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  • Looking at a classic Saab 900 in France



    Today I drove all the way to Sarreguemine, France (3-1/2 hour drive each way!) to look at a 1987 900 for sale. The guy who is selling it has been a died in the wool SAAB guy for 13 years and right now owns four SAABs. His first one was a '98 9-3 convertible, then he got the 900, then a '71 99, and now a newer 9-3 sedan for a daily driver. He is selling the C900 because he was using the 900 as a daily driver and recently replaced it with the new 9-3, and he might be selling the convertible too, and is thinking of buying a Mustang (midlife crisis he says...).

    The 900 is an 8 valve, fuel injected car, hatchback, white with a red interior. When he bought the car it needed work, and he has been fixing it up ever since, and frankly, you wouldn't be able to know unless he told you, the car looks great. Not a show car, but a good driver. He had some rust removed from the rear hatch, from the rear right fender, and the right side inner firewall, behind the right fender. I looked at the usual C900 rust spots (battery tray, fuel door, under the doors, plus the whole underside, etc.) and couldn't find anything other than surface rust around hot pieces under the engine. All body panels are straight, no dents, no paint chips, no big scratches, just regular wear and tear stuff.

    When he bought it the car had a worn out blue interior, and he swapped for the red, which looks terrific. The dash is black and uncracked. All the gauges work, the only one that doesn't is an add-on VDO engine temperature gauge, the original engine temperature gauge works fine. Besides that VDO gauge there are also engine oil pressure and voltage gauges. All the electrics work (rear defog, fan, lights, seat heater, etc). The headliner was redone in 2005 and it's mostly good, there is some minor sagging on the edges (see picture below). The car comes with aluminum rims, plus he has prefect steel wheels to come with it.

    After inspecting the car for a while we took it for an extended drive, I drove the car for a good 45 minutes, from cobble stone streets to rural roads, a steep uphill where the car felt strong, then we drove around some farm villages, and then on a French autoroute and a German Autobahn were I got it up to 70 mph and it felt sure and drove straight. Shocks and brakes are good. Overall the car felt great, the gear shifts are good, it doesn't pop out of gear, first and reverse engage well. The front wheel bearings make a bit of noise, a very light hum, but nothing worrying.

    So it looks great, no (apparent) rust, drives well, has a seemingly good transmission, and started up quickly from cold (I checked). The car was driven in 2010 to the IntSAAB in Switzerland with no issues. He said he usually drives the 99 to IntSAAB but the 99 was down that year. This year he is taking the 99 to Belgium.

    Continue reading in the thread: http://saabworld.net/f5/possible-cla...urchase-25728/
    Dave T likes this.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Possible Classic 900 purchase... started by rpiereck View original post
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. Wulf's Avatar
      Wulf -
      The pictures are not showing up if you're not logged in as a member of saab-cars.de. So you may have to host them on another photo hosting site first. The link won't work either. I have an account there but I imagine not many others here have one as well.
    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      I didn't think about that! Pictures should be fixed now. Thanks!
    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      Oh yeah, I forgot the car has a four spoke Nardi leather steering wheel and shift knob installed. The original SAAB steering wheel is also coming with the car.
    1. Dave T's Avatar
      Dave T -
      The headliner sags in a different area than my last 900. Mine sagged near the hatch and also, my fault, under the driver's visor. For about a month, I stuck my garage door opener with velcro on the ceiling. I stopped but within 3 months, it started to sag there. In those days, I didn't know about the sagging headliner.
    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      Well, I just closed the deal.

      800 Euro and that baby is mine! That's $1046 in today's exchange rate!

      So on Saturday I'll be going back down to Sarreguemine and will drive back home on a white SAAB wearing French plates!

      In the end it all boiled down to the high costs of maintenance here. New tires will cost 150 Euro (only two tires), oil change 80 Euro (non synthetic) and changing the engine chain at least 200 Euro, or more. I bargained all that against his 1000 Euro minimum price without the blue interior. Now I got to call my insurance company and get that paperwork done!

      What am I getting into?
    1. Wulf's Avatar
      Wulf -
      Quote Originally Posted by rpiereck View Post
      Well, I just closed the deal.

      What am I getting into?
      A great adventure and road trip! Congrats on the purchase. I wonder if it is common in Europe to buy cars in different countries. There often is a language and social barrier. An American living in Germany buying a Swedish car in France. It's a small Saab World.
    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Frank Wulfers View Post
      A great adventure and road trip! Congrats on the purchase. I wonder if it is common in Europe to buy cars in different countries. There often is a language and social barrier. An American living in Germany buying a Swedish car in France. It's a small Saab World.
      Man, if you really want to complicate things... the car was originally bought in Luxembourg by a Belgian Soldier. He sold it to a German living in Germany. That German sold it to German #2, and German #2 moved to France and had the car registered in France.

      This car has been registered in three countries already (Belgium, Germany, France). I have no clue if unsold new cars needed some sort of registration in Luxembourg back in 1987, another possibility... Now the SAAB will be registered with the US Army in Germany. Since it's over 25 years old already I have the possibility of bringing it to the US and registering it there too...

      So to get it all right: it's a Brazilian American living in Germany buying a Swedish car from a German living in France, and said car was originally bought in Luxembourg by a Belgian, who then sold it to another German.
    1. Dave T's Avatar
      Dave T -
      A car upholstery shop can re-do the headliner. It's almost certainly cheaper in the U.S. I had it done and the shop showed me what they called "like Volvo headliner", which I said "ok". It was not exactly like Saab headliner and had a slightly coarser weave to it. I saw them do it and, unfortunately, did not bring a camera. It seems that somewhat at the Saab factory was wasting time and drew an elaborate tree in black marker, which was covered by the headliner.

      Motor oil is expensive in Germany but it is probably much cheaper to change the oil yourself. I am not very mechanically inclined but I find that oil changing is easy in the Saab 9-3 and classic 900. No ramps are needed. (I had a normally aspirated 900 but if the turbo is lower, then maybe all you need is to drive over a piece of wood to raise the car one inch). You do need an oil filter wrench. Have some plastic bags, loosen the oil filter, put a bag around it and finish unscrewing it by hand. Then quickly spin the new filter on. By doing so, maybe no oil will be spilled. I poured some oil in the new filter so that the engine would have oil on start up.
    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      Yeah, I do all my oil changes, so I won't be paying 80 Euros, but that's what the fair market cost is. Generic oil on base costs $2.89 a quart, Mobil 1 is $6.87 a quart.

      On a related note, do the C900 and the NG900 use the same oil filter? Same H engine, so maybe... I have six Bosch filters in my garage, bought them for my NG, would be great if I could use them on the Classic.

      Now I need to come up with a name for the car. Any ideas?
    1. drwatson32's Avatar
      drwatson32 -
      Beautiful car!

      'Anyone else remove their old oil filters by impaling them with a screwdriver and twisting?
    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      Definitely a girl, all my cars are female. I don't ride around sitting on a man... I am thinking she's a Sarah, after Sarreguemine.
    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      I just decoded the VIN for this car and found out it's not from Trollhättan, it's an Arlöv SAAB.

      So it's a Swedish Southerner. Does it speak Saabese with a twang?
    1. euromobile900's Avatar
      euromobile900 -
      I wouldn't worry so much about the timing chain. The 8v cars didn't have all the chain issues that the early 16v cars had, as far as I know. It is hard to tell how much wear the chain has had, but you could look at the guides or maybe see the tensioner (I don't know if this works on the 8v, but it does on the 16v) to see. Anyway, the 8v engines are non-interference, so if you do break the chain, you'll just stop, likely without breaking anything.
    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      Quote Originally Posted by euromobile900 View Post
      Anyway, the 8v engines are non-interference, so if you do break the chain, you'll just stop, likely without breaking anything.
      That's nice to know! I checked the price for a new chain and it's only $39. I imagine it can't be that hard to replace, especially with all the extra room the C900 has in front of the engine.
    1. euromobile900's Avatar
      euromobile900 -
      Quote Originally Posted by rpiereck View Post
      I imagine it can't be that hard to replace, especially with all the extra room the C900 has in front of the engine.
      There's not really all that much room. It can be a real pain to do anything with your hand sandwiched between the firewall and the "front" (back) of the engine, actually.

      Is that price for a split-link timing chain, or an endless one? Putting an endless one in is very difficult with the engine in-situ, and involves removing some studs from the gearbox in order to pull the timing cover, and then re-sealing the timing cover to the block (water and oil can leak there) when you put it back on. It's pretty much impossible without removing the head.

      Why are you so worried about the timing chain?
    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      Well, not really that worried anymore. When I first looked at the car I wasn't educated on the 8 valve engines, and imagined it was more of a big deal than it is.
    1. s900t8v's Avatar
      s900t8v -
      250k km is nothing on a c900 if it has had oil changes. ESP an n/a 900. Chain is probably fine you can pull cam cover and see how far tensioner is ratcheted out by shining light down. Unless po drove with foot half on clutch original clutch on n/a will also go forever. Don't replace things unless they need to be. Clutch gives you notice. Noisy chain gives you notice. 8v do use shims for valve clearance. Too tight is bad. so if they're noisy wouldn't worry too much (bit loose) Adjustment is time consuming but not difficult.
    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      Well, I am leaving for France in an hour to go pick her up. I'll post some pictures later when I get back!
    1. Golfhunter's Avatar
      Golfhunter -
      Félicitations !
    1. rpiereck's Avatar
      rpiereck -
      Merci, Golfhunter!
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