Friday, April 24, 2015

Very productive day shopping for a Saab wagon and such

Today was the first time since the accident when I actually had a bit of free time to go car shopping. I had three hours in the middle of the day, so I made the most out of it. You'll enjoy this...

There is a used car dealership owned by a guy named Olaf in Marin County. Word is he has the largest inventory of Saabs anywhere. He currently has 19 for sale on his lot. I went there specifically for the 9-5 Aero.

First of all, looking at this car just made me pissed off again at the lady who rear ended my car. My Volvo and this 9-5 are both 2006s and have similar miles (the Saab has 8,000 more). The Volvo is parsecs cleaner and in way better condition than this Saab. That Volvo was a really nice specimen.

This is a one-owner Texas car. The panel gap on the passenger side was distressing. Was that from a crash or from the factory?! Is that typical for Saabs?

The car was fine. It accelerated strong, braked solidly, and there were no creaks or moans. But the interior was austere and just blah. The automatic shifter looked shockingly cheap. The car was also bigger than I was used to.

Funny story. I ended up driving behind a W12 Phaeton during part of the test drive.

When I brought the car back, I was kind of bummed. I chatted with the salesman and asked if he had any Saabs with manual transmissions. Yes, but they just got it and it still has to be prepped. It hasn't even been entered into their inventory database yet. May I see it? Sure, come out back.

It was really rough looking, but I liked it a lot. In fact, I may have been a bit too enthusiastic and ruined my chances of negotiating with strength. It's a 2006 9-3 Aero wagon with around 95,000 miles. It's a one-owner California car and was first sold at auction in May 2014 and hasn't accumulated any significant miles since. It has a 2.8 liter turbocharged V6. And, it's got a stick. I need to do research on it over the weekend.

So before they advertise it, they are getting it detailed. Plus, they are waiting for a new oil pan. Apparently, when they put it on a lift, they noticed a "hairline" crack on the bottom of the pan. I told the salesman to let me know when the car is ready, and that I'll then take it to an independent shop for an inspection.

Not being mechanically minded, can you guys read anything into the carbon buildup on those exhaust pipes?

With a little bit of time left before my 2pm meeting back at the office, I stopped by West Coast Shipping's new digs. You may remember that I wrote a piece about them shipping Lexus GXs to Kyrgyzstan.

Well, a lot has changed. Last year, Putin got Kyrgyzstan to join the Eurasian Economic Union. That means used cars imported from America to Kyrgyzstan now have a $25,000 import duty slapped on each car (as opposed to $5,000 before). Suddenly, there are no cars from America being shipped there.

West Coast Shipping is pretty flexible and is finding alternate export markets. It needed more space so it took over a piece of property that used to belong to a private contractor that shipped the personal cars of US military personnel to South Korea. Hence, the sign.

The cars being shipped abroad never cease to amaze me. A first generation Camry, a beater DeLorean, and of course, tons of VW microbuses. But this Goliath bus was hidden in a sea of VWs.

According to this BAT post, which may have been written by one of you, this is the last living example of an Express 1100 in the world!

I'll close this post with this Jensen Interceptor. Tomorrow, I will test drive the Saab Turbo X wagon. But if any of you have any insight on the 9-3 Aero, please share. Thank you.


Ripituc said...

What a lucky find that Goliath is! It would make a great post for Curbside Classics.

I hope you can get a new Sweddish wagon for a good price. The one you liked is way prettier than the newer model, by the way. Those look weird.

No 9-4X though? :(

Maxichamp said...

@Ripituc: 9-4X is just too rare. If I crack a windshield, I'm screwed.

Unknown said...

I'm a year late, but I just wanted to let you know those panel gaps on the 9-5, where the wing meets the door, are 'normal' for a 9-5. I would encourage you to try one again as I have 3 in the family (also a 9-3). It's one of those cars that, after a while, just kind of gets under your skin, like an old friend. Every time I get bored of mine, something good happens. E.g. I regularly hit 100 mph in mine and last week, when doing about 80, a fox ran out in front of me on the motorway. There was nobody else around me and I knew I had some 'wiggle room', so I automatically hit the brakes and swerved (I don't condone swerving). The 9-5 just went exactly where I wanted it to and I was quite astonished. The fox lived, of course. Had I tried that in a rwd car, I really am not sure I would have maintained the same stability. Even in a fwd car not as well balanced, things might have been different. I used to have a Volvo S40 and, although fun and chuck-able, its stability was miles off the 9-5. Also the sedan seems to be more agile than the combi, not sure why, possibly rear shocks. Regards from Ireland!

halifaxf1fan said...

That passenger side gap is due to some damage or misalignment, the drivers side would be typical. I just repaired that gap on my 9-5 last week that previous owner had caused with a very minor bumper bump on the front. A firm push in and the fender moved back and down into place.

I have 2 9-5's and love the cars especially the control as mentioned and the power when the turbo is boosting. Great cars on a twisty road or over the long haul.