Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010 Saab 9-5 Aero

The car:
2010 Saab 9-5 Aero
2.8L V6 Turbo
300 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 295 lb-ft @ 2,200 rpm
4465 lb
No sunroof (WTF?!?!?!)
Fully loaded (with gadgets)
Fully loaded (with four people)

Honestly... I was rather unimpressed with the speed. We drove to the dealership in a (stock) '95 9000 Aero, and it was at least as fast as the new 9-5 Aero. The 9000 actually felt faster, but that could easily have had to do with the suspension set up.

Also, the 9-5 was an auto.

Which brings me to my next point... horribly slow transmission. Very slow to shift. The paddle shifts are very slow to react (hit the redline many times because of it). Throttle response I felt was... ok. There is definitely turbo lag in this car. Definitely.

Now, aside from those points, it's a downright incredible car! And don't get me wrong, she still hauls @$$ down the road. Soon as I got on the highway, I floored it (in sport mode of course). The car turned on the power, gently set us back in our seats, and we accelerated. And then we kept accelerating. And kept accelerating. At 105 we were still accelerating at the same pace, and I decided to let off the gas a bit... being dead in the middle of Indianapolis. It may not hurtle you like a rocket ship to 100mph, but that sure doesn't mean it has any problems AT ALL getting you there. It's just.... a a gentleman's ride to 100 or a 150 mph.

It was also dead silent in the car at 105 mph. Dead silent. Both because all my passengers weren't saying a word, and because the road, the car, and the other cars on the highway... may as well have been non-existent. Vibrations at 105 mph? Ha! Not there. If I wasn't in the far-left lane, watching the median fly past me (and the brilliantly lit HUD), I'd have had absolutely no idea how fast I was going. A gentleman's ride to triple digits.

The handling... well I honestly don't know really. I was either in downtown Indy, or on a busy highway in Indy.... hard to tell. My friend Andrew (some of you met him at the Save Saab Convoy) went to Aero academy and therefore felt a little more confident throwing her through the super tight, downtown intersections than I did. It sure did hold on. I was thrown quite rapidly in the edge of my (back) seat. The steering was very precise and I always felt like I had a firm grip on the road. Good feedback from the tires all the way to my fingertips.

I found the back seats great by the way. I'm six feet tall exactly, and my head had about an inch to spare. Maybe two... not sure. Plenty of leg room - lots of it!

Now, from a 19 year old's perspective, I think the interior looked fantastic! I didn't see anything I would have considered to be cheap parts. Granted... I've never been on the inside of a BMW M5 or whatever the Audi version is that they're competing against.

Oh yea... it had cup holders! Soooo awesome!

The seats were extremely comfortable. Heated seats worked well and on that 62 degree day, I was warmed up very quickly by the seat while my passengers kept their cool (as they requested). However, I still have yet to find any seats that I like more than a 9000 Aero. I've never been in a seat more comfortable than 9000 Aeros. Even the back seats in those things are more comfortable than most cars' front seats.

And like eevveerryyybody else says, YES the car is way better looking in person than in the photos. Not to say photos make it look bad.... they just don't do it full justice. It is a beautiful car - and SO SAAB.

Pictures available here:

------ Update: This is my reply to someone's comment in a forum ------

I was far more interested in the car, and never really played with the stereo... at all. I just left it the way the dealer set it. The touch screen didn't seem to obvious/intuitive though. I think it would do them a lot of good to put Android OS in there. THAT would be awesome. Put an OS on there that thousands of users are already familiar with.

Personally, I think the styling of everything is great. The only part I didn't like was all the buttons for the radio/temp control/center console. I'm sure, if you read the manual, it's pretty simple. But at a quick glance.... that's a LOT of buttons. It's the kind of thing where, you loan it to a friend or child or wife or something and, if they've never seen the car before, they're going to have REAL trouble adjusting the temperature or A/C while driving.

Scandinavian minimalism? Eh.. on the outside, absolutely. Inside? No. But then again, the 9-5 isn't supposed to be minimalistic on the inside. I do believe it could use some simplification on the inside, but I think the outside styling is GORGEOUS and SO SAAB!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

1989 Saab 900 w/ 20,7XX miles... and it's mine

Well, actually, it's only mine until you buy it. I am currently asking $7,500 for it. You can see it here:

Anyway, to the story behind that car.
About a month ago - maybe 2 - I received an eMail regarding a Saab for sale with only 20k miles. First thoughts, 'Well that's nice. Too bad this kind is always 10x my budget and 1,000 miles away.' Then I actually read the eMail, and learned the car was located a mere 45 minutes from my house... in St. Louis. Now, for those that aren't aware, Saabs are very uncommon in St. Louis. And Saab enthusiasts with enough disposable income to buy such a car are an even rarer commodity. With this in mind, I immediately called the phone number in the eMail, if for no other reason than just to say WOW to the owner.

Turns out the previous owner passed away a few months ago, and her children (let's call the one I talked with, Susie, for the sake of privacy) were looking to sell it. Susie is located on the east coast, and knows nothing about Saab(s) in general, especially this one. When I told Susie that there was no way I could afford such a magnificent car, she understood perfectly, but was willing to let me test drive the car in return for me providing her with educated feedback which she could then pass on to interested (and better funded) parties than I. As far as I was aware, nothing could have made me happier. I got to drive the car I love, practically as it came from the factory.

It was incredible. New cars today make my car feel old. Those that aren't quite as in touch with driving might explain it simply as, "lots of noise over bumps and stuff," but there's far more than that - such as suspension feel, weight of the steering wheel, rigidity of the chassis, the seats, and other aspects. Before I drove this car, I thought new cars were just better. I thought they were better tuned, stronger, more comfortable. They're not. They're just newer. When I recovered this rare artifact and (jumped the battery then) test drove her through Clayton, it felt new. It felt as new as today's new cars. The only difference? It was developed 30 some years ago, and built 21 years ago!

I called some people, and everyone said the exact same thing, "DON'T LET IT GO!" Eventually, I was convinced to do whatever it would take to acquire this car. The end result: I created a business plan with my aunt. She would front all the money to buy and fix the few things that needed fixing and I would do all of the work required to fix and sell it. So I called Susie back and said, basically, "I'm a cool guy and I know you like me. Why don't you sell the car to me for $2,500 and I'll take it out of the garage so you can go ahead with selling the house?" It took some convincing, but she gave it. It was mine.

I spent the entire week before college fixing things, replacing the alternator, changing fluids, recovering some cloth pieces, wash/polish/wax, etc. And driving it. It is so amazing. Anyway, as agreed with my aunt, I now must sell the car. And I have no problems with this. It is a naturally aspirated and automatic version of the car - both of which are big problems with me. There is nothing wrong with them - I just am tired of N/A power and I MUST have a stick shift.

So basically, all I'm trying to say is, BUY MY SAAB!

Saab Guy

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Inner Driver: Replaced

I started last night at about 8pm. It took until roughly 4am to finish. To say the least, I ran into a couple issues. All is good now though - she drives wonderfully. No more vibration under load, and the new transmission oil (Royal Purple) is doing WONDERFUL things. I have yet to try the transmission oil out in the cold though - I'll update sometime after Friday with cold weather info (high in the 40s).

Next step on the To-Do List: check timing and clean out cam followers. Following that will be replacing the out CV boot on at least the passenger side - I'll need to inspect the other as well.

A surprise item has also been added to the list unfortunately: gas tank filler neck. I took her to the gas station yesterday, before heading to the shop, and when I opened the gas cap door, it just fell right off. There's $130 down the hole.

Saab Guy

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quick Tune-Up

I got the chance to do a bit of tune-up stuff this weekend. I got new spark plugs, distributor cap & rotor, and valve cover gaskets. I think she starts a little bit better now, but unfortunately I'm not noticing any major improvements. It still has a delayed throttle response and does not start up immediately.

Tomorrow night (Tuesday) I will be replacing the inner driver and also therefore replacing the transmission oil. FINALLY!

Saab Guy

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Destroyed Inner Driver

My good friend Colan is staying at my house for half of break this week - I drove two hours yesterday to Effingham to pick him up. On the way there, I ran into a slight problem. I still haven't gotten that inner driver fixed, and until yesterday, hadn't even refilled the boot with grease.

The drive started out great - the driver was doing fine for quite a while up at 65-70 mph. And then it changed very quickly - I couldn't give it one bit of gas without the whole car shaking. Forty-five minutes into the drive I had to pull over in Edwardsville at a Napa Auto Parts that I found, and refill the boot with grease. This sure wasn't fun. When I popped the boot off, a small metal ring fell out - clearly badly damaged and broken. It looked as though it used to be a continuous ring - it was now an open ring. Not much I could do though other than pack in that grease as tight as I could and carry on... oh, and pray! The driving improved 100 fold! and I carried on the rest of the drive without a worry. I also made an immediate call to East of Sweden, one of the best Saab shops I've found, and ordered a new driver and tripod (that means both the male and female ends of the joint). The parts should arrive Friday (tomorrow).

I'll be waiting to do the repair until I get back to Rose and have their tools at my disposal. This is not a job I'd like to try and tackle on my own, without the proper tools.

Expect another update once the new driver is installed.

Saab Guy

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Inner Driver Worn

At least the engine is still running great!

Unfortunately, I just found out that at least one of the inner drivers is worn out. A new one from (the best place for new Saab/Volvo/BMW parts) is $310. Free shipping at least though :)

Aside from that, things are going well with the car. I poured some heet and techron through the engine and now I'm getting 22-24mpg, which is more of what I'd expect from a 2.1L n/a. Before that, I was getting 31... that's not good. Too lean. So, hopefully this unplugged the injectors or something or another, rather than be the last straw on a failing seal or something.

UPDATE: Shift Joint
Turns out that, though this did help, the gear oil is still far too thin and was also far too low. A complete oil change is necessary, but I've topped it off at least with 10w-30 Castrol GTX and it seems to have helped.... absolutely none. Oh well.

In other news, the Saab Support Convoy that I've been a large part of planning is this weekend. On Sunday there will be roughly 10-20 cars show up hopefully (10 confirmed so far) to show their support for Saab and to try and help convince GM to SELL SAAB! We'll be meeting at Suntrup West County Saab and then driving near the arch for a photoshoot. Should be good fun!

I believe that is all the major news for now. Until next time...

Saab Guy