The SAABBLOG is looking for our kilometer kings and we Saab drivers should best be able to tell something about them. Are they not proof of sustainability? Our family has been dealing with the topic of Saab sustainably for 27 years and our Saabs have been kept alive since then. We conserve resources by letting our cars continue to live as organ donors in their peers, even beyond their life cycle. Unfortunately for the auto industry, we want to let our money flow into the maintenance of our vehicles and not into new cars.
On the one hand, we can no longer order a new Saab and, on the other hand, we can truly no longer recognize philosophies such as “form follows function” or “focus on the essential” in today's world. "Higher, faster, but not really further" is probably better.
We confess: "We are not normal!" But you will recognize that shortly. Not because our Saabs are mostly over 20 years old and have over 200.000 km on the clock, but because we reached the limit of pain when we were 13. Let's start with our Dutch 1990s 900 tu16S as the kilometer king who will donate his APC and sports suspension to our 459.000 1993 soft turbo (900 km!) With his 117.000 km in the future. The newly covered headlining will also live on in it.
Then there is our 1992 900 tu16S, which spent its life in Nantes, France and pitched its tents across the Netherlands in Upper Franconia nine years ago. He rests and waits for his heart valve operation and the well-deserved balm for his sun-ripened orange peel after 288.000 km.
A year and a half ago, a 1996 9000 Aero (281 tkm) returned to us in his Bavarian homeland via Göttingen and Jever. He is still really fun after so many kilometers, which is why we ask ourselves what more is needed to be happy.
At the Saab regulars' table, 900 drivers used to tell us that "two zeros would suffice". In practice, in our opinion, the third zero made the 9000 the best Saab ever built.
Why? In no other car do you feel as comfortable on long journeys as in the 9000er and enjoy its well thought-out construction, sovereignty and value with every kilometer. In today's world, a manufacturer with such a product would go bust. Saab was therefore also initially difficult to bring his 9-5 among the people. Not because he was bad, but because the 9000 had a loyal fan base due to its qualities. And there are still beautiful specimens, but these days they are dry in garages and not on "mobile.de".
For "sustainability", a 1996 9000 2.0t with turbocharger damage - from Wietzendorf 550 km away - should also act as a parts carrier with its two fenders. It comes as it had to come: not a slaughter vehicle, but again a car that stands on our farm due to its low mileage of 173.000 km and its good technical and optical condition and wants to get back on the road. This is made possible by a replacement turbocharger of its own kind, which we used to drive ourselves and which we recently acquired as a parts carrier.
Our acquaintances are already getting to their heads: Paying money for a rust bucket with 274.000 km, you should be happy that you got rid of the "thing". We see it differently: its inner values in the form of a turbocharger, ignition lock, intercooler, retrofitted APC system and many small parts enable us to drive a long 9000m and enjoy our Saab passion. And at 274 tkm, the engine still purrs like a kitten - with a smooth and durable timing chain, as some Golf VII drivers would like it to be.
But what makes driving Saab so special? What is behind the so-called Saab feeling? What triggers this fascination? And the question of all questions: "Which one is the real, only true Saab?"
In the past two years we have compared (experienced) Saab 900, 9000, 9-3 / I, 9-3 / II and 9-5 and unfortunately we have to disappoint you: there is no such thing as the “real” Saab. But we can also reassure you, because the "Spirit of Saab" is in every model - just always different. Thankfully, Saab did not reinvent itself time and again, but continuously developed it further. The niche manufacturer was never able to draw on unlimited resources, which is why it has taken on the demands of the times and found intelligent solutions. Back then, Saab was already producing low-emission vehicles according to the "downsizing" principle when it was still frowned upon for "premium manufacturers".
Experience the Saab feeling! The rustic and the analog, puristic driving of the 900tu16S is just as typical of the Saab as the feeling of space and well-being of the 9000. But also relaxed night drives with the Black Panel from the 900/2 onwards convey a feeling of security and clearly show that the designers have thought of what they should do at work. Not to forget the relaxed draft in our 9-5 Aero, whose overall concept as a luxurious station wagon has rightly made it the absolute darling of our family. Even though he is not a 9000.
Originally a winter interim solution, our 9-3 / II also got its rose with just 134.000 km and remains with us. Another car in the yard. He sneaked into our hearts with his sports suspension, sports seat, sunroof and large interior. Even my wife forgot that she doesn't like sedans.
And the Saab 9-3 / I? He is wrongly in the shadow of his colleagues, because engine damage that occurs is often due to poor maintenance and the fatal conviction that neglected oil change intervals do not really affect the durability of an engine.
With our 2000 9-3 Aero, shock absorbers, rubbers, exhausts etc. don't last forever, but the rest are convincing with more than 324 tkm (half of them driven with LPG) across the board. He infatuates me with his smell of leather and shows on behalf of all Saab turbo engines that at 10.000km oil change intervals the high thermal load of LPG operation affects them secondarily. In the same horn our 2002 9-3 / I Anniversary blows as an everyday companion with its 279.000 km (thereof 60 tkm with LPG) in terms of stability and sustainability. The car is nothing special, but it has grown dear to my heart. He drives and drives and saves and saves. I recently covered 24 km within 1200 hours. And it was fun.
Hopefully the youngest "new addition" to our Saab retirement home will now be the last. Can you leave an 84 900 turbo16 with just 324 tkm in front of the door? A model that started the cult of the 900 and the turbo 16-valve engine? Not really! Our black 5-door with sunroof (!) Lived in Barcelona for a long time and has been proudly carrying his "Espana" sticker on the tailgate. But now it has to be over, because when I write I realize again: "We have too many cars!" "And we really are not normal." Pardon, of course I exclude my wife. On the other hand, you have to think about the future. If our children are allowed to drive a car in the near future, they may follow in our footsteps and do not want to drive a “one-man BMW”. Well, hope dies last.
So much for the “Fascination Saab” and sustainability, with regard to the subject of “mileage kings” we can only have an average mileage of 262.000 km, but the “total mileage” of almost 3,5 million km leaves me speechless. What could our Saabs tell? To me they are all kings!
Text and images: Gunther Knopf