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Auto NewsWheeler Dealers reach for the sky with a classic Saab

Wheeler Dealers reach for the sky with a classic Saab

Mike and Elvis tackle a brilliant turbocharged convertible.

Enthusiasts miss the Saab marque, so there was no better way to celebrate these great cars than by bagging a sought-after drop-top.

Mike’s a fan of a Saab and enjoyed entertaining Elvis with old adverts showing the 900 Turbo and Saab planes. It was all very Top Gun, so getting one of these brilliant modern classics into the workshop was a great plan.

The owner of this one, Alan, lived in London and was going to be affected by the ULEZ charge, so the car had to go. It looked good and original, and everything worked including the electrically-operated roof, but it wasn’t perfect on the test drive. The engine wasn’t very smooth and lacked power, the clutch was noisy and the steering wasn’t very precise.

Wheeler Dealers reach for the sky with a classic Saab

At £6500 it was a bit of a bargain, and Elvis certainly liked it, but the first job was to tackle the rough running. It cost just £30 to overhaul the ignition system with new spark plugs, distributor cap and HT leads and the engine now ran smoothly. The lack of performance still needed sorting, but that would come later.

The next job was to address the clutch problem, and the Saab’s innovative design meant swapping it for a new one was nice and simple. It could all be done from inside the engine bay, and the problem was soon solved.

As for that performance issue, Elvis removed the turbocharger so Mike could head off to see the experts at Turbo Technics in Northamptonshire. His first meeting was with a man who had helped develop the turbo installation for Saab, and then it was time for a bit of engineering.

Stripping down the turbo revealed numerous problems, including corroded parts and cracks in the housing around the wastegate. It was treated to a thorough overhaul with some new parts and a bigger, lighter impeller that would improve response and power. And it cost just £300.

Wheeler Dealers reach for the sky with a classic Saab

But what about the woolly steering?  Elvis discovered a nasty oil leak from the steering rack, so that would have to be replaced. It was a bit of a fiddly job, but with some pipework and the track rod ends swapped over the new unit was soon back in place and the cracking convertible would feel nice and precise again.

There was just one more job under the bonnet and that was renewing the cabin air filter, which was nice and cheap at just £19. And speaking of money it had cost Mike just £250 for a set of original 3-spoke alloy wheels, and with those bolted-on the project was finished.

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Totting up the bill showed that the boys had spent £7489 in total, but a car as good as this one was sure to turn a healthy profit. There was just the matter of a test drive, and for that Elvis headed to an airfield. Where he was met by Mike. Who had arrived in a Saab plane! What a way to make an entrance…

The car felt great with strong performance, and there was just time to enjoy a gathering of other Saabs – from cars to buses and trucks – before meeting potential owner, Theo. He was happy to pay £8400, and we think he got a bit of a bargain for this superb classic drop-top.

Wheeler Dealers reach for the sky with a classic Saab

Mike says: “Rescuing these cars brings me to other experiences I would never think would happen..

“With Saab being famous for building much more than just great Cars, it was inevitable that we would try to get as many different sub vehicles together to celebrate this once historic marque. But for me, the experience was even more fun, having a go in a 1962 vintage Saab aeroplane was a real joy and I loved it.  The car turned out pretty good too, and we both had a lot of fun putting this one together. It’s a shame Saab is no longer with us and I hope that one day we see the brand reborn.”

Wheeler Dealers reach for the sky with a classic Saab

Find more info:
discoveryuk – Wheeler Dealers

Join the Club:
Saab Owners Club of Great Britain

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