Saab 9-3 Aero Convertible | Shed of the Week

Drop-top shed the Swedish way

By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, 29 April 2022 / Loading comments

If Shed waits long enough at the village bus stop, a bus will eventually turn up. That’s what he likes to tell himself at any rate, even though the last timetable that’s pasted up in the shelter is from 2007. Nobody has actually seen a bus in the village since then, when forgetful old Mrs Pillington broke out of the home to go to the shops in the big town ten miles away and hasn’t been seen since. Turns out the bus company closed down the service on the day she went and no return bus was provided. Maybe she’s still waiting in the town.

Anyway, if you wait long enough in the sub-£1,500 basement that we call Shed of the Week a high-powered Saab will eventually turn up. Unlike Mrs Pillington’s return to the village that’s a stone-cold certainty. It’s getting harder and harder to ignore these Saabs because, while the prices of the humblest forms of motorised transport imaginable have now risen to king’s ransom levels, those of fast Saabs remain resolutely stuck in the past.

There are two reasons for this. One, fear of the bork, and two, fear of the tax, which can often be more than the cost of mending the bork. Shed has reported on so many of these hot Saabs – he’s dug up three 200hp-plus 9-3 Aeros since last September – that he’s now got saabophobia, a rare complaint in which sufferers actually lose consciousness after a couple of minutes spent listing all the ways in which a sporty Saab from the 2000s might ruin someone’s day/month/life.

If you’re immune to that particular virus and would like to learn more about these dangerously tempting vehicles you’ll find everything you need to know, plus a lot of what you really don’t want to know, in the text (and perhaps more usefully in the forums) relating to either of the write-ups on those earlier two 9-3 Aeros. The first one in September last year was a 2003 saloon with 190,000 miles on it but it looked like it had done 19,000. That was heartening for anyone thinking about flopping less than a grand onto the dealer’s table for it. On the forum, Earl of Hazzard hazarded the suggestion that £80 spent at Noobtune would result in a stealthy upgrade to 250hp, adding to its poky sleeper allure.

The second 9-3 Aero from January of this year was an earlier-generation specimen from the year 2000. It wasn’t perfect by any means. Nevertheless it had the air of a car that had been well but fairly used by a knowledgeable owner and seemed well worth considering at £850.

The 9-3 Aero you’re now peering at in a perhaps slightly skeptical fashion is the youngest of the three , though you’d never guess that from the raggedy state of it. Shed is showing it to you because he heard the first cuckoo earlier this week, an event that always prompts him to (a) check the classifieds for convertibles and (b) get his shotgun out. Raggedy it may be, but we are told (and shown in the pictures) that the ragtop works perfectly, or as well as can be expected at least.

Although it looks like it’s received as much love and care as would traditionally be meted out to a belligerent and persistent mosquito, this car has no major skeletons in its cupboard if we go solely by what we see in the MOT history. We know nothing about what might have gone on between those MOT tests of course. All we can tell you is that the test history is not scary and that it has just passed a new one with nothing more than a worn rear tyre, a minor exhaust blow and a wobbly battery on the defects and advisories list.

Try to imagine the half-leather cabin that hasn’t been photographed, then all you need to do is avert your gaze from the bashed-up chin spoiler, the ground-down alloys, the dent behind the driver’s door and the black stuff besmirching its flanks – hopefully that’s dirt and not oil – just blank all that stuff out and ignore the high-for-a-Saab price of £1,497 as they’ll surely take less than that and… and… well, then you’ve got a 210hp convertible with 160,000 miles on it. Hey, we don’t make the sheds here, we just show them to you. Fill your boots with Postcrete and commence to kickin’.

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