Hirsch Dreams – that’s what I’ll be having this evening (with apologies to my wife if she’s reading this…..)
I’m still in Melbourne and today I spent a very interesting day with Jeff B, owner of these 2 beauties, as well as three other magnificent Saabs. If you downloaded the July 2006 calendar, then you’ve seen all the ponies in his stable. Today we were minus the 900 and 9000 Aero, but that still left plenty to talk about – a 1966 Saab 96, a nicely worked 9-3 Viggen and the truly sublime 9-5 Hirsch.
And yes, Jeff was kind enough to let me take a spin in all three.
I started with the Viggen. It’s got pretty much all the tweaks that I’m looking to do with mine. The Abbott Racing rescue kit, lowered springs, filters and the Nordic Uhr ECU. I was particularly keen to take a drive and see the effects of the rescue kit, which were significant to say the least. The rescue kit has all but eliminated the torque steer and the steering itself feels a bit more direct. No noticible detraction from the ride quality that I could tell, despite the car being lowered around 30mm at the front and 45mm at the back. Impressive to say the least.
Next we gave the Hirsch a run, and Wow! What a magnificent vehicle.
There is now way on earth that you’d hand this over to an unfamiliar driver and have them accurately tell you what sort of engine was in it.
This car is a total beast. Acceleration in mammoth doses. More feedback than Iron Maiden and Remy Shand smooth. Jeff’s done a little cosmetic work to really make it look the part as well. The 19″ wheels left me a little uninspired when I first saw the photo, but in the metal they add a fair bit of meat to what is already a quite aggressive looking car.
It seems wherever I go there’s a 9-5 taunting me these days.
Finally, whilst I was speaking to the Mrs on the phone, Jeff pushed the 96 out of the garage.
I’d admired this car indoors, but it was only in the full light of day that I could appreciate how incredibly detailed Jeff’s restoration really is. This car took 2 years or so to restore and one look will tell you it was a labour of love. I didn’t take a lot of photos today, but will hopefully get some from Jeff in the near future. All I’ll say for now is that the 96 is totally spotless.
Driving it was a blast too. My first time driving a 2-stroker. It was a fair challenge as it seemed to freewheel whenever you weren’t accelerating, meaning that you had to get your cornering line sorted early and actually give it a little in order to re-engage the gearing and apply a little engine braking. Magnificent stuff.
I’d like to thank Jeff for a truly entertaining and enlightening day. I learned a heck of a lot.
Another photo here, and a few more after the jump.