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· Registered
811 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't been around here for a while, but with this new project it feels like time to come back. I foolishly sold my Cosmic Aero Wagon, a decision I do regret sometimes, but it was time to move on.

Since then I've had a couple of RenaultSport Clio's to satisfy the itch for something a bit raw and basic. The high-revving NA 4-cyl has been a nice change from the mid-range grunt of the turbocharged Swedes, but nonetheless I always inevitably end up back in a Swede.

And this time I've got myself into some trouble..

This is a 1987 900 Aero / SPG with 5sp manual, which left the Arlov factory in December 1986, and complied here in Australia in early 1987. (note, RHD!)

It came with a 1989 EMS (oddly an auto, as many of them are here), also Edwardian Grey. Which car would be useful as a base wasn't certain but on arrival the EMS seems to have the poorer body, and of course far less inherent value than the Aero chassis. It is, at least, complete and will help me solve the puzzle of building the Aero, ifI ever get to that stage.

It arrived absolutely full of parts, with the interior almost completely stripped. My best guess is it experienced something like a heater core failure, but who knows. One thing is for sure, it was left to sit some time after 2008, filled with crap (aka parts), and became an occasional home for mice. It may have been under cover for some of that time, but I can't be sure.

As a result of the way the car has been stored and treated, it'll come as no surprise to hear that it suffers from some rust – both external and inside the car.

Here's how it looked after emptying the car

and after cleaning out most of the dirt

This drivers' side outer sill may need replacing. I've hit it with a stripped wheel to remove some of the worst, but I'm not sure if it can be treated or would need to be cut out. The door does not seem to be bad, with no rust on the bottom and only a small patch in the outer corner. There is some damage around the lock which has rusted, and some under the mirror. There may be some hinge side but I'm yet to inspect. Likewise the other door, which looks mostly good.

The trunk floor is also a bit of a mess, but so far I've only found one hole in the body, near the tow bar.

I've begun stripping out the rubber seal on top of the interior floor and trunk, which is going to take a long time but offers some encouragement – after chipping away the most "orange" areas it seems to clean up ok with the stripper. But, there's a lot of surface rust to look at, so it's hard to know if there's something to discover that might be more of a problem, as yet. And where any gunk is left it makes a mess of things – so must work out how to get it off so I can reach bare metal.

Other areas before and after getting a feel for the surface rust

There's a lot to worry about here, the passenger side rear wheel cavity being one of the things that is hard to see, hard to get to, and looks nasty. Seems to have been a nesting site. Here after some rudimentary cleaning, blind, with a wire brush - lots more to do to save it, I think.

Engine wise, well it's a mess – some hacky work there and what looks like a boost tee, but it looks clean under the cover and I have been told it is "good", along with the 5sp gearbox. That all remains to be seen.

So.. there we have it. A sorry old '87 Aero.

- - -


  • Sort and box up all the useful parts
  • Move car to a better position in the shed so that I can work on it (no space with all that crap there)
  • Continue to remove the coating on the floor
  • Get it in the air for a better look underneath (so far, encouraged)
  • Remove the Aero kit
  • Cleaning and grinding
  • Check if the motor turns over
  • Remove the motor
  • Strip it...
If it still seems feasible then on to a body shop for proper rust treatment and paint.

Then much later... it'll need carpets, seats, wiring, and I may consider T5ing it if the harness is a mess.Very long terms plans, and I don't suppose this will move very fast due to life commitments.. but if I can save it, I'm the kind of person who will try to – I certainly won't be sending it to scrap.

· Registered
1985 Saab 900 SPG, 2002 Saab 9-3 SE
13 Posts
That should be an adventure, very much looking forward to seeing updates on this as you go! Also hadn't seen the 9-5 Aero Wagon project thread before, that was a nice read.

I think your project will be heftier than the rolling restoration I'm doing on my '85 SPG :). It's in overall good nick but it's possible the engine and transmission might come out sometime this year, would be great to get it shift smoother, fix all manner of leaks and generally get the power train in shape for the next 230k mi.

· Registered
13,577 Posts
Quite a jigsaw puzzle. ;)

None of that rust looks even slightly concerning to me. You'd see the same level of rust in many California cars at this point. Get a wire wheel on there to get down to as much metal as possible and I'll be a rust encapsulator will be plenty. My 1962 Falcon was in similar shape nearly ten years ago, and it's not gotten any worse with truly basic preventatives. I suppose if I lived on the East Coast - in a wet, salty place - I might be more concerned... but a little encapsulated rust in a generally dry climate will probably outlast the availability of gasoline. ;)

· Registered
4,642 Posts
Good Luck with it Pasty , I have an 89 Aero ( ed Grey ) that I have had off the road over 10 years , its sits waiting for the day I fulfill the dream to restore , it would be a comparable condition to what you have picked up .
Will be really intersted to follow this thread. I took a look at your 9-5 project and it looks like you do good work.
Coincidentally I also have the matching EMS parts car ( ed grey ) the picture of your 2 cars on the truck and trailer could be leaving my place !

I have always thought the cosmic blue (your 9-5) or the electric blue of the Viggen would be a fantastic color in these cars if doing a total respray , I know that would negatively impact resale , but that would not be my intention if/when i do restore.

I think t5 is a must , regardless of the condition of the wiring , I dont have 1st hand experience , but do believe it transforms
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