Kilometers kings? Here come 3,5 million!

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.

900 Turbo 16S, model year 92
900 Turbo 16S, model year 92

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 "".

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

14 thoughts on "Kilometers kings? Here come 3,5 million!"

  • Incredibly beautiful vehicles. I would also like to have such a collection.

  • Taubenberger im Tölz has a nice 95NG ... was there before Christmas ...

  • A really very good article! It hits the nail on the head. A car is a means of transportation and not a rolling infotainment system. If I want self-driving electromobility, then I get on the train (which is unfortunately not always easy thanks to the “foresight” in the Maximilianeum. Otherwise: there is currently no car on the market for which I would shut down my Saab - and there is there is also none in sight.

  • This article gets to the heart of the Saab Spirit really nicely!
    Even if there are “only” 10 Saab for me and the years of construction with ´66 to ´96 are much older, the fascination is the same.

    Thanks for this nice article!

  • @ Helga Fassbinder,

    great comment on a great post. It would be nice if both were “only” applicable to private transport ...

    But the contribution and comment are so good precisely because they exemplarily grasp and address a larger and universal problem.

    Incredible what we would save in energy and resources if you think about the positive example

  • Hello, I think you live in Vienna too. There is a small Saab meeting in Skalica in Slovakia on January 11th from 10 a.m. about 90 minutes from Vienna.

  • What a great report! Thanks a lot for this! I call that passion!
    I've reduced my Saab from seven to four in the past 12 months. A mistake? Yes, actually. The Viggen limousine (5 doors) and the 95NG are already regretting me. At least one of them needs to be restored, but where to find it?

    The Knopf family continues to enjoy and accident-free kms with your great Saab!

  • Great passion for saabs, and it's nice that you can save so many saabs and keep using them. We would also have liked to keep our old 9-5I and would probably have done so if I had known all the Saab experts back then.

  • When is a Saab a Saab?

    The Swedish (kilometer) royal reading pleasure (1.000 thanks to the multi-million dollar author) touches this question with the conciliatory answer for all Saabs and their owners: Every Saab is a Saab.

    But when is a Saab driver a Saab driver?

    The author is one. Through and through and without a doubt. But am I one too? So much concentrated competence and the size of the vehicle fleet set the bar very, very high. With all the joy of reading the article, you can also develop inferiority complexes 😉 ...

  • Insane? Matter of opinion. Enthusiasm and actually being outside of the MainStream is also true. If someone says to me I'm crazy again, I'll take that as a compliment and like to invite him over for a beer. So Fam. Button crazy is good. But you already know that.
    Since my collection is more in the “last edition” area (9-5 NG (also an X, that has to be), 9-4x, Turbo X, 9-3 Cabrio) I can add one or two cars to the feeling To understand only, Fam. Knopf (luckily) seems to have endless garage spaces.
    And yes, what is the real Saab? Had a 900, 99 with sunroof, 9-5 aero, 9-3 I, 9-3 II which were unfortunately all given due to signs of aging. Was that a mistake?
    I have now fixed my son with Saab (well maybe he just thinks Saab better than nothing 🙂 and now I find the 9-3 Anniversary really chic again. But a 9-3x or a well-preserved 9-5 aero (only with leather and sunroof) I could still imagine. Crazy?

  • Great contribution! Not only because of the wonderful overview of the many facets of the Saab world, but also because of its oh so apt and important statement about sustainability in private traffic. How much smarter would we be to drive our good pieces to their inevitable real end of life, instead of obeying the demands of politics and the auto industry to plunge into a further 'adaptation' of individual transport by buying new ...

  • Yes, that's apt: "I get dizzy from all the Saab!" 🙂 What an admirable job and great attitude and lived sustainability. Chapeau! That is true “love” and devotion to very special cars that unfortunately no longer exist (are built) today. In a nutshell: “Form follows function” or “Concentration on the essentials”.

    And, as wonderfully described in this glorious report, the Saabs fully return love and care to their drivers, fellow travelers and owners.

    What fascinates me again and again is the unanimous praise for the 9000s. I never had them on the list as the “real” Saabs - because of the wrongly placed ignition lock (yes, yes, I know, a bit crazy). But my desire has been awakened for a long time because of all the enthusiastic reports on the blog, so I'll be looking for an opportunity to take a test drive, probably on my next visit to Kiel. 🙂

    But, hand on heart, dear Button family, at least one more Saab is still missing in your fleet, isn't it? Driving an open Saab is an incredibly happy feeling! The Saab convertibles are still the most beautiful, most elegant, most stylish, most comfortable and most successful convertibles on our roads. Spring is coming, so don't be afraid! 😉

  • I get really dizzy from the SAAB! 🙂
    A very special (fan) report.
    Thank you for these technically emotional insights. After this report it is also clear that every SAAB has its “authorization”. Each model has its specialties. Adorable.
    But it also shows that lovers have to invest a lot of time ..., lovers without time and knowledge the euros.
    Mobility with cars just costs.
    Sunny Sunday!
    Family Knopf always a good trip; all other SAABians also 😉

  • As soon as I started reading, I felt that the nice person “must” be behind it, who conjured up a big smile on my face with his yellow-blue button card and the invitation to the regulars' table in Glashütten, when I (back then) picked up my '97 9000CSE 2.3 Turbo at the commuter parking lot near Münchberg after a working week. Great thing - the card and even more your activities yourself! Thank you!

    If you ever “strand” the A9 on the way north around Hermsdorfer and Schkeuditzer Kreuz, contact me: 0160 772 5663. You will then be helped 🙂

    Best regards!

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