But! And it's a big burly but.
The Saab motor is a real power house 185BHP with around 200 ft/lbs of torque before Abbotising. We are going to need a considerably bigger gearbox than that fitted to any GM 2 litre cars. So how about ripping one out of a 3 litre V6. No problem, we can because the GM standardisation policy is a car builds dream. Strip down an ex-
All that's left is a prop shaft and some engine mounts. Over to me then.............
First of all there was the search for the donors. Hunting high and low for a Saab 9000 became a real issue. There were just none around at a good price. They have become some what of a collectors / Saab enthusiasts car. So after a few weeks of hard searching and lost causes, I decided to look at the NG900. Now here we find little enthusiasm from Saab types and car nuts, so keen prices and a very good choice. I finally managed to get a dealer to part with with a trade in for £500 complete with 6 months TAX and 1 years MOT. The car had 150K miles on it, but as a total engine rebuild was always going to happen, this did not present an issue.
Feeling a little like Hannibal Lecter I drove the car home. Apart from a steering rack knock on big bumps (how did this get a years ticket ?) everything ran like a dream for the first 50 miles. Then, just as we approached some yellow speed tax photo boxes, the speedometer died. 10 miles later, when all the speed cameras were well behind us, it woke up and all was well. Power wise the car pulled well and felt real good so I was happy with the old girl. She was a 1997, 4 door, silver SE model with all the bells and whistles including cruise control.
SAAB 900 SE awaits it's new life.
School holidays arrived shortly after the purchase and the cannibalisation began. First job was to SORN the car and get the TAX back. £75.00 refund was gratefully received. Now me and my son, plus loads of his very interested friends began to pull the car to bits. The job would have been a whole lot quicker with out all the little helpers, but we all had great fun none the less. A Brand new CAT and centre exhaust section was discovered and stored away for use on the 93, actually the back box was in ace condition as well so that has also been painted and stored. In fact as the strip down continued many many compatible parts were retrieved, cleaned up and stored away for later use. This clever little 900 basically coughed up enough spares along with the TAX rebate to pay for itself and still gave me and engine, oil cooler, inter cooler, radiator, ECU, ICE, wiring looms, switch gear, SID, cruise control and alarm system for the new build. A bargain in every sense of the word.
Next problem, some 3 weeks later, was the disposal of the shell. Thanks to a recession and a chancellor of the exchequer bugged by a collapsing car industry, there was a solution at hand. If I could make the shell roll, scrappers would come and take it away for free, in fact one offered me £50 for it. Right, sub frame back in. Rear hubs and discs back on. Front drive shafts suspended from the engine compartment. The steering rack had never been removed so all the knackered ball joints and shocks were mounted and screw up tight'ish. There were no seats or pedals, but a lashed up steering wheel and reconnected hand brake made it a rolling, and almost controllable, wreck. A phone call on a Friday morning, had a keen crew with flat bed and winch arriving on Sunday to take the skeleton away. Simple !
By week 5 I had decided that scrapping an entire Omega just for the gearbox was not looking like such a good idea, especially as R28 gearboxes with 50-
The final part of the puzzle would be finding a Sierra, Cosworth or XR that would suit the project. But that's when the price barrier raised it's head big time. Cosworths have suddenly become the Essex boys essential toy again and the prices are silly, especially high for just 204BHP. For a third of the cost you can have 250BHP from a tweaked 93 Aero. And as I have no interest in the Cosworth engine this is just a no go. Ah well, lets just take what we need from a written off 2.0GT (120BHP spec). Actually the guy who had the car, broke it and shipped me all the hubs, racks, brakes, Diff and drive shafts neatly packaged on a pallet for £200. I spend around £12 a hub on new bearings kits. The brakes were all cleaned and check and found in perfect condition. I wanted to fit new seals just to make sure and this turned into a mammoth hunt. Finding brake calliper refurbishment kits is virtually impossible. Thanks to the Ford racing fraternity it is still just about possible to find the parts. The steering rack had new track rod ends at £20 and the rest of the rack was stripped checked and rebuilt. The most shocking bit was the differential. Although all in good condition with all tolerances well within specification the new drive shaft boot kits were over £20 each and you need four kits. Ouch! Bits of rubber cost more than bits of steel.
Anyway we had all the bits and by week 10 we had rebuild, cleaned, pained and tested as much as possible ready for storage until required.
The Rear End Starting Point.
The Differential After Refurbishment.
The Rear Hubs Refurbished & Ready To Rebuild.
Fully Overhauled Front & Rear End Stopping Power.
The Workshop Ready for Business.