PJ and I are off on a little road trip.

I bought our Saab 9000 Aero because I wanted to take the road trip in the best seats Saab ever made. Unfortunately, the transmission blew up last weekend, the latest in a reasonably long line of problems. We’re kinda stuck with the car so I have to make it into the best car I can. A replacement transmission is on its way, the manual boost control will be dialled right down and hopefully the car will have a more reliable life in the future.

When I mentioned our plight on Facebook during the week and how we’d be looking at rental cars for the trip, some Saab fans just wouldn’t stand for it. I was stunned to have three offers come in, people willing to loan us cars to complete the trip.

Thanks to timing and convenience, we’ve ended up with a 1993 Saab 900i, with the non-turbo 2.1 engine and Aero kit. In black. I’m not normally one for naming cars, but for reasons that will be obvious to many, I’ve called this one ‘Jerry’.


It even has a ‘Black Saab Rules’ sticker on the back window 🙂

The car is owned by a wonderful Saab-nut friend in Melbourne named Simon P. We’re going to enjoy adding to the car’s 350,000km odometer and riding in style as we hug the east coast of Australia.

I had a red 1991 Saab 900 S with a low-pressure turbo when I was living in Sweden and working for Saab. The similarities in feel between this 900i and my old 900 S keep taking me back to those wonderful days driving around Trollhattan.

I’d like to thank Simon (and Ian and Upulie) for their generous offers but especially Simon for looking after us so wonderfully well.

Any road trip involves a car and if you’re a car guy, the type of car can be central to your enjoyment of the trip. If it wasn’t for the generosity of our Saab friends, our holiday wouldn’t be anywhere near as memorable as it’s going to be.


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  1. Kudos to Simon for his generosity. And yes, Saab rules!
    I read yesterday in Automotive News China an article pushing for the elimination of the archaic NDRC. Imagine where Saab (and you) might be today without the NDRC. Maybe Saab and Hawtai would be prospering and you could still be in Trollhattan driving whatever model Saab you desired.
    Oh well, enjoy your road trip!

  2. Well done Simon for coming to the rescue…..

    The 9000 auto box is a very reliable unit, BUT sometimes lacked proper maintenance,

    Having owned several, some suffered a thumping great bang on engagement when putting into gear. either Forward or reverse.
    The culprit is very often the same little oversight in maintenance, ie: the little round filter at the base of of the bell housing…..
    Changing the gearbox fluid was often emptying the gearbox itself [plug at bottom of box] and in some cases the mechanics did not even know the filter existed].

    My first bad one was looked at by Neo bros. and the guy there showed me a box stripped down. He explained that the forward/reverse selector is buried deep inside the internal mechanical control box & the minute dust normally collected by the filter sometimes got into the unit & caused the spring to jam & weaken.
    The effect was to block the fluid channel & the spring would then suddenly release & the car would jump/bang into gear.
    Rectifying & cleaning this control unit was to say mildly like a watchmaker taking a mechanical watch apart, a nightmare of small grub screws.

    The 9000 turbo was one of the must do/souped up cars of it’s time.
    Changing the pipes/turbo/polyflex the joints, etc, etc.
    Often raced hard, but that little gearbox filter was ignored & became the downfall of many a good car.

    Steven, this could also partly account for the less than smooth experience you have been having.

    When the replacement unit arrives, decide if your old torq converter was good, as I used the one that came with the replacement box & it slipped a bit [ie: revved at 3700rpm @ 70mph instead of 3500rpm], but once assembled is expensive to do again..

    Replace the filter & ALL the fluid [Torq converter & gearbox].

  3. Terry, your comments about the 9000 Aero auto gearbox are very interesing and informative. I am sure Swade will take note.

    1. Couldn’t help but notice the Whale Tail rear spoiler on the 900. Looks in good condition. Wish the ones on my two 1990 SPGs did. 🙁

      The rubber has perished quite badly on both, due to the metal mounting band inside of it rusting, and that has lead to the rubber splitting open.

      My biggest mistake was not purchasing the replacement rubber lip(s) when they were available back in the early ’90s. Have never been able to find anyone, anywhere, who can repair them. Seen some aftermarket spoilers that sort of look like the OEM ones, but those didn’t do much for me. Trying to keep them patched together with silicone & other materials.

    2. Simon,

      I’d say your 900 is nicest looking car to grace our driveway and it’s up against our 9000 and 2 9-3 Combis amongst others.


    1. Keith, I remember reading that the 2.1 got seats from the 9000, at least in some markets.

      And a big YES to black Saabs! 🙂