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.
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