Viggen update

For those who don’t know, I crashed my Viggen two weeks ago at a driver training event on a track here in Hobart. It’s been two weeks without my car, and I’m starting to get really antsy about it. More on that in a moment.

A few people have asked via email about what’s happening with it. Well, at the moment we’re in a state of limbo while I wait for the insurer to make up their mind as to whether the car will be covered under my comprehensive insurance policy. As the accident happened on a track, there’s some rules as to what’s acceptable and what’s not in terms of it being an insurable event.

It was a driver training event and I did have an appropriately qualified instructor in the car with me at the time. Hopefully, for those reasons, it will be covered. But insurance companies aren’t in business to just give away money so if they can find some wiggle room, I’m sure they’ll try and wiggle.

Because it happened on a track, they have a regular procedure where they appoint an investigator to look into the circumstances. This has happened and I found out on Friday that the investigator’s report has made it’s way to the insurer, though they haven’t made a decision on it yet. They told me I should know something by Wednesday.

As I see it, I’m facing three realistic scenarios:

1) They decide that they won’t cover it due to the nature of the event.

In this scenario, I’m stuffed. I’ll have to store the car until I can put the money together to fix it, which will be a considerable amount. I’ll have to get another car to get me around until that happens.

2) They do cover it and the car gets fixed.

Self explanatory, the only question will be how long it takes to get repaired. under my insurance I have free choice as to who repairs the car, so naturally I’ll be going to the best guys in town, Bocchinos. Being the best, they have a reasonably long waiting period and therefore, I may still need to get another car to get me around (can you see where this is heading?)

3) They cover it, but the cost of repairs is too much and they write the car off.

This is not as unlikely as it sounds. The following repairs at minimum will need to be done:

Wheels (most likely all four) – $2,000
Tyres (again, all four likely) – $1,200 or so
New front and rear spoilers – ??
New wheel bearings x2 – $
New rear axle – $2,000
Straightening of chassis at rear – ??
Front spoiler mesh – ??
Front fog lights – ??
Associated panel work and painting – ??

And that’s the bare minimum that I’ve talked about with my mechanic. I’ll ask Bocchinos to also test the Konis as they took a beating and I’m sure they’ll find other bits and pieces that I have no idea of. Given that the car is most likely going to be worth less after it’s repaired, the insurance company is going to have to give some consideration to the value of fixing it.

And obviously, if it’s written off, I’m going to need to get another car.


I’ve started looking into new rides. The ideal car will meet two basic criteria. First, it’ll be relatively inexpensive. Second, it’ll be an older Saab.

I had given some thought to indulging my Alfa fetish, but I think that needs to be a secondary thing, maybe next year. I also think I’ll be better off with an older car. I love my Viggen. I’ve never owned a better car in my life, but even with everything I love about it, I still have a bigger soft spot for my old 99 Turbo.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for old cars. I think I’m probably going to end up with an old one and we get a newer one eventually for the Mrs.

There’s two new cars I’m looking at. One’s a 1985 Saab 900 Aero in excellent condition. It’s owned by a guy in Sydney whose 99 Turbo has featured in these pages before. Thankfully, Simon seems to have another deal lined up that’ll net him a 900i in exchange, so I feel OK about considering what to do.

The other car is one I’ve always wanted and I need to find a good example for sale at reasonable money. It’s a 9000 Carlsson. I’ve always loved these and if I can find one reasonably soon then it might be worth checking out. I’m taking one for a spin tomorrow just to see what the drive’s like.

So that’s where it’s at. The Viggen’s in limbo but even if it gets fixed, its future in terms of my driveway is less than assured. This has been a difficult decision to come to, but I feel like a weight has been lifted now that it’s (almost) done.

Of course, all of that could change in the next 24 hours, too, as I still have to get the new car past the minister for war and finance here at home.

Any thoughts appreciated.

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  1. Swade, you do have a way with words. No matter what happens with the Viggen, you really need to buy another Saab… 😉

  2. The only item of concern for the ’85 900 Aero is the wiring. IIRC the wiring on the ’85 models has a tendency to deteriorate. Something to check on prior to purchase, at any rate.

    As much as I love 99’s, I’d be concerned about using one as a daily driver. Despite the overlap with the c900, there are a number of critical parts that are unique to the 99 – and the car is now so old that finding such parts could be time-consuming (and thereby leave you stranded for a period of time while under repair). I’m thinking in particular of the CIS components, e.g., fuel lines, fuel accumulator, etc.

  3. 99, 900, 9000. So many choices, all of them sooo good.

    However, I’ll weigh in with this little tidbit: here in the US, good a good 9k is getting harder and harder to find and the price is about the same as a first gen 9-5 or a turn-of-the-century 9-3. I’ve been snooping around for another Saab for a daily driver so that I can once again garage the ‘vert for the winter for a significant re-work of the rear end and a couple of quirky electrical snafus. I’ve found that a good ’99/’00 9-5 Turbo can be had for around US$5k, which suits me fine.

  4. Swade,

    You’re going to keep the Viggen no matter what right even if it’s written off, correct?

    In parallel to keeping the car no matter what the outcome, you plan on getting another car “in addition to” as I understand it correctly right?

  5. does this insurance company know who you are? it should be explained to them that this can have two endings – if they see the light and cover your accident then they will receive worldwide acclaim and riches beyond belief …. or …. deny your righteous claim and receive planetwide condemnation thus dooming them to years of red ink and cancelled policies. you should also suggest that the viggen gets a complete hirsch upgrade!

  6. Ryan, if it’s written off there are conditions about whether they can re-sell it and consequently whether I could buy the wreck. Most likely it’ll be a repairable write-off so I’d get an opportunity to do so, or they’d send it to auction to recover some costs.

    I’d say that if I get a car that I’m happy with then I’d be unlikely to purchase it. Fortunately, I know a guy here in Hobart who most likely will purchase it and you can see his fix-up skills in the 900 restoration posts here on the site. So I’d still be able to visit it from time to time.

    So if they write it off, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll keep the car. If they fix it, there’s a fair chance that I’ll sell it once it’s fixed. If they don’t cover it at all, then I have to keep it and save up the money to fix it, which will be a considerable amount.

    Time will tell.

  7. I’d go with the 900, for a few reasons. First, your wife has a 9000, and I know the Carlsson is different (obviously), but variety is good. Second, I love the 900, and they just look cooler than the 9000. Third, it’s closer to a 99 (and closer to the Viggen) than the 9000, so it’s like a good mix.

    Of course, it all hinges on the condition of the innards of both cars.

  8. Swade mate,

    As I amongs many many Swedes (along with people working at Saab in Sweden) repeately visit your site and tryly appreciate and induldge the work YOU my friend put into this site AND make the BEST PR for Saab that I know of – (sorry LOOOONG sentence, I know 🙂 I really think that Saab should fix this car up for you. It can´t be that much of money for a company like Saab and it would be a drop in the ocean in their PR-budget.
    Don´t get me wrong, I´m not talking about any kind of bribe or stuff like that but just a tiny face of goodwill in appreciation of your work 🙂
    I´ve been driving Saabs since 1992 when I first got my driving licence and íf it hadn´t been for you and this site I really don´t believe that Saab would have keept my interest and my 2007 Anniversary 9-5 diesel standing outside my house, whould have been a BMW 520d instead….
    Keep up the good work and lets hope that Saab takes this opportunity to fix your car since you are the best Saab spokesman I know!

    Sincerely Daniel

  9. Swade – welcome to the club – my 9-5 Aero has been out of sync since May 30, 2007. It has been fixed (cost 64K South African rand that is) and my portion is 16K. I can live with that. You see, whilst they were at it (fixing that is), I requested the repairer also to attend to few bits and pieces. Will collect my beloved 9-5 at the end of August and hopefully will post pictures of the before and the after. If it does not live up to the expectations (like it was before) I will sell it. My personal favorite currently is the Saab 9-3 Aero 2001 in 5-door variant in cosmic blue. Very thin on the ground this end, though.

  10. Quality panel shops and saab experienced seem to be like water and oil, however l had immaculate work done in melbourne by a SAAB approved repair shop after a 4WD SUV (Suburban U(A)ssault Vehicle ) decided to gain forced entry via the boot , maybe you should consider paying freight for your car to be taken across to Melbourne where there are a number of good SAAB panel shops , backloading is reasonable on freight costs. However l understand the insurers issues as to track versus road …

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