SAAB. Past. Presence. Future?


Personally, I did not know the SAAB brand until I bought one myself. Unlike many other SAAB drivers, I do not come from a "SAAB dynasty," if anything, more from a Peugeot family. My dad drove two Peugeot models in succession (305, 405), as did my grandfather (504, 405), so my first car also carried a lion on the grille until a boar stopped it.

There followed a period of experimenting with rental cars, from the trident to the propeller to the Ringbearer. And as soon as the topic of buying a car came to the wall, I thought of becoming the Löwendompteur or pilot again.


Interestingly, a SAAB was not on this list, but a somewhat old model 406 from Peugeot. However, this proved during the test drive as age-stricken, with strangely weak brake system, but irrepressible diesel thirst. That was reason enough for me to take a look at the adjacent SAAB model 9-5. A 2.3 t from the first model year, with 175-PS engine, "small" turbocharger, full equipment plus Brabus package, which was then led before the application of the Aero equipment as a noble variant on the German market.

The test drive was first and foremost - convincing! Cheaper than the actually interesting Peugeot, stuck in the SAAB despite his then ten Lenze even more amazing spirits. The faulty temperature gauge in the climate module should be fixed before you buy. Also the pedigree of the SAAB was impressive: In spite of its age only 53.000 km moved, complete care with the same ever dealer. According to driver information (neatly filled) a second car, which explained the excellent condition inside.

The purchase decision was quickly dropped. Well, I had to borrow a lot of the purchase price, but that was subordinate. More interesting was the reaction to the name SAAB. As is often the case: Many more people have SAAB somewhere on the slip than there are SAAB drivers. There was a friend of my mom from Youth Days, who owned a SAAB over 30 years ago (and is currently moving the only 9-5 (II) in the wide area). There was the 9-3 cabriolet with deer tuning that my dad had once a week to rehearse. The doctor who speaks enthusiastically of his first SAAB 99. SAAB connects, that's for sure. SAAB can encourage a conversation - and seldom do you hear bad about SAAB.

Also, I usually have only good things to say about my SAAB. Because of the low mileage, it is mechanically still in excellent shape, in the six years that I now own him, only the springs of the front axle and a hose of the power steering had to be exchanged. Problematic are parts susceptible to aging, in particular electronic: Throttle valve potentiometers, injection system control unit, SID - all three components showed total failures or signs of old age within the first two years. Otherwise, nothing went down to wear parts.

Even in accidents, the SAAB was robust and easy to repair. A parking garage collision, which brought the VW next to me a 900 Euro expensive scratches in the door, led me to a small fingernail-large paint abrasion, which could be repaired with paint in the original color, sandpaper and a Lackiermaske from a hefty plastic bag itself. Drastic was a collision two years ago, after which I baptized the SAAB temporarily for his silver look "Clarence". Since then, the Brabus package is incomplete, since the honeycomb grille was no longer procured, and has since been replaced by the standard louvered grill. Nevertheless, except for the buckling of the compressed bonnet and the tightening of the pressed-in lock carrier, I was able to carry out all repairs myself.

My SAAB has also brought me interesting encounters - in April 2010, it came to the SAAB Spyker summit meeting in a parking lot near Saarbrücken, just in time for the then-current events in Sweden, when I was one of the then seven approved in Germany Spyker (incidentally, the first approved, a C8 SWB) and his driver met. The following week we arranged a photo session of our vehicles, the story was published on Saabsunited. Incidentally, in August of the same year, this encounter also brought me the ride in another automobile rarity, a Bugatti type 35B.


153.000 km has currently covered my SAAB, so in 6 years of ownership, I've moved it almost twice as much as it has been moving in its 10 years of existence. And I have to say, I'm still very satisfied. I feel like so many SAAB drivers, the car is timeless, none of his 16 years you look at him. And unlike many other SAABs, my life does not lead to a comfortable life as a Sunday or weekend vehicle, but must prove itself in daily use, even in winter, when he quietly pulls his tracks, where the C-Class wiggles in front of me with his butt as if there were a prize to be won in Ententanz.

His daily duties are done perfectly. Be it the transport of cement bags (evenly distributed from the passenger seat on the back seat to the trunk), squared timbers (pushed from the trunk to the dashboard) or Christmas trees (across the trunk, or pushed through to the rear seat). 10 bags bark mulch, stacked in the trunk.

On business trips you are still on the move with three colleagues plus luggage, for boss and companion in the rear, there is the state coach feeling with folded down the center armrest and extended drink holder. And the beats of the natural frequency of the self-supporting body transport even the largest bag of colleague colleague after a quarter of an hour in the safe and peaceful sleep.

Besides all this, my SAAB was - and still is - still a piece of transported home. No matter where it takes me, he made sure I could move reliably anywhere, without relying on public transport from unknown cities or the unknown driving skills of fugitive fellows. Once when a colleague in a company car (a Romanian manufacturer) was taken away, I clung to my seat during the entire journey, which offered no support, nor protection against the erratic body movements.


Is there a life after the SAAB? This is a good question that concerns us just now, inspired by some articles on this blog. And despite all the positive things that I have experienced in recent years, the last visit to the workshop, so to speak, let my love for my SAAB cool off a bit.

Maybe also because in the spring I once again went astray and since then, after years of abstinence and displeasure, I have once again sat in a Peugeot and tried it out. Not bad - at first glance in terms of interior organization equivalent to my SAAB, sportier (no wonder at 30 PS) and with a stronger aircraft appearance (because of the reflexvisierartig folding HUDs). At the same time also fancier, which is no surprise, however, because of the material selection in the SAAB interior typical for the late 90 years.

Whether there will be a life after the SAAB is still an open question. Maybe the SAAB comes in the big service suit, is overhauled and cleaned thoroughly, and then comes as a Sunday vehicle in the garage. Maybe it will be swapped for a new 9-5. Maybe the griffin has to give up the lion as well.

I can not (yet) give an answer to this question. One thing is certain, and it will remain: the many encounters with very interesting people to whom my SAAB has led. Which Audi driver can say that already?

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Thanks to Philipp for his Saab story! Will he stay with Saab, will he change brands? I'm sure we'll find out ... Do you have anything to tell about Saab?

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14 thoughts on "SAAB. Past. Presence. Future?"

  • I drove the one with a 2,2-liter diesel with 205 hp ... so no trace of too little displacement. In sport mode, tap the accelerator, and the acceleration is enormous - the people behind literally disappear in the mirror. In addition, Peugeot diesels are now also durable and recognized across the industry. Ford also purchases, or at times obtained, its diesels from there.

  • Yes, also from my side a “thank you” to the author of the text. It's always nice to read experiences, memories, etc. about the 9-5.
    For me, the Saab 9-5 is ingeniously designed. After all this time, I still enjoy traveling with this plane and can not separate myself from it, even though it is driving towards the 300000 kilometer sound barrier.
    A word about your lion. You feel something special in every new car - especially the feeling of being able to be the first owner. But: Isn't it the case with the new Peugeots that the displacement is continually being reduced in order to comply with emission standards? So please, you save perhaps 50, - € annually in supporting our state. Is it really worth it to drive a 1,6L engine that is (probably) flat after 150TKM or at least so in need of repair that your smile freezes?
    It would be nice if you still decide for your 9-5. This short meeting of like-minded people in the traffic, with mutual hand greeting, still manages to give me pleasure.
    Do not forget: Saab, more than a car!

  • A nice text and I hope you stay with saab

    My first SAAB was a 9-5 OG station wagon... I've now bought a 9-5 NG and mourned the old one, so I got another old 9-5. I love it and it drives just great. Even if it's a diesel it runs great.

  • Funnily enough, it is also and especially the less "chic" interior of the SAABs that so appropriates me for the brand ...

    My 9-5 (model year 08) does not look so much different than my 9-3 (model year 00) looked like and both sense or feel clearly the genes of their predecessors.

    Negatively designed, they are therefore stale. Positively designed, it is independent and timeless Scandinavian design.

    Anyway, in many new cars of other brands put me with all sorts of ornaments stuffed and endeavored to desperately trimmed to value interiors regularly a shock.

    • Hello Herbert,

      send there, send here - what bothers me about the interior, for example, is the thin aluminum that covers some of the switches, that the carbon optic now looks badly bruised and the dashboard falls off towards the A-pillar, creating a gap that is difficult to clean.

      “Altbacken” is definitely the name for the facility, but that was the style of the late 90s when it came to cockpit organization and materials. No reproach to the designer, but at some point it can be something new.

      • Of course, it may. And at some point it has to be something new (and something else).
        At some point there is no way around it ...

        And yet I experience my cockpit differently. timeless, simple, functional. However, it is also free of carbon, imitation wood or other contemporary, wear-prone and dysfunctional veneers ...

        • It's the same with the cockpit. It's timeless and extremely tidy. As a company car, I am “allowed” to use different brands over and over again and it is often a cramp when you are “struck by” massive, completely overloaded interiors.
          I hope my 9-3 will last a long time or at least hopefully there will be good used ones for a few more years.

          Greetings from Lusatia. Marco

          • Without wanting to take the foreign brand advertising to extremes, that's why the interior appealed to me during my “affair”: Tidy and discreet like in the SAAB. Neither bulky nor overloaded, from a single source - actually typically SAAB, just more modern.

  • Hello Phibo,

    which serious problem occurred at the last workshop visit? This even seems to have scratched the love or the SAAB enthusiasm.

    SID & Co. have also been renewed in my 9-5 station wagon and the car is only slightly younger in age (albeit at almost 300 km) - but my enthusiasm has not yet been overridden by any workshop visit.

    • Hello Detef,

      it was not a single serious quirk, but the sum total of all the little things. If the gas pressure springs of the bonnet give way, 120 euros are gone, V-belt replacement another 150 euros, pollen filter, ... And then there is the fairytale tax.

      I'm glad that all the repairs were done and I see that as a sensible money, but actually I would like to do something else with my tax refund, as to pay repair bills.

      • Since you can be frustrated, very clear. But, dear PhiBo, if the 9-5 is repaired first, then it's quiet. You would miss the 9-5 and the blog. A new-fangled box does not carry as much style as the 9-5.

        • On the other hand, one thing is clear: The SAAB is paid off, so it only causes costs while moving. The aging-prone electronic components are now replaced. Therefore, right now is clearly Plan A (to stay in the Muller diction): General overhaul to the Sunday car.

          In addition to the “one” bill, there was something else. I very meticulously keep a log of kilometers driven, fuel consumption and other costs. And because I do this in the form of an Excel spreadsheet, it was only a small step to add the technology costs over the time since I bought the SAAB - and the result was a number that now exceeds the purchase price. And even if you factor out repairs caused by accidents, the next service will restore this cost ratio.

  • I can only underline the assessment of a 16 year old Saab. My ° oldest ”was built in May 1999 and now has 230000 km under his belt and runs and runs ...
    He has never disappointed me except for the quirks described above. Visually, he still looks young.
    Even if there are already some newer Saab's at home (including 9-5 NG), I definitely don't want to hand it over.

    • EA controller and throttle seem to be weak points of the model. When I was looking for the error on Google, tons of identical reports poured into the relevant SAAB forums.

      The one with the springs was a specialty of the Brabus model and is due to the fact that the springs were wrapped with plastic hoses for noise reduction. Moisture could then pull off between hose and spring, but not fly away. Even the life has voted, after about 80.000 km the rust devil has then cracked the steel.

      And yes ... visually it is still an eye-catcher 🙂 Otherwise the decision would not be so difficult for me ... 🙂

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