I rarely get excited, because when it comes to cars, I have everything. Including prototypes and pre-series. But now I'm a little nervous. And careful. In front of me is one of 27 Saab 9-5 NG sports suits from the pre-series. In addition, one of only two surviving right-hand drive vehicles. A unique piece, a de facto new car, with a little over 6.000 kilometers on the odometer.
The equipment level? A linear. The offer for Swedish company car drivers. If the station wagons had gone into series production, the linear version would have become the Passat among the Saabs. For the tax a friendly basic price, on which you could have packed everything that was good and expensive. There was more than enough of this in the price list.
Unfortunately, Saab failed to do this with this vehicle. Fabric seats, the green display in the center console. It all looks very budget-oriented. Stop, stop says Markus. The control buttons on the steering wheel are an extra. The seat heating and the automatic too. At least. I let Markus take the wheel, the thing with the one-off is too delicate for me. Today I am a passenger, rapporteur.
Surprisingly high quality
The Saab of course has its own story. He was bought at the KvD Aktion 2013 by a Saab fan from North America. Actually, he should have gone across the pond in the container, which turned out to be much more difficult than hoped for. The import to the USA turned out to be impossible because Saab would never have homologated the 9-5 NG sports suit there. The station wagon stranded in Kiel, and its owner flew in at regular intervals to drive Saab again. That went well for a few years, at some point reason won out, the one-off piece was released for sale.
We are now driving through Kiel. The 160 PS diesel is not uncomfortable, the automatic shift does a good job. A unique piece. A new car that smells and feels that way. Everything as if the Saab came from Sweden yesterday, coming from Sweden. A journey through time that takes place beyond any reality. Moving us back to 2012, which didn't even exist because the lights were out in Trollhättan. Crazy, and crazy, is how the station wagon behaves. It is assembled by hand, pre-series as I said, and yet it has a remarkable level of maturity. Nothing rattles when we roll over cobblestones, nothing indicates that this vehicle is no longer in production if Saab still existed.
Would the sales force have been happy with it? The station wagon is larger on the outside than on the inside. Unusual for Saab, but the length of more than 5 meters is not noticeable in the space available. On the other hand, there is really more than enough of everything and a high level of comfort for long tours. Difficult to say what would have been if the Swedes had really tried to conquer the fleet market. In case of doubt, it would have been the leasing rate that mattered.
Saab 9-5 NG TiD Linear sport combination - unique piece and last new car
And today? What do you do with such a unique piece? In theory, you could drive it in everyday life. It feels ripe and confident that there is no doubt. On the other hand, you always have beads of sweat on your forehead if the person behind doesn't keep enough distance. It is enough that the mom walks past with the stroller. Or grandpa with the rollator. The worrying look then scans the car and its surroundings, completely unfounded. Actually permanent. This is not for people with high blood pressure. Because in case of doubt, spare parts would be rare - and also expensive. Markus Lafrentz takes care of it. Around 27 survivors, in painstaking detail work, use long-term connections worldwide to find what is actually not there.
So the one-off, in budget configuration, has an uncertain perspective. You can convert it so that the steering wheel is on the “right” side. You can enrich your equipment, pack a little more luxury. No problem, says Markus. It's all a question of money and patience. But do you want that? Shouldn't a piece of history be kept as it is?
I am undecided when we are on the Company yard Roll out. A journey through time to the Saab year 2012 that never existed. The trip was special, it gave goosebumps and sentimental. I don't want to come up with a final word about this car. Because it's unique, because you should put it away and not. Because it has retained its charm as a new car, it is a time capsule, because using it would destroy it. And because you should move cars. Actually.