This week's Shed is interesting because it was built in 1997, when the firm was only 50 per cent rubbish, and when Saab was celebrating its 50th anniversary. (Time out: we call them Saabs, but as the vendor rightly points out in his ad, we should be saying SAAB, what with it being an acronym. Stands for Svenska Aeroplan AB, or Swedish Aeroplane Company. Like most folk, we'll be sticking with the popular/wrong 'Saab'. Saab or SAAB, any firm that can create something as mad as this - see 2:50 on - is all right by us.)
Now, where were we? Oh yes, 1997, the year of Blair's landslide election victory, the birth of Dolly the first cloned sheep, and the death of Princess Di. The 9000 had been around for a long time before that though, since 1984 in fact, the year of the miners' strike, the Libyan Embassy siege and the demise of the £1 note.
The LPT (Light Pressure Turbo) on the slant-four 2.0-litre is a sweet option. With something over 1,400kg to lug around - actually not that bad for a big exec saloon back then - 150hp won't give you the whoosh factor of an Aero, but it will give you a feeling that you'll get to your destination, and in supreme comfort too. Yes, it's an automatic, but power rather than any inherent design fault is what tends to break Saab autos. Or the manuals come to that. If the torque converter does go AWOL, that's the end of the game for a £750 car, but with only 73,000 miles up you'd be very unlucky to hit that particular buffer on this car.
The 9000 was discontinued in 1998, so it's reasonable to suppose that our Shed would have been as good as the factory could make them. The direct ignition module is known for failing. Luckily, it's a side of the road swapout: canny owners simply carry a spare. Brake discs can be expensive to replace, but as any bargeman will tell you, the trick with brakes is never to use them. Over time, Saab heater motor blowers can need new bushes, as can a fair few of the suspension components (front lower control arms, steering rack, rear anti-roll bar).
Bright, sparky women tend to like Saabs. Even Mrs Shed, the exact opposite of bright and sparky, appreciated the clean functionality of the 9000's interior when a misty green one appeared in a corner of Shed's yard a few years back. She said she liked to dust it, but when Shed asked her to dust his broom, all he got was a frosty glare.
The vendor's excited claim of a NEW MOT! (Never Enter Wet Motorways On Thursdays) is obviously a nice bonus. Home servicing on Saabs of this vintage is perfectly acceptable as long as the vendor is a enthusiast, as our one obviously is, having owned this specimen for the last 13 years. The presence of many cleaning bottles in the seatback pockets indicates a loved car and, if the rust free appearance of the underbonnet area is any guide, a solid one too. The snaps are not ideal but there's no obvious sign of brown on the door bottoms, rear sills/arches or screen surrounds. Makes you wonder what the backstory is on the sale. It must be a huge wrench to say goodbye to a faithful servant, an experience Shed is in constant danger of having for himself if he keeps on going the way he's going.
The fact that there are over 4,000 9000s left is testament to their strength and longevity. Simple, honest, and as straight as a school tie in a high wind, this is a smart man's alternative to a leggy Aero at a half or even a third of the price.
Last of the True SAABs
2 litre LPT in good condition and owned by us since 2002.White
ONLY 73,600 genuine miles complete with old MOTs and bills.
Main things replaced--- Ignition Tray,2x ABS wheel sensors and drivers door mirror assy.
It HAS a NEW MOT!.
Serviced by me and still have original SAAB service book.
Drives smoothly and autobox changes seamlessly.
Interior is cloth and is immaculate.No tears or splits or marks.
Tyres in good condition..Its a pleasure to drive and will be a shame to see it go
Driven carefully it can achieve over 35 mpg.It is unmodified and reasonable to insure. This car is driven daily and has been 100% reliable.
Viewing and Collection Worcester Park ,Surrey