Carlsson vs 900

Further to the Viggen Update below, these are the two cars I’m looking at. Well, almost.

This IS the C900 that I’m looking at. It’s owned by a guy in Sydney and knowing him, it’s in absolutely tip-top condition. It’s a 1985 900 Aero, with around 175 hp and 250Nm. It’s in the classic initial Aero configuration of silver and grey, with a red leather interior.

Saab 900 Aero

Saab 900 Aero


This ISN’T the 9000 Carlsson I’d get as this one is guarded by two very viscous hounds, but it’s similar to what I’d be looking for and I’ve always loved these. A 9000 of this generation was the first Saab I ever rode in, too, so there’s a sentimental attachment for me as well. Around 200hp and I forget the torque figure.

Saab 9000 Carlsson

Again, all this assumes that I’d get the purchase past the minister for war and finance here at home. But it’s a chance.

I’m driving a Carlsson today to get a feel for how it goes. I’ll let you know.

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  1. I love the timing – your morning posts are my evening enjoyment!

    How can you possibly pass on that red interior?

    Having been a long time 9000 owner and a current c900 owner, IMHO the 900 is more fun to drive. And the early 9000’s in particular are not known for reliability.

    In the wild guess category, would it be possible to buy a regular 9-3 with a blown motor, and move over the go-fast Viggen bits, motor, transmission, et al.? I know that people have done the B234 swap in the ng900’s and og9-3’s without much difficulty. But has anyone done a B235R swap? T7 and the wiring harness would seem to be the big obstacle, but you could move that over from the Vig.

  2. The Carlsson is fun, and handles quite nicely. But as the recent owner of a 1985 900 Aero (mine is black) I can say that these are great fun, maybe even more than a 99T!

    …..and the 99T in the pic is quarded by the same hounds.

  3. wow, i cant believe you guys.

    I love c900s and everything points back to c900 right? BUTTT that 9000 is absolutely gorgeous!!! here’s to the other one being just as good looking.

    Buy the 9000, if not both…

  4. Swade, if you buy the carlsson over ANY 900, i will be truely disappointed in you. early 9000’s are kinda ::cough:: junky. a saab 900 of the classic years is a solid choice. heck, once you start driving a classic 900, you might think twice about owning your viggen. 😉 by the way, my one and only car is a 1993 900s with 302,XXX miles on it. doesn’t miss a beat.

  5. That 900 seems to be missing something in the interior. Perhaps its the fabric on the doors. Yeah, that’s it. Plaid would look much better.

    BTW, I noticed that the glovebox door was maroon. Did it come that way OEM or was it painted?

  6. Don’t get me wrong, I love 9000’s, but they just look so…plain…when they sit next to any other Saab model of that era or before. The 900 can’t be anything other than a 900, but the 9000 is just…it looks like a Volvo 850. There, I’ve said it.

  7. I spoke to Steve at Saab Serve and he said 900 hands down. The Carlsson has the v6 but it’s sluggish. Turbo 4, no other way.

  8. Richo,

    Very wrong on the Carlsson. It has one of the first 2.3 B234 FPT 4-cyl engines with 147kw/330Nm in a 1480kg hatchback (91 Model). Not sluggish at all. This is the essence of what evolved into the 9000 Aero. Got my favourite 9000 wheels.

    How’d you go with it Swade?

  9. Saabologist,

    Carllson first had the 2litre in 1990, uprated to the 2.3 in 91 and for 92 the name was changed to Turbo S (in Oz, Carlsson in UK) when it came in the later CS body-style. Dropped when the Aero came out for ’93. I’ve been doing some serious 9000 research over the past months and it is a very messy model history with unique variations all over the world.

  10. Turbin.
    Very messy indeed.
    One of my favourite 9000’s was the 2.3CSTS
    and i have never seen or worked on a 2.3 Carlsson, but i did leave the Saab stable for a few years when i went to work on Subaru’s.

  11. The carlsson was sold in Oz in 1990 and 1991. The one in the picture is a ’90 2 litre which here had 165hp standard, but mine isn’t standard. The UK variant had 195hp thanks to a tuning kit that required 98RON fuel which was not available here. The ’91 was the 2.3 litre with 200hp in Oz and 220hp in the UK.

  12. If you do go with a C900T, look at the front suspension frame. The fellow who purchased mine found rust on the frame which needed to be repaired. I was surprised, but needless to say, he wasn’t thrilled.

    If you decide on the 9000, I’d recommend one with at least 200 hp. The 93 CSE we owned had a tremendous amount of power compared to the 165 hp C900T.

  13. I used to be a c900> 9000 preacher myself. And I would still love an spg myself… but… how many of you guys have actually owned 9000s? Just curious. Don’t hate on the 9k!

  14. I’ve only driven a 9000 once, and I think it was a ’94 CDE. I liked it a lot, but I kinda felt weird in it because I hadn’t driven a car that size in a long time. I still have yet to drive a c900.

  15. Jeff,

    It’s a trim level. And yeah, the 9000 goes like hell, but take the 900 just for the looks!, and it’s an Aero!

  16. I know it’s the trim level, CDE means it was the sedan with almost everything in it, I was just wondering what Saaboy meant by “it’s the cde thing…”

  17. Maybe its just me but, I just don’t really warm to the two-tone paint on that 900. Red interior doesn’t do it either.

    If I had to drive one of those two away, it’d be the 9000.

  18. IMO, two-tone paint is good on pretty much any car. It looks just as great on classic Chevrolet Bel-Airs as it does on a mid-80s SPG.

  19. Since we’re all flaunting our favorite trim, paint, and Saab model, I’ll add my opinion. I always wanted to get an SPG/Aero but the plastic trim on the sides always reminded me of the ugly paneling on the side of Pontiac Grand Ams and its siblings. So, I purchased SPG wheels and put them on a C900 Turbo. It lacked the SPG lowered suspension, but looked pretty good when it was done:

    Swade, if only you had been ready to buy earlier!

  20. I think it’ll stay quiet, Jeff. Not because it’s any big secret, but because I’ve changed my mind three or four times already. Simon’s 900 (above) is still a frontrunner, but I’ve also checked out another 900 (88 model – no good) and am now checking out another Carlsson. I’ve also got a thought of picking up a 99 EMS locally.

    Too many options. If I wrote up the latest one as it happened you’d all think I was loopy (or loopier).

  21. Ah, well, it makes sense to stay quiet until you have a final decision since there’s now 4 or so options and you’re going back and forth. It would have been a bit different if it were just the 900 and the first Carlsson.

    Andy – Every time I see anything about an SPG, they point out that it has an intercooler like it’s something special that only the SPG had. I could be completely wrong.

  22. Jeff,

    the cde comment… they could look like 850’s, but i dont think the hatches do 🙂 . i prefer the hatch to the sedan version, and im glad the aero was a hatch only… that sort of thing would never happen today…

  23. Oh, of course, the hatch changes the whole look from the rear, but from the side or back, the 9000 sedan looks a hell of a lot like an 850.

    The sedan had the Griffin, though, so that was cool.

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