Well, it’s been an entire year since my last $3500 car project. What have I been waiting for?
In the spirit of last year’s Super Rad 1991 Pontiac Firebird project, I recently found myself searching for something inexpensive and interesting from the '80s or '90s on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. With my budget set to a max of four grand and a location within a 150-mile radius of home, my prospects seemed grim—until a 1994 Saab 9000 Aero hit my screen.
Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/buying-and-selling/my-new-low-buck-project-is-this-righteous-3500-saab...
I was on board with the Firebird... 6 Cylinder Pony Cars are a bargain in any generation of make and model out there, and if you can find one that hasn't been abused you will have the perfect bargain classic. Cheap to buy, cheap to fix, cheap to own. If you can answer "yes" to those three things (I would dare to say if you can anwser "yes" to two out of three), it is easy to pull the trigger on buying a car. A vintage Saab? The answers would be YES, NO, NO... The same goes for Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Maserati, Alfa... I could go on. If the cost to fix things is high, then you have to ask yourself: why did you start off with a shoestring budget to begin with? If the cost of ownership is high (lots of things breaking often, high insurance, gas guzzler, etc), How are you going to keep it on the road? It would be easy to make a list of bargain classics that are cheap to buy, fix, and own.... Just not sure a Saab 9000 would be on it.
Good for you. Saab's are not common, and low-priced rescues are a ton of fun. Love finding a little niche in the performance world that the average enthusiast knows nothing about. (I didn't know the Aero's had that kind of performance) Enjoy the heck out of it, and if it craters for some reason, you're not tied to a high-dollar dilemma. This is the kind of adventure that makes cars so fun. I once restored a Tiger too - maybe sneaky little sleepers run in our blood.
Great story, Brad. I had a 2000, 9.5 Turbo Eco while in the Middle East. Fun, well-engineered machine. I spent many days at our on-camp, DIY garage & really appreciated the fine craftsmanship inside & out. Finding parts in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or having them shipped in was the ever-constant task. But, when things were all fixed, upgraded & with Bilsteins & good rubber, the Causeway between the two countries was a very road to open it up, which I did on many occasions. Enjoy your project.
Nice choice of a Saab. I had 2 Aeros my first being a 97 and the 2nd was a 94. Both of them were Scarab green 5-speeds. It’s good you found one without the TCS as components are scarce and you needed the old ISAT or Tech2 with legacy software to calibrate. They are under appreciated cars and still to this day the most comfortable seats I ever sat in and I have owned over 100 cars. It’s funny that when these cars were new Saab was often overlooked because of the 4 cylinder engine didn’t complete with 6 and 8 cylinder offerings. Saab was ahead of their time with car manufacturers now going to small displacement engines.
Yes a wonderful car. One of my favorites of all time. I have enjoyed two 9000s myself, a 1986 and then a manual 1992 Aero in the classic red with the lovely 3-spoke wheels. I purchased for around $4000 in approx. 2002 and drove it daily for 10 years before retiring it to the drive, succumbing to upstate New York snow salt/rust. It finally and regretfully went to the scrapyard a few years ago but not before I salvaged a few pieces. I retained and still have the wonderful front and rear leather seats (just need the right project to repurpose those, they still recline with 12v), the radio and CD player, plus two sets of wheels (summer and spare winter set). Let me know if you need a radio....
I miss my 2000 95 Wagon with the 2.3T. Handled like a sports car and hauled nearly anything. Most comfy front seats until I met my current 08 VolvoXC70. I'd still have it if my two kids hadn't trashed it as their "college car". Had 213k when it died in the Volvo dealership parking lot. They gave me $500 for it. Made several trips to Florida from CT with the family and the dog. Hauled a 16' canoe from Western PA to CT in the snow, and got 27 MPG on the trip home. What a great car. Always wanted the Aero version. One of my friends had a 1996(?) 9000 Convertible that was pristine. Thanks for the story.
My roommate in college back in 1964 had a Saab that we put oil in the gas tank when we filled it up it had what was called free wheeling and you could tuck in behind an 18 wheeler on the interstate and let the suction from his trailer pull you along
ah we were crazy then LOL