhile in the 2. Generation - a remarkable Saab collection built. In addition to Saab Sonett, various Saab 900, 99, 9000 and Saab Viggen include, among others, a Saab 9-5 NG sports car from the pre-series and a Saab 9-4x. Rare vehicles - to top exclusivity only with a single piece.
The project to build a station wagon with the rear of the CS fits into the jubilee year of the Saab 9000. The idea of being born in autumn / winter 2014 sounded no crazier than the fact of writing a blog and dealing with Saab every day for 5 years. An 9000 SC? Yes, please, why did not we do that earlier?
The searched objects for the conversion are found quickly. An 95 Saab 9000 automatic Aero, just over 200.000 kilometers on the clock, and by neglecting maturity for a restoration, represents the base. Not so easy was the search for the Italian counterpart. Lancia has just built 20.000 theme SW, not many have survived. Through good contacts, the artifact of a Lancia theme station wagon finds its way north. On our word of honor, we would never have slaughtered a good or salvageable theme station wagon for our Saab 9000 SC project. We all have too much gasoline in our blood, because the good Italo station wagons are too rare.
In contrast to earlier conversions carried out in Sweden, the SC project has a different approach. The Saab is to lose the roof, donate the theme of his roof including tailgate and rear side windows. The body shell would be finished. So the plan ...
This would have saved the Kiel Saab Team the stable underbody of the 9000 CS, which would guarantee in the final product for a solid, Swedish station wagon. Although Lancia and Saab have identical dimensions on the millimeter, the bottom groups are in detail like fire and ice. The Lancia has elegant sheet metal that willingly gives on cold deformation on impact. While the Italian would die in beauty, the 9000 scores with stiffeners and braces. A Saab - built for eternity. Because Lancia's lax European security regulations played a role that did not matter to US policies, Saab and the topic differ greatly.
Added to this is the fundamental attitude to vehicle safety in Trollhättan. A Saab had to be always better and safer than the law required. That was the maxim until the end of the year in 2011.
The devil sits, as they say, in detail. A plan that sounds good has pitfalls, and the culprit is quickly identified in our project. His name: Björn Envall. While the rear of the 9000 CC had a straight, razor-like finish, designer Envall formed the 2. Generation a rounded end. Thus he coined Saab style language for the next decades up to the Saab 9-5 NG.
In the 9000 SC Envall causes problems. Like the first 9000 generation, the Lancia Thema SW also drives the world with a straight tail end. Lancia rear window and flap do not like curves.
But first the big things are tackled. After the 9000 roof including tailgate has lost, the Italian sheet is transplanted. Fine details, such as the integrated roof spoiler and the classy aluminum applications of the signed by Pininfarina station wagon are taken over and give the 9000 SC an individual touch. In the case of the Italian, the aluminum inlays are different in color from the rest of the body; later, they were painted in body color on the 9000 SC project. A decision that I would not have made in retrospect, it would be my station wagon. Little things on the edge ... and there was still the problem with the rounded tail end ...
The round must be square
A styling feature of the 9000 CS is the continuous, red-colored band at the rear. The 900 II had it, the Saab 9-5 NG and 9-4x and the planned 9-3 successor quoted Envall's design language in the form of a continuous lightbar. In the future, a car company from Ingolstadt will be celebrating design evolution, but that's a completely different story.
The red 9000 Tailgate, sold out at Orio to the fright of the fans, picks up the bulge of the 9000 tailgate. And while the roof, side and rear windows fit perfectly, there are problems with this at the end. The solution is radical. Below the rear window, the Lancia sheet metal is cut off and rebuilt for the 9000 SC. The team in Kiel needs more than a try on the way to perfection. Solutions arise, are discarded again. Back in the late winter, 2014 / 15 keeps going until the result is right. At some point the flap falls perfectly into the lock, the rear panel fits. The Saab 9000 SC is there, as it could have come into existence at the beginning of the 90 years in cooperation of Pininfarina and Björn Envall's team.
While the body shop in the Car dealership Lafrentz finishing the carcass and rolling the 9000 SC for painting, the leather upholstery with the Aero seats is professionally refurbished. Little things, like the rubber seal of the rear window, make problems. At Lancia nothing is available; If you are upset about Orio and the supposedly low enthusiasm for classic cars and classics, then you should drop by Lancia! For the rear window there is a solution in the form of piece goods, which is slightly wider than the original, but tight.
Due to the fact that the Saab 9000 trunk was not touched, the original interior fits. This saves time and customization. Only the Alcantara sky is reminiscent of the Lancia, as well as the 9000er small sunroof. Everything else is Trollhättan original. For the cover of the hold, the SC takes a loan to the successor. The part of the Saab 9-5 sports suit is slightly modified and fits.
The technology of the 9000 Aero remains largely untouched. The engine has just come in at just over 200.000 kilometers, the B234 is good for half a million and much more. Wearing parts are renewed, liquids replaced, nothing more has to be.
Back from the painter, the SC is completed. The first impression: in front of us is a handsome station wagon, more present and less petite than the sedan. With the only very softly tinted side windows, however, he conveys too much transparency and 80 years, too little dynamics. After a short discussion, the team in Kiel decides to sound the rear and side windows. Gentle, not too intense. The result fits.
In the final bill 400 hours flowed into the project. The 9000 SC was built to personal standards and is intended to remain in the family's collection. He is not available for purchase. During the trip to Trollhättan there was a lot of praise, a lot of publicity; The station wagon was filmed, photographed and requested. Saab veterans got wet eyes, the order was successful. Because, and this is the true background, the project was also about things like brand and liveliness.
It will be more exciting how he drives. A Saab 9000 Herrgårdsvagn, as it unfortunately never existed ex works. Would Saab have had a chance against the posh Lancia theme SW and Mercedes T model? Lancia at least let the edgy rear pay well. Up to 9.000,00 DM surcharge to the limousine were allowed to transfer buyers, more than 20.000 people found that in order. The driving report to the counterpart from Sweden comes tomorrow on the blog.