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1980 900 Enduro - Saab Australia special factory edition. One of twelve built, eleven delivered (one reputedly written off by an overzealous journalist prior to release) and of five sighted surviving examples. The package consisted of closely fitted flared fiberglass wheel arches, front airdam and rear spoiler, extra gauges (oil pressure [0 to 500Kpa - 0 to 75 psi], battery voltage [10 to 16 volts] and ammeter [-50 to +50 A]) mounted where the radio usually was. I've recently heard from a reliable source that Purvis Cars (of "Eureka"/"Nova" fame -
http://www.eurekacarclub.com.au ) were originally managed by Ken Matthews Saab (a large Sydney dealer of the day) on behalf of Saab Australia to design and implement the body modifications for the Enduro. Ken Matthews themselves instigated the rest of the engineering upgrades.

The cars were fitted with Simmons 'P-4' 3-piece composite alloy 7.5x15" wheels. My Enduro has been retro-fitted with Simmons 'V-4' wheel centres instead, to give them a deeper dish. The track (overall outside edge-to-edge distance) is 4 inches wider at the front and 9 inches at the rear over a 900 Turbo of the day - mainly to fill the enormous guards and to lower the roll centre. Tyres were 225/50VR15 Pirelli Cinturato both front and rear. Turn-in is phenomenal due to the altered wheelbase/track ratio - so much quicker and sharper than my '85 T16 Aero. "On rails" describes it well. Straight-line stability is not quite as good obviously - but not bad by any means. It does tend to tramline a little on poor road surfaces and doesn't self-centre as much - you actually need to steer it the whole time.

Suspension was improved with 290mm (free length) by 17mm 368lb 7.1 turn springs up front and 300mm (free length) by 16mm 484lb 9 turn springs at the rear. Steering caster was set to +2.25 deg +/- .25 deg, camber to -1.75 deg +/- .25 deg and toe in was 2.5mm +/- 0.5mm. I plan to add 0.5 deg camber to the rear axle.

To increase performance, the wastegate was set at 17 psi (1.2 bar) which delivered a claimed 175hp from its 8-valve B201 slant-4 engine. Water injection came standard - possibly a first for a production turbo vehicle.

Paint was a 2-pack Dulux Acran enamel and the 12 vehicles came in groups of at least three known colors - "Aquamarine Blue Metallic" (SAAB colour code 137B, 1980), "Carmine Red Metallic" (SAAB colour code 124B, 1980) and "Marble White" (SAAB colour code 152G, 1980) an incredibly pale green, almost off-white. The hood, side window frames and rear deck were painted in Dulux GT Satin Black. Large "ENDURO" stripes were emblazoned on the the hood, the rear deck and along both sides at sill level. The interior also sported colour-coded striping on the door cards. An overhead tweeter enclosure that enhanced the stereo system was hung between the b-pillars and spanned from one side of the vehicle to the other.

I've scanned and attached the originally-supplied supplement from Saab-Scania Australia that accompanied the owners manual. These documents are collectors items in their own right.

I have totalled up the money spent on this car keeping it on the road for the past 29 years from the repair receipts provided by the previous owner: AU$61,526 (US$60,769 at todays exchange rate)

I am not kidding. If you look at it as a yearly figure it is easier to swallow....I think.

Upgraded to 16V turbo with larger compressor than standard 8V unit.
Watch out for the oil drain line flange - it's thicker on the 8V and requires a bolt on the compressor housing to be altered somewhat to fit. Also requires newer slanted turbo to throttle body pressure pipe.

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After putting up with a noisy exhaust for a few weeks, I decided to replace it with an un-cracked C900T exhaust manifold. It took a while, but I finally found one on good nick in Melbourne, and from a fellow SCCA member to boot.

Under-bonnet temps used to be pretty high after a run (17psi) - to the point where even though the bonnet is insulated the matt black paint on it cracked like crazy. A common problem on the Enduros. I decided to polish the burrs of the port exits and then ceramic-coat it prior to installation. Competition Coatings in Guildford (Sydney) did the job for me using Tech Line ceramic out of the States. They sand-blast the manifold inside and out and then clean it thoroughly before they spray on the coating. Baked in a oven at 700-odd degrees cures it. After it's cooled the next morning they then tumble-polish it to a polished surface.

This coating is good to 2,000 deg Fahrenheit and is not meant to discolour much at that temp. I could have gone with the black "Turbo-X" coating but will reserve that for the turbo housing and exit soon.

I thought that job would be a little tricky as rusty old exhaust systems can be a pain to get apart after a while. All came apart beautifully, with nuts literally spinning off after being cracked. Got to love the quality.

This was only a one knuckle-scrape job - rating easy. The lower turbo housing support bracket didn't want to come off as one of the bolts was rounded off. Without if coming off it was tricky to slide the manifold down on its studs - and even trickier to re-mount the replacement.

Anyway - all good in the end. Torqued up, I started her up and idled for 20 minutes to burn off the penetrating fluid left behind. A bit of smoke but not much. I loved the sound of the system again - nice and rumbly but no "pfft-pfft-pfft" sounds from the cracks. The temperature of the manifold itself was noticeably cooler - and I mean by a lot. I could hold my fingers about 1/2" away from the rear of the manifold while it was running and although it felt very warm, it was nowhere near as hot as before.

I took it for a decent run at reasonable boost, and on my return popped the bonnet to see if the coating had changed colour. Not a bit! The 100mm steel blanking plate I manufactured to cover the old waste-gate port (now unused as I have a newer turbo fitted with an internal w/g) was a dark blue - indicating that temps were up there inside the manifold. The temperature under the bonnet was, as expected, much cooler, as was the bonnet itself.

I'm happy with the result. Temps are lower and it looks great. I can't wait to do the rest.

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