The Saab 9000 - matured into a classic

Since the first attempts of the blog the Saab 9000 employs me. In June 2011 there was one IDEAfollowed by a detailed Buyer's guide, Is not that all that was to be said? In principle not, because times are changing, and with it our perception of old cars.

Saab of 1998 in the foreground, Güldner head office of 1956 in the background. Today, the completely modernized building is being used by Linde Fördertechnik.
Saab of 1998 in the foreground, Güldner head office of 1956 in the background. Today, the completely modernized building is being used by Linde Fördertechnik.

Before 8 years ago, the 9000 was just a classic car, so the series, released more than 30 years ago, has long since matured into a classic. You can feel it, you feel it, and sometimes it's not that bad. And it starts at the beginning. Or, more specifically, when switching from a current car to an 9000. In contrast, you really get into the Saab, because the seats are currently mounted very high. A real start, not a descent, and the 9k delights with plenty of light, space, and a great all-round view. The huge windscreen allows for a view in Ultra HD format, everything is great.

The car is from a different time. More than 3 decades ago, it was not even a dream to quarter people in crowded cities in yield-optimized honeycombs. The vehicles at that time, not just the Saab, offered great space economy, large windows and great utility. Everything is different today. Limousines have larger sheet metal and smaller window areas. You crouch, so to speak, squeezed into almost 2 tons of steel and sheet metal, which is chic and contemporary, until you get into an old Saab. Or move from his honeycomb in the city to the grandparents' country house. And surprised to see how humane, flattered by a lot of light and space that the generations before us knew how to live.

Old, good and food for thought!

Yes, the Saab is old. And not everything about him is good. Its suspension, with its solid axle behind, is neat, but today's cars can do much more. And my Anna project comes with 21 Lenzen on the tin dress so slowly in the years. Something is always, but in interaction with Gerard Ratzmann we have this together under control. In the spring little things were done and aging vacuum hoses exchanged precautionary. A new upper engine mount, some optimization here and there. The Saab is reliable, comfortable to drive, and when the hazard switch goes off after 21 years, that's just how it works. And it is not a problem, because the big Saab is just a Swedish Ikea car, where you can do little things without special talent yourself.

The Saab has matured, and I have the impression that it becomes more casual as you get older. Or is it because today's cars are so unsteady, serious, and full of electronics? In the 9k the driver rests in the still good and ingenious chairs from the legendary seat workshop at Göta Älv. The right arm is on the retrofitted center armrest and occasionally presses the bone-dry but accurate 5 gearbox. A real Saab gearbox, far better than the Opel-Kram you later expected the brand. The big Swede drives, if you like, switch-lazy. The large 2.3 always provides enough torque, at idle, the machine is not heard with their balance shafts and comes close to the running culture of a straight-six.

Mature classic, but time is running.

The 9000 still belongs to a generation of vehicles where primarily the gas foot was decisive for consumption. Set the cruise control to the freeway directional speed, or slightly lower, with fabulous ranges and a relaxed driving experience. You then ask where more than 30 years of progress have actually gone, but answer the question immediately. Yes, a 6-speed transmission in the 9000, that would have been it. Or at least an overdrive gear, nice to lower the speed and reduce fuel consumption like the wonderful old English cars once had. In conjunction with a Saab Turbo - that would be perfect.

But you can not have it all. Today you have to enjoy what this fabulous old Swede has to offer. Because its time is limited because the age of the burners is coming to an end. At some point, perhaps earlier than you might think, old combustion engines will lose their approval. The first countries already have specific plans, and sustainability and long service life do not count for much. What follows can be exciting. A break with our habits and an enrichment. Maybe a return. On old values, on cars with high utility value, light and space.

25 thoughts on "The Saab 9000 - matured into a classic"

  • As a die-hard Saab driver, lover, hobbyist and collector, I confirm most of the previous speakers.

    My family has been infested with the Saab passion since 1969. My Saab career began in the early 80s with several 99tu, through many different 901s up to the 9k; who accompanied me professionally, without any significant engine damage, except for wear parts, of course, several 901 + 9k, all 16v-tu or Aero, always faithful to almost, even over 1/2-million-km, i.e. average 60-80t-km / year with a single engine breakdown! What I unfortunately cannot confirm or can confirm less well of the newer model types 9.3 + 9.5, as they already had several engine damage at low km readings. From this point of view, despite or perhaps thanks to “ital-design”, the 9000er was clearly the most perfect Saab that was still built independently, be it with the well-known active and above all passive Saab safety, which Saab has independently pursued in its own research center for generations and loyally cared for before new safety laws prescribed which measures, as well as offering one of the highest levels of seating comfort right up to the aero sports seats, despite the few small quirks already mentioned by previous speakers! Many of these interesting and helpful Saab innovations, which up to and including the model 9000 were quality-consciously maintained in the smallest detail in the Swedish style, were unfortunately partly missing in the following models.

    For the past few years, I have been consciously only driving bio-power engines for everyday use, as long as circumstances allow me to drive a Saab in an environmentally conscious manner; although for the 9.3 + 9.5er because of excessive GM austerity measures, for my needs, clearly the typical detail-maintained Saab worthiness is missing.

    By the way, I occasionally allow myself the pleasure of switching to my vintage cars, be it 99er, 901er or 9k, which clearly reawakens the then-known Saab driving feeling in me, and can easily keep up with today's over-sized and overpowered vehicles!

    Saabige greetings

  • I can only agree with the previous comments.
    Having grown up in a very early 99 (which I still own), the Saab world has long stopped me on the 99.
    Then at some point came a couple of 900 (I still have a convertible) but the 9000 ... Never ever.
    Until I had the first. 2.0i CC. The landing gear a different world than in the 900. Unfortunately with many kilometers and at some point also rust.
    Okay, the CC is still ok, but a CS? Certainly not!
    Until I got the first one 😉. From retired first owner, few kilometers, very well maintained, and very, very cheap. So I had to ... As a winter car it will be enough ...
    That changed my Saab world forever. I never expected the car to have another winter (although it could definitely do it in a Mike Sanders way). Instead, another 9000 had to be found. 2.3 Turbo with automatic. Meanwhile over 300tKm on the speedometer, certainly not nice anymore - but wonderful to drive.
    I also enjoy the feeling described several times above when I get into the Saab, bed myself in leather and wood and the world stays outside. No matter how cold and wet it may be outside, no matter how steady the day ... The automatic decelerates, you know you could, but why? Saab driving is yoga for unsportsmanlike ...
    All right, 9000 CSE, but 9-5? No way? But, I have tried it with a 2000er (so early) Griffin station wagon. And no, he could not (apart from the automatic) the 9000 remotely enough water.
    Especially when it comes to the “I'll take you to the end of the world, nothing can happen to you” feeling.
    The 9-5 is history. I still have both 9000. And for a year now I have also had a “handkerchief-cared for” Aero, which I bought at a completely unreasonable price, but which in my opinion was still worth every penny.
    Yes, I also think that a later (from '96) 9000 is the best Saab ever built. Closely followed by the late 99 with an H-engine (which is also in my garage ...).

    As long as environmental regulations allow, I will drive my 9000 from the previous millennium. As an everyday car and fun car in one. The pain does not cost me nearly as much as the loss of value of a young used car (or even a new car) and my environmental awareness can sleep well, if I remember that the 9000, even if he certainly emits more CO2 than a modern one Car, after 23 years and good 300tKm just in his third life at least launches and 2 cars did not even have to be produced!


  • 9000 anno 2019

    Am d. J. only met three or four 9000s in traffic. All in Sweden on approx. 2.400 km. Pretty lean ...

    In general, I noticed (I haven't been to S for a while) that the cars there have become younger and are less well maintained than before. Among the Volvos, the youngest models dominated by far and the Chinese V90 was as present as a Wartburg in the GDR ...

    The last V70 or just younger SAABs up to the NG were again driven mostly by younger people and were often neglected to visible rusty - cheap Ge, consumption and wear objects. Disposable.

    The owner of a larger independent workshop showed me several Swedes, again significantly older, in different stages of decay and restoration. All imports from the USA ...

    When the Swedes start to (re-) import themselves, this testifies to a growing appreciation. On the other hand, surprisingly little was to be seen of this appreciation on the roads. What I saw and what I did not or hardly ever got to see (old Swedish cars as a daily driver), I first have to digest and classify. I remembered the Swedish consumer behavior differently and more sustainably from previous visits.

  • And then GM came along …… ..

  • Great article Tom, find me in every sentence again, especially in your thoughts on the zeitgeist. Thank you !

  • Yes, a dream car. I drove a 15 95 CS without turbo for 9000 years. What a relaxed and reliable car. Then I swapped it for a '93 convertible from 2001. It also feels like a stone, but I still mourn the 9000 a little bit ...

  • Great idea! On the offer of mediation, I may really like to come back. Thank you! 🙂

  • the 9000er is not only the best SAAB but also the reference car in the upper middle class and partly scores with the 9-5NG. As already written, ... only the ignition is stupid!

    We will probably have a symbios of two red 9k aero. My old man is too badly damaged by his hard service life and the de-icing salt. So the good parts in an aero that is just logged off and then serves as a service car for the SAAB offspring who is currently driving a 9-3cab and moving the 9-7x (he may not yet use the 9-5NG). My old 9k aero is either put away, given to a youngster who does the screwing itself, or set up later. So nothing will change in the statistics.

  • It started with a Saab 25 9000 years ago, now it has a 9-3 convertible, 9-4 and 9-5 NG added, but the 9000 is still my dream car.
    A comfortable touring car, clear and with comfortable seats, lovingly called sofa by my wife.
    What this car has already done for moving.
    Now another 9000 has been added, now with automatic, even more comfortable.
    I hope he will last a long time.

  • Yes, the ignition lock ... The only flaw on the 9000. Driving a test drive shouldn't be a problem (also @ Ken-Daniel). There are so many Saab meetings and get-togethers and I'm sure one or the other 9k owner would love to help. Otherwise, please email me. I like to try myself as a mediator 😉

  • Yes, I was also curious and would like to test drive one. So far, cars without an ignition lock in the center console were not (real or full-fledged) Saabs for me. Which is of course total nonsense - as I now know after reading various things on the blog. 🙂

  • As I have already written, the blog gives me great desire for a 9000. At least once I want to drive one.

  • Hello to the Saabgemeinde.
    As described in the article, the 9000 is THE Saab. With this car my passion (some also say illness) for Saab began. A green 9000 CSE with soft turbo and 150PS from 1997. In retrospect, I should never have sold it. It was the best Saab I've ever had. Not even the 9-5 NG could top this. Today I still have a 900/1 from 1990 and a 9-3 Combi from 2006. A Volvo has to serve as a “utility vehicle” for the job. I noticed that after 3 months of searching, there was simply no Saab to be found at a realistic price and with a few kilometers that would have reliably accompanied me for the next few years. Either you find core scrap or overpriced vehicles. But this was already an issue in the previous article (alternatives to Saab).
    I wish all Saab drivers a lot of fun with their vehicles. Keep and care for your Saab's I do it too.

  • I just can approve that too.
    Had two 9k itself.

    Nevertheless, I recently decided to part with mine.
    Now that we are moving two vehicles in the family and I drive a lot for work, the 9k was too bad for me.
    It is best to treat yourself to luxury and put it away in a garage and move it only in summer.
    That did not work for me.

    In addition, the chassis including brakes me on highways has become unsafe.
    Not to mention the background noise from 150 km / h.

    That's why my choice fell on a 01 Saab 9-5.
    Because I already had an 05er as a diesel - a disaster.
    A 06er Aero - great engine and at the same time a catastrophic workmanship in the interior.

    Later a 07er deer diesel. He ran very smoothly.
    Until the whole environmental history came and the market price plummeted.

    Who drove 9000er will be happy with an early 95er.
    "Another great workmanship"; and as a station wagon also with high utility value.
    Great solid dashboard, not s rattles. High quality carrier.
    Many lights in the doors and the tailgate were later rationalized.
    Eyelet on the tailgate - ingenious!
    Beautiful door sills with Saab logo, good cover of the tailgate with plastic there are no scratches in the snow.
    Ordinary door handles inside, nice air conditioning unit, great Saab instruments.
    Still decent leather. Later it only got thinner.
    Thick carpet in the whole car. Super clean.
    No huge sills (SE equipment) to climb over.
    Central display in the middle.
    The 4 gear automatic switches so soft that you hardly notice it.
    At 200 km / h only 4000 rpm.
    Not even every diesel manages to do that.
    Why do you need 8 gears?
    Large tail lights ala 9000er with lock option.
    If there is a cable break, you appreciate the lock in the back even more.
    Double sunshades anyway.

    Yes. The ones with the rust.
    Since the 9000er was better.

    Conclusion for me.
    If you have a great 9000er, keep it and put it away.
    Worth gold in five years.
    Otherwise a bit more modern and comfortable for me - the first 9-5.
    Better suspension, brakes, steering.
    And soon also an upcoming classic with the chrome grill
    So get, get, get!

  • A life without 9000 is possible, but is it fun? I would miss him too.

  • Very nice! I can understand that, 9k driving makes happy 😉 Have fun with the CC!

  • Hi Tom,
    Thank you for the great tribute to the 9000er.
    A few months ago I treated myself to another 9000, a Turbo EZ 1985. It received a few more "strokes" at HFT and is now a source of pure joy. With 130 km / h and cruise control on the highway, a real pleasure. When I'm in this car, I don't care about the rest of the world, because I'm in my very own happiness cosmos.
    Of course I could keep up with the left lane if I wanted to amaze many a contemporaries in his standard sleigh, but why? I already have the maximum pleasure factor.

  • The Lizi has a 2.3 t CSE automatic from 11/91 with rear parking aid. Hard to see and works perfectly. Was already there when I bought the car, so no story about it.

  • Thank you Tom - yes, the 9000 was, is and will be this very special car from SAAB. Personally, I started with a Saab 96 as the first car. Then came some Saab 90 and Saab 900. When the 9000 was introduced - I was invited to it with my dad - I couldn't really get excited about it.

    For me, the Saab 96 with its freewheel and the V4 engine from Ford and the two turbos - the soft as well as the full turbo - of the Saab 900 1st generation were the typical Saab.

    But the Saab 9000 is the very best Saab that was ever built in Trollhättan - in every respect and that is still today. None of our 9-5 station wagons or the 9-3 Aero Cabrio can even come close to holding a candle to our old Saab 9000.

    Every day I look forward to joining the old Swedes - yes, Tom, after 23 years there are also little ailments - but they are more than forgivable, especially compared to the problems that the newer Saab's have.

    I am already thinking with horror of the day when we can no longer have a Saab 9000 and I very much hope that I will still find an acceptable vehicle somewhere - I really couldn't imagine being without a Saab 9000.

  • Of course, an original 9000 has its Reitz - but where are they, the optimized copies? Who among the blog readers retrofitted a 6-speed gearbox? Or a parking aid? Or who is still using one of the few 2.5 liters that were converted by a dealer many years ago? There are Saab specialists who offer chassis modifications - a post about such exotic species would be interesting to read….

  • Is it true when I think of the 9000ers in my life? These were all honest, solid and good cars. Lots of money, really expensive back then, but the equivalent has always been right. Great, if any are preserved!

  • Yes Peter, the automatic transmission fits a bit better. Except for “Anna” all of my 9k have the ZF automatic, but “Anna” have a sunroof which the others don't. And I'm an absolute fan of this hatch in the tin.

  • Thanks Tom for the nice words about the 9k. In fact, I am amazed at the vehicle and all the details described every day. When I drive, I always have the feeling that I can travel to the end of the world and arrive there relaxed. Hope for many more years together. Thanks also to Gerard Ratzmann. Always better not to upset myself about the political decisions affecting private transport and the shortsightedness of the consumer society. But close the car door, listen to the hiss of the turbo and enjoy every kilometer ...

    The Lizi

  • Hello Tom, I have a 9ooo with automatic ... in my opinion this is the right gearbox for the car. Totally relaxed, ok, a 5-speed automatic would be nicer, but at speeds around 150 it needs about 8,5-9 liters, that's ok. Okay, then it'll be more. But I just had a rental car, smaller than the 9ooo, it also used 7,8 liters, but as a 6-speed switch, where has the progress gone?
    In other words, the 9ooo is a great car!

  • Those were great cars….

    As the very first Saab, we had such a silver "angular" (automatic, 200 turbo PS I think) from the local "gas station attendant" **
    Later the “more rounded” successor as CSE… ..

    The first one in particular was a real racing machine! 😉
    Previously, our family always drove BMW.
    But from then on, the virus got us incurable!

    I loved the interior of the 9000'er:
    “Noblest” and super comfortable leather seats, great automatic air conditioning, here and there a few typical “shabby quirks” that no other car had, plus a really large trunk (washing machines / refrigerators were no problem) ... and not to forget the extraordinary wide automatic ” regulator ”in the middle!

    A local “gas station attendant” opened a tiny “car dealership” with Saab in his office after the new building.
    Unfortunately it only lasted a few years….


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