Started on June 7 by darkbuddha

1998 Saab 9000CSE

Supposedly 1 of 1500 final-year “Aero-spec” 1998 Saab 9000 CSE; the last of the 100% Saab Saabs. And this one is pretty much as good as it got that last year, being equipped with the Aero-spec turbo B234R engine with an FM57 5 speed manual transaxle and the Aero-spec suspension (springs and sway bars). I originally purchased this car as a last minute stand-in for an unfinished project (the MadMaXRati) for the 2017 GRM $2k Challenge, under the name Team Saab Story. I owned it whole 2 days before taking it to the Challenge, where we launched it at 4k rpm on slicks at the drags and shattered the diff/transaxle, scattering shrapnel and oil at the starting line. But in that 3 or 4 days, I found it quite a bit more interesting and capable than I ever initially expected, so it got towed 200 miles home and sat for several years (outside in the Florida sun) before I was able to find a replacement trans. Fast forward 2.5 years of intermittent wrenching, and I got the car back on the road with that used trans, fresh clutch, fresh suspension, fresh brakes, and few other bits, just in time to drive it to compete in the 2023 GRM $2k Challenge as Team Saab Story, the Redux (and once again as a stand-in for the MadMaXRati). It did better this time around, though it wasn’t quite as capable on meager factory-spec 205/55r16s street tires versus the 245/50r16 slicks run at the 2017 Challenge. And I was extra gentle on the launches at the drags to ensure I could drive it home too. But the car survived and I’ve been daily’ing it for a few weeks now. It’s proving itself to be a bit of gem as daily too; roomy, comfortable, quick-ish, economical. The chassis is (now) 100% rust free (despite its early life in Missouri), and mechanically it’s essentially sorted, though I’d really like to get the a/c working again (soon!). Really, at this point, most of what I want to do to/with the car is cosmetic stuff like swapping for Aero-spec bumpers, sills, and spoiler, and ideally, I’d eventually like to fit a set of the legendary Aero Recaro seats. Future plans are to continue to daily it a while and keep the car as a backup or shared family car. I will say, it is very very very unlikely it will ever appear at the Challenge again, mostly because I’m not planning on doing anything to make it more competitive, and I don’t want to risk the trans again. But that doesn’t mean it won’t get driven in anger every now and then.

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