Exclusive and noble. The Saab 9-3 Deauville Cabriolets give an idea of where the development of Saab could have gone. They get their name from a glamorous French seaside resort. But that steers the track in the wrong direction. Because contrary to what the name suggests, the exclusive series is a purely Swiss matter.
Deauville - small and sophisticated
Deauville is located in the heart of Normandy on the Côte Fleurie, the flower coast. The city enchants with a marina, a horse racing track and sophisticated villas from a bygone era. The heyday of the seaside resort began about 100 years ago with the opening of the casino and two luxury hotels.
Deauville became a meeting place for industrialists, artists and fashion designers. Well-known personalities such as Yves Saint Laurent, Coco Channel and Andre Citroën were guests. A bit of Deauville shine for Saab too. That could have been Hirsch Performance's idea. In 1999 the Deauville series celebrated its premiere at the Geneva Motor Show.
Limited to 99 copies, each of which can be recognized by a number on the glove compartment lid. In this case, the lid could sound disrespectful. Because Hirsch refined the interior with many specially made parts made of mahogany wood. Mahogany with inlays was found on the glove box, on the door handles and of course on the dashboard.
Is that still a Saab?
Even the door sills are made of solid mahogany. With Deauville lettering and if you didn't pay attention when getting in, you ruined the expensive work. Since the Swiss never tended to half measures, there were also special leather inlays in the doors to round it off.
The interior was finished. And you asked yourself, is it still a Saab, or is it going in a much higher direction? An impression that was probably intended.
Hirsch rims in 17 ″ format and a lowering set rounded off the appearance. Black lacquer and a beige leather interior exuded a sophisticated nobility. There was a special Saab 9-3 Deauville Prospectus for the Swiss market and probably most of the 99 copies remained in the Confederation.
Sophisticated price of the Saab 9-3 Deauville
The price was also sophisticated. Hirsch wanted to see CHF 61.900 in the account. At that time, the equivalent of DM 75.647 was hefty for a 150 hp turbo, which could be breathed in a little more hp for an extra charge. For comparison: For this money you got an open 328 with additional equipment and a serious six-cylinder from BMW.
The CHF 13.500 that a Swiss car dealership is asking for a Saab 9-3 Deauville Cabriolet seems downright cheap. Number 95 of 99 copies is in a beautiful, well-kept original condition. Its mileage is manageable at 77.000 kilometers. The open Saab still exudes exclusivity today.
It is suitable as an investment or as a dignified convertible for a trip to Deauville in the summer. Then when we have survived the corona pandemic.
A customer of the dealership also saw it that way. Because no sooner was the post written than the Saab was sold. Good vehicles have no downtime.
With pictures from Küng Classics