It’s time I got busy again on the extended month of Saab 900 loving. I got this one in over the weekend – well, apparently I got it a while ago but I couldn’t find the email – but I had to save it for a weekday because people tune out over the weekend and this one really deserves to be seen.
This is another vehicle from the collection of Tasmanian Saab nut, Drew B. And as far as I know it’s the only one he’s purchased and not done any significant work to.
Here’s the story. As always, click on any of the photos to enlarge. There’s a whole bunch of pics at the end.
For many years the 900 I’d always wanted had alluded me. A 900 Aero in black just couldn’t be found anywhere, seemingly. That was until early 2004, when a mate of mine from Melbourne phoned to tell me of a late 1992 900 Aero-S for sale in Ballarat, and that it might be worth investigating. Low k’s, black, 2 owners, manual. Just what the doctor ordered.
The Aero-S model represents the last of the 900 Aero model brought into Australia during the end of the model run in 1992, differing from earlier cars in many ways. There was an uprated 3.3bar Lucas injection system, Mitsubishi turbocharger, #8 primary drive, ABS+3 brakes, asymmetric alloys, revised dash and instruments, and power operated leather seats with suede inserts a la 9000 Carlsson. In all, I believe only 10 Aero-S cars were imported here, of which about half were automatics. A black one with a manual box, therefore, represented a rare find indeed.
After finding out about the car from its owner, and doing my homework regarding its history, I flew over a couple of weeks later to take a look for myself. I’d teed up with the seller to pick me up from Melbourne Airport so that I could drive it into the city, whereupon he’d drive back home and I’d let him know in due course whether I wanted it. I can vividly recall standing outside the terminal for what seemed like hours scaning the carpark and pacing up and down thinking he wasn’t going to show, only to eventually catch a glimpse of a black 900 driving in the entrance road in the distance. As it drew closer I realised the car was every bit as good as it had been described, and by the time he’d pulled up I’d already uttered the word “Sold!”.
The best thing about the car was that I didn’t have to spend 3 trillion hours resurrecting it from a wreck. Instead, I took it home and gave it a good clean inide and out, and to this day that’s really all I’ve done. Over the past three years I’ve tracked down many of the Saab original accessories to fit on it, including a 185hp ‘redbox’ APC, a pair of NOS hifi ‘tweeter’ front dash speakers, 10×4 3-way optional rear speakers to replace the 2-ways, rear décor panel, center console Saab/VDO gauges, etc, etc. The only non-original item on the car is a full stainless exhaust system fitted by the previous owner.
Will I ever sell it? No way in hell. It’s too much of a classic, and it’s so pleasing to the eye. It still turns heads despite now being 14 years old, and it drives far better than most new cars I’ve had the displeasure of driving. A fantastic car in every sense of the word, I reckon, and I’m sure many others would agree.
A collection of pics follows. Like many Saabs, this looks great in photos but even better in person.
They laughed at me when I rolled up with a step ladder for the photo shoot….
….but I think the end result was worth it!