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Owner experiences and review

Nick's 9000 CarlssonCD Carlssons’ 9000 Aero

Thanks to 'CD Carlsson' aka - Nick Whiting for writing this review.

This is my third 9000, having had a 9000i from 1992-1996 and then a CD Carlsson, 2.0 litre until March 2002. A ’94 model built late in ’93 this car has all the spec’ I wanted and none of the kit that I didn’t.

In Eucalyptus Green with black leather, this is one of just 19 RHD Aeros’ made to this spec. The interior has the ‘Recaro’ bucket seats with both fronts being electrically adjustable and having memories, unlike the owner.

Bought with 124,000 miles showing, this car had had three previous owners, the first, Robert Bicknell had it as a company car. He had the 17-inch Azev ‘A’ wheels fitted and an Abbott Aero back box to the exhaust; also the cat has been neutered… Robert fitted private plates to the car and rated this car as the best Saab he had ever owned, and he’s had a few.

The next owner was Clive Vaughan, who ran the car for a couple of years, fitting the Abbott/Koni suspension that so many Aeros’ seem to get. Also the control arms were up rated to polyurethane and the front discs and pads were upgraded by Abbott to their grooved discs with Mintex pads. Clive had the front grille colour coded by a friend and this certainly makes the car look different and I liked it immediately. Clive also had the timing and balance shaft chains renewed at a local Saab dealer, at some cost!!

Due to this ever spiralling costs’ Clive sold the car and it was run for a couple of months by the MD of a local Saab dealer and then it passed to Mark Doherty who owned the car for just six months and put just three thousand miles on it.

 On buying the car some work was needed to get the car into really good shape. The alloy wheels went off to Spit’n’Polish in Tonbridge. These guys really know how to refurbish an alloy wheel and they came back, as ever, looking brand new. The battery was renewed with a Lucas 064, the largest battery that will fit, as I find this always causes me more problems than it’s worth to leave things until they start going wrong.

My long time local specialist, Bourne Motors of Eastbourne retro fitted a late type adjustable steering column as the standard fit for this car was fixed and my wife needs the column close to the dash to accommodate her. For this reason I’ve also sourced some different Saab headrests for the front seats to allow the seating position to be to her liking.

  Whilst at the garage I fitted the hi-fi system from my previous car into the Aero. This comprises a Pioneer CD/Tuner with a six-disc changer in the glove box. The signal from these is sent to a couple of amps under the boot floor and onwards to Macrom speakers in the dash locations and the standard fit Saab speakers in the rear. A small bandpass box for the Sub-bass is in the corner of the boot, hardly getting in the way and the only visible addition if the front panel is off in the cabin. Due particularly to the high quality nature of the amplifiers the music produced is quite outstanding. It’s a low key system that does what it ought to, sound good, probably better than many a home system.

 Since the initial purchase the rear discs and pads have been changed for the Ferodo Premier type, as well as renewing the rear anti-roll bar bushes and drop link bushes on the front ‘bar for the Superflex type. I can’t say the bushes make a huge difference, but they should last a good while longer than the standard type.

Recently the heater matrix was renewed along with the ventilation motor, the former for the usual reason of misting, the latter because it was prone to excessive vibration and noise. As I intend to keep the car for a good many years yet, I feel these improvements, although expensive, will be worth it to me in the long run (I tend to keep my cars for an average of five years).

Next on my list are the headlamp reflectors. Although having up rated the H1 bulbs somewhat, the dip beam is still poor and one look at the greyed state of the reflectors shows that replacing them at more cost will reap great benefits.


I bought this car having been told much about it’s supposed modifications. This was backed up by paperwork from a Saab main dealer. All I will say is that the buyer should be aware. Even though I tested the car over many miles and I was used to a CD Carlsson (my present car at that time) I was suckered into thinking the Aero was quicker than it actually was. This was mainly due to the way these balancer shaft engines’ rev smoothly to high rpm, unlike the earlier B202 that seems to run out of puff by 4500rpm.

Suffice to say that recently I found the car was only running 0.7 bar boost! The APC system is malfunctioning and is not an easy fix. However a manual bleed valve brought the boost back up to the standard 1 bar, or thereabouts, and what a transformation. Testing with an AP-22 performance meter has proven a one second reduction in most of the in gear 20mph increments in third gear, and also suggests an improvement in torque of up to 60lb/ft throughout the mid-range. Not bad at all. I just wish I’d had the performance meter, to do testing with, when I bought the car.

Maximum power at the wheels is now around 210 bhp with max’ torque being 250 lb/ft and 90% of max torque is availible from 2500rpm – 5000rpm. Transmission losses for this type of car are reported to be in the region of 16%, so it’s performing well at last!

On the road

Traction is excellent for the cars type, helped no end by the chassis mods and Goodyear Eagle F1’s. This car does not have traction control (except for the drivers right foot), which from my readings is a good thing, considering reliability/cost to fix issues.  Understeer is almost non-existent, certainly compared to my Carly, and the only downside is a greater amount of low speed bump, thump over poor surfaces.

The cabin is however a refined place to be, no rattles or untoward noises, a marked improvement over my previous 9000’s even with the stiffer suspension and a figure on the odometer now approaching 130,000 miles.

Long distances are covered with minimal fuss and in plenty of comfort. Due in no little part to the long gearing, fuel consumption is far better than my Carly, being easily up to 36 mpg on a quick motorway/A-road run, and with all that performance availible on tap.

The best improvement would be to seriously up rate the brakes, but within a sensible budget. I would love AP four-pots etc, but the wheels, and finances, won’t allow it. Perhaps an Abbott 300mm conversion would be a reasonable compromise??


Thanks to 'CD Carlsson' aka - Nick for writing this review.

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