How to pi$$ off a buyer…..

Remember the other day when I said I was 99.9% sure that I’d purchased a new vehicle??

Well, the 0.1% reared it’s ugly head.

I’d had the vehicle checked out – seemed OK. I’d arranged the money – all went OK.

My final check today was to get a Vehicle Information Package from VicRoads (i.e. Dept of Transport) and check that there were no financial incumbrances on the car.

Luckily for me, the VIP also includes lots of other little tidbits of information, such as THE FACT THAT THE 1999 9-3 VIGGEN I’VE BEEN DREAMING ABOUT FOR THE LAST 3 DAYS HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY ENTERED ONTO THE “WRITTEN OFF VEHICLES REGISTER”!!!!!!

Talk about pissed off. I’m fuming!

Here’s it is…..


Looks nice, but apparently not so. It might be a really good repair job. It LOOKS like a really good repair job, but a previously written off vehicle is not what I’m looking for when extending my mortgage to buy a car.

I should be happy: I just spent $23 to save $23,000. Somehow the happiness just hasn’t sunk in yet though.


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  1. What a shame, sorry to hear about the unexpected twist. Although you and your family are obviously better off for it…… who knows what kind of damages that vehicle had seen. Yeah whoever decided to repair that Viggen must have spent a few pretty penny …. it does look factory clean from the pics at least.

    Not familiar with Aussie DOT regulations, is this Viggen legitimately restored after being written off ? In other words, does it meet some kind of minimum standards for safety and performance ? I’m concerned about the next buyer who may not check the history out as rigorously as you had and fall into a trap.

    Here in BC, laws are pretty strict for private individuals and independent dealers to abide by in terms of declaring mechanical history, accident history, liens etc. And even if they are not honest, it’s easy to crosscheck their VINs with our BC Motor Vehicles Branch and our public insurance agency, ICBC.

    Well I’m sure your next candidate will come up cleaner than this one. Good luck !

  2. I does look really, really clean. You should see the interior shots. Clean as a whistle!! It passed an inspection from a local Saab workshop in Melbourne. But $23K is a heck of a lot of money to spend on a previous write off. Plus, when I first enquired about the car, I asked if it had an accident history and the seller told me that yeah, it had been in a very minor bingle.

    Minor bingle, my butt! The writeoff register records heavy structural damage to both the driver and passenger side front-end.

    A guy dumps the BS on you like that – can’t trust him.

    Anyway, what’s done is done. I’m disappointed but better off for knowing about it. It was certainly an aspirational vehicle. The next one I’m looking at isn’t a Viggen, but it’s still pretty good and in some ways more suited to me anyway.

  3. Awe, Swade! That is such a bummer. The car is a beaut!

    I had the SAME experience here in the states. I had picked out a nice 9-3 that was immaculate inside and out. It was a dark blue four door hatch from the last production year. I took it to my Benz mechanic. He looked it over and said it appeared sound without any of the tell tale signs of an accident.

    Lucky for me I ran a vehicle report on the VIN and low and behold… it had a salvage title. YUCK. It had also failed emissions recently. DOUBLE YUCK. I didn’t walk away from that… I mean I ran!

    Best of luck in finding your 9-3. I’m anxious to see the pics once you finally nail something down.

  4. I can just imagine the seller as you take it for a test drive…..

    ” nah mate thats not pulling to the left, thats just the torque-steer, all these viggens do that.” :p

    The other problem of course, is that its blue, not black or silver….but i digress…

  5. Hi,

    That’s quite a bummer I guess. But at least you have a great story to tell on birthdays!
    At the moment I’m thinking of buying a Saab Classic 900S GRIFFIN 3D. It’s got LowPressureTurbo and it runs on LPG (propane??). It’s got some good milage though, 425.000 kilometers (I’m from Europe, sorry). Anyone knows something about the type?


  6. I bought a 1988 9000 turbo with a salvage title, and drove it for the next 11 years — put 130,000 miles on it.

    The difference, of course, that the salvage title was disclosed up front, and the price reflected that. I paid $8700 for the car — an awfully low price for a five-year old car with 34k miles.

    I would not be afraid of a salvage title resulting from a front end accident. Especially as you have had the car inspected. If it tracks straight, has no frame damage, etc., all that has happened is that someone repaired it themselves without paying standard labor rates — and they’re hoping to recoup the cost of their labor in the sale price.

    But I wouldn’t pay more than about 2/3rd of the “non-salvage” market value for that model of car. If the price were 16-17k, would you still be interested? I’d bet he won’t sell at that price, because he’s still looking for a buyer who will ignorantly pay full price.

  7. Hey guys, I’m new here. Swade, I love the site. I’ve been watching and reading your posts for a couple of months now, but never managed to make an ID and comment.

    I’m a youngen, with a hand-me-down 1986 900s 16v (NO TURBO, bummer) at least it’s stick. Even at this age, I love Saabs. My fathers been a saab enthusiast most of his life, with his 99s and what not. Haha, i guess im following in his footsteps. Their is also a 1999 9-5 linear in the family.

    I’m sorry about your 0.1% occurance. That really is a bummer. I know this may not help you feel any better, but a friend of mine actually just purchused a Viggen. His previous vehicle was a late 1998 (i think) 318 [C]i . I bugged the lad so much about a Saab as his next vehicle, he finally took out our 9-5 for a drive.

    He enjoyed the car quite a bit, especially considering he was a BMW guy. He was quite schocked when I told him he was driving only the 170hp version of the car. And before we knew it, he found himself a 2001 9-3 Viggen. It’s black. Surprisingly, coming from a BMW, he told me he noticed almost no torque-steer at all on the Viggen.

    1 down… who-knows-how-many to go. Do I get any extra points for influencing a BMW -> SAAB conversion?

    I already asking my friend to sell the car to me…

  8. Fonze, the Griffin was the “all the bells and whistles” model and should be fully loaded. I’ve only ever seen 1 or 2 down here and both had very high mileage.

    Greg, the guy emailed me last night and sent me the ‘before’ photos. They didn’t look all that bad, to be honest. He’s become negotiable again all of a sudden too. If the car checks out for repairs and he’ll take $19K or thereabouts then I’d maybe be interested again, providing I can insure it. That’s another thing all together. A lot of insurance companies here in Oz won’t touch a vehicle that’s been put on the writeoff register.

    The saga continues…..

  9. Saaboy, big kudos to you for following your father’s wisdom and esp for converting one of ‘the enemy’!! Like you say, 1 down but plenty to go….

  10. Fonze,

    Saabs are not your average mainstream car and an LPG 3 door griffin is not your average SAAB! A niche within a niche?
    As swade points out, it should have every option possible at that time. How does it drive?

  11. I didn’t pick up on the 3D meaning 3-door and I don’t think it’s possible. As far as I know the Griffin was a 9000 only model and there weren’t any 3-door 9000’s that I know of. I’m more than happy to be corrected with a photo though.

  12. Further to my tracked-back comments on my blog:

    Shannon’s might insure a written off car, especially if you show them the before pics. As I’m sure you know, Swade, writing a car off is about money, not about damage. Perhaps the insurer wrote the car off because it was a “weird” European car.

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