A Hershey's Christmas treat is sickly; a Hirsch Christmas treat is just the right amount of swift Swedish soft top
By Matt Bird / Wednesday, 20 December 2023 / Loading comments
Winter is the perfect time of year for a convertible. At least to drive on your own – passengers might be keener to wait for a balmy summer’s eve. To wrap yourself up warm on a clear, crisp day, bed down in a driver’s seat and drop the top is always a treat: cool air whipping around (and maybe pepping up a turbo), bobble hat and sunglasses on, embracing the elements in style.
It’s the sort of convertible experience the Swedish manufacturers once excelled at. Never ones for corner carving summer sports cars, they were experts (predictably enough) at making cabrios fit for the colder months. The heated seats were brilliant (and the chairs themselves supremely comfortable), the roofs were well protected against the worst the weather could throw at them, and there was always space for Christmas shopping. Or a couple of like-minded friends to come along for the ride.
They don’t exist any more, even the Volvo C70 going out of production a decade ago and those who do covet a four-seat cabrio have to make do with the usual German suspects. Shame, they always seemed quite popular, but tastes change – convertibles just aren’t in favour like they once were. This Saab 9-3 is exactly the kind of thing we’re talking about. You’d never be up early on a sunny Sunday to take it for a blast, but what an ideal thing for a family trip to see the lights turned on or a last-minute run for present shopping. It’s a manual Aero, too, meaning it’s pretty rare – and has (or had) 150mph potential.
This one gets more interesting, too, as it’s a V6 Aero, one of the later cars that replaced the four-cylinder models. They’re seldom, if ever, seen with the pre-facelift design that’s arguably aged better than the slightly fussy refresh. There’s not a single other car like this on PH, and there can’t be many at all; the other 9-3 Aeros registered in 2007 have the four-cylinder, and all the V6s the later look.
There’s additional intrigue, too, as the seller suggests this Saab has some Hirsch upgrades. Always good to hear. Frustratingly, they’ve not specified exactly what, but surely there’s going to be some extra power and the wheels (which are in remarkably good condition) don’t look like the standard items. Whatever the exact extent of the modifications (apparently there are some inside as well), it’s surely better to have some Hirsch goodies on a Saab than none at all. Best hold on tight if the engine is any stronger, though – remember these were still front-drive, and had 250hp to begin with.
Elsewhere, there are more encouraging signs. A peek on the dealer’s website shows 14 services, half at a Saab main dealer when they existed and a few more with a specialist. Five previous owners is hardly catastrophic for a car now comfortably over 15 years and 100,000 miles old. And while it’s always sensible to take claims of exterior condition with a pinch of salt (more pics are said to be coming to the ad soon), it looks smart from what we can see so far.
The price is £6,995; there are more expensive, lower mileage Aeros also out there, as well as scabbier, older ones. It feels like every Saab is enjoying something of a resurgence of late, perhaps encouraged by the uplift in all values but also a reflection of the esteem in which they’re still held. This 9-3 might not be as classically cool as those early 900s, but with the rarity of its spec and the Hirsch tweaks in its favour, it looks a perfect winter warmer from here. The roof is already down, ready to go…
SPECIFICATION | SAAB 9-3 AERO V6 CONVERTIBLE
Engine: 2,792cc, turbo V6
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 250@5,500-5,900rpm (standard)
Torque (lb ft): 258@2,000-4,500rpm (standard)
Recorded mileage: 113,000
Year registered: 2007
Price new: c. £30k
Yours for: £6,995
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