Japanese Swede in Schleswig-Holstein - Saab 9000 CD

I actually didn't need it, the Saab 9000 CD. I had just sold a 9000 CC with the firm intention of reducing the vehicle fleet a little. Many of you know what is coming from personal experience. After it was possible for me to buy my first Saab from the mid-2000s (901 convertible as a good weather alternative to the practical station wagon) and the Swedish fleet has been slowly but steadily expanded since then, did I find myself by chance - or not by chance? - an advertisement for a 9000 CD.

Japanese Swede in Schleswig-Holstein
Japanese Swede in Schleswig-Holstein

Japan import with 50.000 kilometers

A Saab 9000 CD with its traditional limousine trunk is not necessarily the typical Saab. It also does not necessarily trigger this “will-have reflex”. When it comes to the brand from Trollhättan, many think more about the practical hatchback. Four-door or also like two-door. The Saab 9000 was not considered a fully fledged Saab by many in the Saab community anyway. However, the qualities of the 9000 as a long-distance vehicle and family car are legendary - just at home on long distances. In recent years, the scene has rightly closed the “big car” from Trollhättan to the Saab heart. However, the majority of the CC or CS / CSE hatchback variant.

Back to the ad of a Hamburg dealer: Japan import, 2,3 liter turbo with automatic, year of manufacture 92. Left-hand drive, very good equipment as is common in Japanese versions of European manufacturers. Just over 50.000 km mileage, complete vehicle documentation including service reports in Japanese. I had to take a closer look. There are actually no 9000s with this mileage. As was to be expected, it was not limited to just looking at it. Test drive made, no significant defects found or notes that make the reported KM level doubt and after the obligatory night to think about it then saved the CD for the collection.

In between another one of my employees who is stationed in Tokyo, asked the favor to contact the service company in Japan. From there, the KM status and freedom from accidents were confirmed. Purchase and install another contemporary radio because the Japanese JVC device built for Saab is not compatible with the European frequency system, and the fun could begin.

If the 9000 CD, like my other Saabs, was initially only moved in the beautiful season, it now has to meet a different requirement profile. It is just so much fun to drive the car that it has been declared an everyday and family car. In order to make the decision consistent, I did not renew the leasing contract for the company car type "very fast diesel combi for the left lane", which expired in March 2019.

I don't have to build a new car anymore

In addition to the fun factor of the CD, the decisive factor for the decision for me was the conviction that I no longer had to build a new car. In addition to the conviction to travel short distances by bike, this is my small contribution to resource conservation.

Yes, the CD is not a new car, but also much further away from the classic car status when driving than the year of manufacture would suggest and expect. The low mileage so far certainly helps here. Chassis and seats are tight and show no signs of fatigue. Only the characteristics of the automatic and the wind noise when driving faster reveal the age. But I don't see that as a lack, but even as an opportunity. Cruise control set to 120-130 km / h, enjoy every ride and still not arrive at your destination much later.

Only the long vacation trips to southern France and southern England made in 2019 were not made on CD, but we used grandson 9-5NG. Not that we don't trust him, but after 1.500 km in a row (except for fuel breaks, of course) you get out a little more relaxed. In addition, more luggage fits in and the interior is again a very good deal larger. Arguments on holiday trips that should not be underestimated.

A positive conclusion after about a year

After a little over a year now that the 9000 CD functions as an everyday vehicle (the months since March 2020, the vehicle was hardly driven due to the corona measures and strong home office), I draw a very positive conclusion. Apart from a quickly solved problem with the cooling water thermostats and a defective lambda sensor, there have been no technical issues so far. The air conditioning system will have to be refilled soon in order to achieve full cooling performance again. With a driving profile of 80% city traffic, fuel consumption averages 12,5 liters.

You can already tell the age and the motor-automatic combination, which is not so efficient compared to today's technology. The gain in fun and also serenity in traffic by the 9000CD is worth the additional consumption of maybe 2,5 liters compared to a modern mid-range car. Although the car can also be moved quickly, it does not encourage it to do so.

As the last Saab meetings (unfortunately not in 2020) showed, the CD is on the rise and is leaving its wallflower existence. I can understand this trend very well, since it offers the full load of Saab 9000 when driving, as can the hatchback variant. That the CD is the nicer 9000 seems to me to be a daring thesis.

In any case, in my opinion, the design with the traditional trunk supports the upper class ambitions back then, which Saab pursued with the 9000. If you do not need transport flexibility for family or hardware store every day, you can drive well with the CD and, due to the smaller quantities, even more exclusively than with the CC / CS / CSE models.

Actually I didn't need it, the Saab 9000 CD - and I'm very happy that it found its way from Japan to Schleswig-Holstein.

Text & pictures: Marc Naruga

13 thoughts on "Japanese Swede in Schleswig-Holstein - Saab 9000 CD"

  • Saab dealers initially saw the CD as a “diplomatic” vehicle, possibly because of the 901, which could also be officially ordered as a CD as an extended special model. The Saab engineers, however, named it back in 1987 as "Classic Design"; I still doubt whether this is the official name of the abbreviation, but it would correspond to the collaboration with “Ital-Design” at the time, because the basis of the 9k comes from the then brand new Lancia Thema, which was known as Sedan and effectively the dimensions des 9k CD matched; later followed the theme station wagon, which was created on the basis of the sedan. Some pioneering Saab engineers wanted a tailgate, after the positive success of the 99 + 901 as a Combi-Coupé, so the 9k, like the 901er a few years earlier, was first presented as a CC, but the 9k-CC as a slightly shortened version the original Sedan study. The 2k CD only officially followed 3-9 years later, as presented in Tom's report, although the technical drawings of the 9k sedan based on the Lancia theme were already available in the early 80s, but only became up-to-date again in the mid-80s. At that time there were internally divided opinions, who liked to look out for a station wagon study, like in the style of the former successful Saab-95 during the 60 / 70s, first on the basis of the 9k-CC, immediately afterwards on the basis of the 9k-CD , but, as is well known, without success, because all these combination studies from the 80s to the early 90s were unfortunately never officially presented. The same problems existed with the 901 station wagon. Rumors at the time spoke about a lack of financial resources, although some competitive voices that were not heard also described this study as a future success. If I'm not mistaken, those 9k projects didn't make their way to the Saab Museum in the behind-the-scenes warehouse either; the station wagon based on 9k CC must have been sold internally and was presented in a magazine several years ago! During the Jubilee Day 1987 (open day at the Saab plant in Trollhatten) such a model was hidden under sheets, unfortunately in a room that was inaccessible to the public. At that time we had done everything to take which photos, but who knows which end these photos took. On the other hand, based on the CD, a sporty 2-door version was officially presented to the public immediately afterwards, but unfortunately this concept vehicle, like many others, never went into series production, what a shame. But the 9k-CS made a well-known story.

    As a 9k owner I was on the road for x-thousands of km with the CC-Sport + CS-Aero bodies, but the Sedan version is the one that appeals to me the most visually and in terms of driving experience. So I allowed myself to convert my current 2 CD's (DeLuxe predecessor from Griffin + Carlsson with B234R engine including Hirsch tuning) to aero equipment.

  • @ Ken-Daniel S,

    Thanks for the info. It's funny from the driver's point of view.

    A possible explanation for the 9K CD and the Bentley could be the occasional or permanent use of a chauffeur.

    This fits the high status of left-hand drive vehicles in Japanese left-hand traffic. The chauffeur is faster at the door of his employer.

    A nice idea that in Japan the CD, as a status symbol, may even have been on the road with a chauffeur ...

    The 900 turbo convertible from Japan that I know is bizarre, however. You really want to drive that yourself. But it is still a left-hand drive ...

    But the previous owner is said to have been politically and socially relevant. Perhaps it is fitting to have the driver on the left without a chauffeur, to open the door to the entrance from the bell boy and to be accompanied by an umbrella, depending on the weather?

    Anyway, a Saab from Japan is always special and guaranteed to have a special story. Congratulations again to the reader & author on his 9K. I would like to read the stories that the car has collected itself ...

    Too bad the boxes can't talk.

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  • So the Jaguars I saw in Japan had the steering wheel on the right side. The one Bentley Bentayga I had seen had the steering wheel on the left.

  • A short time ago on the B432 in front of me and now on the blog 😀 A great car and a nice post that I can only agree with. The 9000 CD is simply a damn great vehicle in both face variants. Incredibly comfortable and absolutely reliable as a daily Dailydriver. Simply a beautiful Saab that really didn't deserve its (previous) wallflower existence.

  • @ The Lizi,

    that is also interesting and exciting. Thank you.

    Does anyone know if there are even left-hand drive cars in Japan?
    It would be absurd from our point of view, but it could be if the status of the car and driver is determined by the position of the steering wheel.

    In any case, the leap from Swedish or German to British left-hand drive vehicles is not far. Right-hand drive or left-hand drive vehicles were finally available from the vast majority of internationally traded models in recent decades.

    Unfortunately, I've never been there (Japan), but I'm fascinated and curious. The status of British left-hand drive cars (if they exist in Japan) is of great interest to me ...

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  • Sorry, the automatic spelling ... It applies ...

  • @ Ken-Daniel S,

    thank you. That is interesting. Maybe there is a split in Japan into inexpensive gray imports (left-hand drive vehicles) and the official export versions of foreign brands?

    You know the same in D, but the gray imports rarely have the steering wheel on the “wrong” side ...

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  • It brought a European left-hand drive in Japan as a status symbol. That is why the cars are well maintained and maintained above average.
    Greeting.
    The Lizi

  • Congratulations on the Saab, according to the motto, you don't need another Saab, you have another Saab

  • Despite the traffic on the left and the steering wheel on the right, there are many cars in Japan, mainly German premium brands that have the steering wheel on the left. It's the same with the Saabs, although in Japan, when I saw a Saab, the steering wheel was on the right side.

  • Great contribution, thanks for that. And a great car !! I actually found the 9000 cd always more beautiful than the cs models. Even if the latter is more practical.

  • Great reading pleasure. Thank you very much, Mr Naruga.

    And congratulations on the beautiful left-hand drive vehicle with low mileage. A question of understanding:

    I know that left-hand traffic applies in Japan, but I have already encountered several Saab imports from J in Germany. All left hand drive.

    Are these the needles in the haystack of right-hand drive vehicles that deliberately go to continental Europe or the USA, or are Saabs in J often even left-hand drive vehicles? Perhaps due to the import routes and sales structures?
    Do you know what?

    Either way, thank you again and always have a good trip with this unusual everyday vehicle. Big Saab cinema ...

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  • Nice report about a special Saab model. I can only say good choice.
    I recognize myself in some passages in the report. I also constantly have Saab and I could, if I could, put another Saab in the barn every month.
    There are currently some very good offers on the Internet. Just, do you need another Saab? Not really, unless ... well, many of you feel the same way.

    Have a good trip with the great piece!

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