The long way to the first Saab

I've been a fan of Trollhättan vehicles for a long time. A red 9000 was one of my highlights in my toy box.
But somehow it never happened. For a long time, the fleet was more Italian. Particularly striking examples were a black Lancia Y with beige leather and later a blue Lancia Lybra station wagon with a quirky, beautiful blue Alcantara chair.

The long way to the first Saab. Here he is!
The long way to the first Saab. Here he is!

The latter always had problems with its camshaft phaser, but ran reliably and was then passed on in the family. After a Peugeot partner that I liked to drive for a long time, I realized that I wanted to call something "old" my own. I bought a silver Mercedes 700E for 190 EUR. An iconic and grateful vehicle that was very sympathetic to my family and me. After 2 years the very limited space bothered me, too, even though the trunk was so big that everything was actually stowed away. Unfortunately, the huge loading compartment was not completely dry.

What could replace the old master from Stuttgart? - It didn't take long to think about it, but the search did.

It should be a Swede! The vehicles from the north have always been so close to me. So we searched - wherever there were used cars.

Between Hamburg and the Danish border, all vehicles were found that approximately met the desired criteria.

There was also a Saab: a green 9-3 Coupe from 1998 with the indestructible 2.0 vacuum cleaner. A chic car. A test drive including a test drive of the German shepherd Risto in the hatchback was arranged on a rainy Saturday in Hamburg.

Unfortunately, the condition of this Saab was rather poor. Violent rust on the window frame and in the wheel arches - in addition, a young salesman who is uncomfortable with negotiations and unwilling to negotiate. Too bad. Then it became a Volvo. A first generation black V70. 98er year of construction, 2.5 liters with 144 HP and the wonderful 5 cylinder with only 225.000 km on the speedometer.
In Flensburg they agreed and so he moved in for 2.100 EUR with a new TÜV.

Unfortunately, I had to invest at least the same amount again in the first repairs over the next few weeks: radiator, drive shaft and a lot more. But the following years he was a loyal companion.

But even during this time, my soft spot for Saab didn't leave me alone.

A regular ritual for me has been reading the great Saab blog every day. How I would just like to have a Saab. How gladly ... Everything was soaked up, all reports gobbled up, every long encounter on the road thrown longing looks.

And again the stock exchanges were turned inside out on the net. A Saab was needed - but which one? I needed insider tips, I needed help.

I knew Justus from the Saab blog - his videos under the title “Saab-Trip” had been my pastime quite often. So in short: I wrote to him - via Instagram! We quickly got into conversation and the choice turned out to be a stroke of luck! For weeks, every search result of the car exchanges was exchanged, discussed, evaluated via Whatsapp between Darmstadt and Dithmarschen. Justus was never tired of answering my questions, giving me help in making a decision.

A silver 9-3 was near his home. For me a good 400 km away, he spontaneously offered to visit and drive the car for me. Incomprehensible! Someone is making an effort - great effort! And without ever having seen each other in person ?! This is Saab! These are the Saab fans! You are right here.

Justus contacted the dealer - but the dealer refused to sell the pretty 2.0t with automatic to private individuals. The wonderful car was supposed to be exported - shouldn't that be true? What world ?!

In the meantime, there was another contact to a Saab victim via Instagram to Austria. Florian also gave everything so that I could get my first Saab soon.

Far away in the east of Germany there was a model that I particularly liked. A 9-3, built in 1999, 2.0t SE in blue with beige leather. The buyer sends me several videos of the vehicle due to the long distance of over 400 km - everything seemed OK!

The Saab was second hand and up to the mileage of 221.000KM maintained checkbooks, a long time of which at Saab in Berlin.

I thought the best conditions.

On site after several hours of driving, it was agreed that the car shone and the condition corresponded to the previous exchange.

I went home with a big smile on my face. I was happy.

Transport of the Saab on the trailer.
Transport of the Saab on the trailer.

Then the shock on the highway! After approx. 40 KM of complaint-free driving, the speed hit through to the stop. I had no more propulsion. It also started to stink terribly. Later our assumption came true: the clutch was used up… That shouldn't be true. Incomprehensible. We were somewhere in the east on the highway.

Fortunately, the parents accompanied us and dragged us to the next place.

The ADAC confirmed the defective clutch and after a long time we decided to leave the new acquisition in the east in order to pick it up with a trailer in the next few days. What a hassle. At least a good 430 KM one way. Said and done. Now I have my Saab at home with a new clutch for a week.

As is well known, a car starts with A and ends with O. A wheel bearing logs on quietly and the drive shaft on the front right has been cracking slowly for 2 days. I still love him. The whole family does this. My wife is so in love that she now wants to make her dream come true: a Saab 900 I!

But of course only with the help of Justus and Florian.

Text and images: Stefan Hennings

10 thoughts on "The long way to the first Saab"

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    OK, I'll keep my fingers crossed ...

    ... and I know this annoying topic, I lost a 9-3 I to an opposing insurance company through no fault of my own.

    If at least the contributions were fair, but no, you pay for the damage a Saab could cause to a new Bentley. Conversely, the owner of a new Bentley only has to pay as much liability as it needs to cover the current value of whatever….

    Liability in Germany is not mature from a social or ecological point of view. But anyway, I wish you a good start in the Saab world.

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    Thank you very much, dear Herbert.
    Unfortunately, with our old vehicles there is quickly a "risk" of total economic damage, which may make it difficult to carry out a full repair without your own financial effort. Keep your fingers crossed and wait for the appraiser.

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    @ Stephan H.

    Such stupid crap. Hopefully the damage is cosmetic?

    The article was basically a first part. The long way to your own Saab continues and ends with a successful worming cure ...

    Maybe we will read part 2 here soon? In any case, I wish Saab & driver all the best.

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    Moin, I would have known!
    Somehow, however, the worm is still in there, first the defects and now an old man has driven into my side this morning.

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    So you are the one who bought the Saab away from us in Pasewalk;).
    Have fun with the Saab. Have two themselves. A Saab 9-3 II sedan and 9-3I convertible in the cool color cosmic blue. Come directly from MV. Could have looked at the saabine together 😉

    SG Thomas

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    Welcome to the Saab family Stefan! A very nice report, I'm sure Saab number 2 won't be long in coming. Anyone who drives Saab doesn't like anything else.

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    A very nice 9-3 I in the beautiful midnight blue metallic! Congratulation! Friends of mine in the neighborhood of the happy owner, also in Dithmarschen, have (still!) A 98 9-3 I convertible in the same color. When I received this very spontaneously in the summer of 2001 for three weeks of “care” during her vacation, it was all over me! Just as spontaneously, I drove openly over the bridges to Copenhagen and Malmö in wonderful weather to visit a nice young man there. 😉 Below the blue Baltic Sea, spotted with white sailing ships, above the sparkling blue sky and in between me in a blue Saab convertible with a shift dress and a cream-colored Grace Kelly headscarf, uneven from the ingenious plum plum of the stereo system! Oh, that was something! The young man was soon gone, but such a Saab convertible was needed! It was the first time I sat in a Saab on this trip and the convertible was pure enjoyment!

    In 2003 the time had come and I was able to replace my (of course dark blue) boring Golf ĢTD with a year-old car, 9-3 I convertible, turbo with 150 hp in - well - of course, midnight blue metallic with a blue top. In the hot summer of 2003 I was in southern England for a month, wonderful! I kept this dream car until I received the new car I ordered in 2007 - a 9-3 II Cabrio TiD in beautiful sapphire blue metallic with beige seats and a 300 watt system (awesome sound!). I also loved this beauty very much. Saying goodbye was difficult at first when I wanted a gasoline engine again, but was made much easier for me in 2018 by my new beauty queen: A 2012 Griffin Bio Power convertible with 210 hp, my racehorse called “Black Beauty” with an even nicer interior ! And since you have to take care of such a rare beauty, in 2019 she got a sister named “Cassiopeia” (I took the name from the previous owner at the same time), a 2011 9-3 II SportCombi TTiD in - well - of course nocturn blue metallic ! Also a stroke of luck! I have never experienced any disappointments or problems with any of these pieces of jewelry - both run like clockwork!

    Greetings to Dithmarschen, where my friends have been driving my personal Ursaab for over 20 years, which they have just overhauled at Lafrentz on my recommendation. This convertible had “infected” me, it was love at first sight - since then nothing else than Saab has come into my garage! 🙂

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    Many thanks to both of you!

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    It's beautiful. It's also nice that there are still people who see a clutch as a regular wear part ...

    In the birthplace of scrapping, exchange bonuses, etc., one is almost happy when not every second citizen interprets a new starter battery or even just an empty tank as an economic total loss.

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    Mutual help is what makes Saabige so special. I also know both of these Saab drivers.
    Congratulations on the first and hopefully the second Saab.


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