25% off shirts for North America

March 31 UPDATE:

I’m elevating this to the top again as it’s the final day of the 25% off sale for the US Spreadshirt store.

New classic 900 designs now available as well as the original Viggen and UrSaab designs.


I’ve just been checking out the Spreadshirt blog and found out that they have a Super Secret Sale on. The secret part is that they’re only publicising it on the Spreadshirt blog rather than on the rest of the site.

I assume it’s available to all comers that see it though.

So if if you’re ordering from the US, enter the code SECRETBLOGSALE when you make your purchase and you should get 25% off.

If you’re ordering from Canada, enter the code CADSECRETBLOGSALE when you check out and you should get the same discount.

Click here to visit the North America TS shop.

The Super Secret Sale ends March 31st.


Don’t Drink The Water

With apologies in advance to Emily at Saab Oz….


Should any of you reading this ever venture Downunder, then by all means do go and visit the City of Churches – Adelaide. It’s a pretty little place and a nice drive an hour or so south will take you to Victor Harbour, a beautiful beach.

Just know that you go there at your own risk.

A man single-handedly destroyed a car and attacked an ambulance with a crowbar in an “extreme” case of road rage at Seaton yesterday morning.

Witnesses looked on shocked as the man used his fists, rocks and a crowbar to smash a late-model Saab causing at least $5000 damage while threatening to bash its female teenage occupants in the 20-minute rampage.

The water really is quite funny there in Adelaide. I’d never drink it from the tap, but I think it may be too late for our GM-Holden Commodore driving gorilla (doesn’t he know that Saab is part of GM now??).

The drama is believed to have started around 12.30am after the man, allegedly driving a VR Commodore with three passengers, abused three teenage girls in the Saab on West Lakes Boulevard, Seaton.

He chased them to the BP service station on Tapleys Hill Rd where security vision, viewed by the Sunday Mail, captured him and his passengers leaving the car. Two male occupants, one in a grey hooded top, stayed in the background as the driver and a female passenger with blonde hair approached the Saab.

The video footage shows the Commodore driver try to hit the driver’s side window of the Saab.



But wait, this guy gets even crazier…..

“This guy had left the scene but when the ambulance arrived he had returned, went to the back of his car, got his crowbar, smashed the car some more and then approached the ambulance,” Karl said, adding that the attack spree lasted 20 minutes in total.

“The girls had just jumped into the ambulance when he had attacked the passenger window and attacked it a couple of times.

“Then he buggered off again and came back a third time, got on to the bonnet of the car and smashed it a few more times yelling profanities, it was road rage in the extreme.”

The police have found his car, but are still looking for him.

I’d suggest trying the Port Power Football Club.


Don’t Drink The Water is also the title of the best ever song by the Dave Matthews Band. Highly recommended.

Aussie 9-3 TiD Convertible review

Note to Saab Oz:

A few weeks ago, AlAero noted to me that he felt a little self conscious driving around in a car with “Diesel” written down the side. Not that he didn’t enjoy it, mind you. He is a bit of an exhibitionist in a nice sort of way (that in no way involves trenchcoats and hiding in bushes)

Earlier this week there was a BioPower review where the reviewer wrote The 9-5 we tested had the words BioPower written in 30-foot-high letters down both sides of the car (and if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me whether it ran on laundry powder, I could have bought one) so I was too embarrassed to drive it very far.

Today, in Queensland’s Courier Mail newspaper we read:

Saab labours the point about the diesel powerplant by signwriting “Diesel” down the side of the press vehicle. Don’t be alarmed as customer vehicles do not have this feature. Just as well, because you would quickly get sick of the smart comments from friends.

I don’t know whether being noticed like this is a good thing or a bad thing. What do they say? There ain’t no such thing as bad publicity…..

Anyway, just something to think about.


Yes, there is indeed a review of the Saab 9-3 Convertible TiD in today’s Courier Mail. For about a month or so we were all able to gloat and talk about how it was Australia’s only oil burning convertible.

Then those mongrels from Volkswagen had to go and drop the Eos on the market.

Regardless, the 9-3 iConvertible is a much more attractive car, sticking as it does to the ragtop configuration – a point that’s not lost on our reviewer. Hardtop convertibles are the new black right now, but when I bought the issue up here on the site earlier this month there was plenty of support for Saab’s decision to retain the soft-top.

Our writer comments:

…..the Eos has a steel folding roof, while the Saab has stayed with the traditional rag top.

Being a rag top, it is noisy when raised or lowered, so any rattling diesel clatter at idle or disharmonious roaring at high revs would be very uncomfortable in the cabin.

Fortunately, it’s pretty quiet.

That it is, but I must say my recollection of spending time in the 9-3 Convertible brings no memories whatsoever of excessive noise. And further, if you’re complaining about the noise with the roof lowered, then maybe a convertible isn’t your thing….just saying.

But the point here is the diesel, not cranio-deficient-aural complaints. And on the engine, we shoot, and we score!

The 1.9-litre TiD turbodiesel engine is also smooth and refined, although it does have a soft spot down low and needs momentum before it starts to boogie.

Like many turbo diesels it has lag off the start and actually responds better to a coaxing right foot rather than a stomp on the loud pedal.

Given some patience with the throttle, the response is adequate without being lusty.

After all, it’s only a 1.9 with 110kW of power and 320Nm of torque.

ONLY 320Nm of torque??

He might want to go check how many other sub 2-litre four cylinder cars are generating that level of twist.

Anyway, that 1.9 TiD is a heck of a nice motor and having taken one for a decent spin (almost literally) back in January I can certainly see why they sell so well in Europe.

Incidentally, did you know that the 9-3 TiD Sport Sedan here in Australia gets better fuel economy than the Holden Astra TiD, which uses the same engine but is considerably lighter?

Clever little Trolls.

Hirsch April Update

Some bits and pieces in from Saab’s authorised tuning house, Hirsch Performance.



I love it when I see a headline that read “Embrace Your Torque Steer”

Eat that, Evo Magazine!!

Now available: The Step 2 – 252 hp performance upgrade for Saab 9-3 2.0T MY 07.

Whichever of the 230HP and 252HP engine upgrades from Hirsch Performance you choose, you will enjoy the immense torque and excellent high-speed power delivery. Careful software calibration ensures that despite the enormous increase in power, the increased thermal and physical loads are kept within manufacturer tolerances. With this Stage 2 version of the engine upgrade, your Saab 9-3 achieves an impressive 252 HP and the torque increases to 370 Nm.

The kit consists of a complete dual exhaust system in stainless steel, a greatly enlarged intercooler and engine software tuned to the new conditions.

Together with the exhilarating acceleration capabilities, the smooth, sonorous exhaust note makes the driving experience complete.

Product page.


There’s also a diesel upgrade available for MY07.5 Saabs that don’t have a particulate filter fitted. The software upgrade lifts your engine performance from 150hp and 350Nm to a gasoline matching 175hp and 370Nm – all the while you’re still managing that great diesel fuel economy.

Upgrades for particulate-filter-fitted cars are also available.

Product page


The Hirsch 4-cyl dual exhaust system.

Thanks to the reduced back pressure of a well-designed sports exhaust, the turbo spools quicker, and the volumetric efficiency of the engine is improved, which theoretically allows for both more power and less fuel consumption.

But, does a sports exhaust really bring more power, and if so, how much? The answer in the old days of the Trionic 5 – controlled Saab 900 and Saab 9000 used to be easy – Yes, of course!

However, with the introduction of modern electronic engine management systems such as the Trionic 7 and 8, things get a bit more complicated. The new ECU’s use air mass flow measurements to regulate the torque. This means that if more air mass flow than expected is detected at any point of operation, even at full throttle, for example because a sports exhaust system with lower back pressure has been fitted, the ECU instantly and automatically compensates the torque down to meet the expected air mass flow value. This behaviour is required to meet current emissions and homologation requirements.

For the current range of petrol and BioPower Saabs, there is therefore no automatic gain in maximum power or torque when simply installing a sports exhaust. There is however always an improvement in throttle response and fuel economy, and the power de-rating present at high temperatures and/or high altitudes is also reduced.

But what if the engine management were to be recalibrated to expect more air mass flow when installing a sports exhaust?

This is exactly what Hirsch have calibrated the 252hp upgrade for the Saab 9-3 2.0T and the 300hp upgrade for the Saab 9-5 2.3T Aero to do. For these performance upgrades, a sports exhaust is included as a mandatory component, and with the matching calibration, the reduced exhaust backpressure of the sports exhaust is fully utilised to gain several extra (homologated) horsepower, as well as an improvement in throttle response and fuel economy.


Targa Tasmania 2007

Jeff emailed me and asked about driving conditions here in Tasmania.

Well, this video might give you some idea as to the fantastic driving we can enjoy here. The good thing about all these lovely twisty roads as they’re never far away. My home is only seven minutes drive from my office in downtown Hobart, but if I drive just 10 minutes in the opposite direction then I can be right out there and away from it all, winding my Viggen through some of the roads featured in this video.

What you’ll see below is a highlights package from Targa Tasmania 2006. ‘Targa’ is a tarmac rally held every year and whilst the cars you’ll see in this package are the higher end, big sponsor entries, there’s a real assortment of great machinery lining up for Targa every year.

It also features footage of the legendary Peter Brock (driving the Daytona coupe) in his last Targa Tasmania. He died later that year in a crash whilst participating in a similar event in Western Australia.

Two years ago, a mate of mine from Melbourne raced his Saab 99 Turbo in Targa. I’m not sure if there’ll be any Saab entries this year, but I’ll check that out shortly as Targa will be held in April.

Enjoy the video. This is where I live.

C900 T-Shirts arrive for the US

I’m pleased to announce that Spreadshirt has finally approved the C900 design and that T-shirts featuring the classic 900 logo are now available in the US shop.

My thanks again to Jyri for making the c900 silhouette available and Ivan for formatting it to meet Spreadshirt’s printing standards.

There’s around 30 different C900 shirt combinations to choose from, all produced using Spreadshirt’s plot printing process to ensure the best possible result.

The majority of shirts use a flock print, which is a velvet-like finish that’s very precise and long lasting.

For the c900 only, I’ve also set up a couple of metallic gold and silver flex prints as well, which should look quite amazing.

25% off ends soon!

Until March 31st, the north American Spreadshirt store is offering 25% off the normal price. Just type in the code SECRETBLOGSALE if you’re in the US or CADSECRETBLOGSALE if you’re in Canada and the adjustment will be made automatically.

Hint: it works in Australia, too. A work colleague of mine purchased one yesterday.

Click here to visit the TS North American Spreadshirt shop, which now has an amazing 79 different items to choose from.

Here’s the gold-on-black T-shirt:


And here’s an larger version of the classic 900 logo that’s being used on the shirts:


Australian BioPower article

Sweden is a verdantly green place, from its gamboling grass plains, to its dense forests to the faces of people who dare to eat there.

Generally, I’m in favour of trying the local delicacies in a foreign country, but a plate of hair-rings (sometimes spelled “herrings”) or some briney kippers is enough to turn anyone’s gills the colour of mushy peas.

Ah, we Aussies know how to entertain, don’t we? Funnier than a fart in a spacesuit, we are.

Thus begins the CarsGuide review of the 9-5 BioPower, as driven way back in mid-January as part of the launch that Richo and I also attended.

We Aussies are also full to the brim with common sense, and here’s a straighforward look at why I like the whole idea of BioPower, too.

The Swedes are also very Green people, as in so environmentally aware that if they ruled the world we’d all live in flatpacked houses made out of recycled Ikea packaging and there’d be so little global warming we’d all have to wear black skivvies.

Of course, we’d all have to drive Volvos or, for the slightly luckier, Saabs.

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for the meek Swedes to inherit the earth before you can use their know-how to do your bit for the planet.

The Saab 9-5 BioPower is the company’s current future vision, and the best news about it is that, finally, someone has delivered a clean, green machine that doesn’t accelerate like a snail with chronic fatigue.

This is a very, very entertaining review. Lots of funny stuff here, but fortunately our writer also manages to get the point across too.


The 9-5 we tested had the words BioPower written in 30-foot-high letters down both sides of the car (and if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me whether it ran on laundry powder, I could have bought one) so I was too embarrassed to drive it very far.

But, late at night, I did do enough kilometres to note that it really did have considerable, tweaky-turbo-style get up and go.

Given that the press event was way back in January, one could think that this is a little late coming. I guess it’s more important that though that it’s a great piece of well-written and informative work. To the average Aussie who knows nothing of BioPower or the timing involved in this it’s just going to present as a good introduction to the whole issue.

A highly recommended read.