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.