SAAB 9-3 VIGGEN CONVERTIBLE - 1999
You like Saab ? You had your midlife crisis in 1998 ? You had some money left ? Don’t lie, you considered buying the Saab 9-3 Viggen Convertible (and maybe you did)… One of the greatest Saab cars!
Saab wanted a wild car so… they made a wild car, it’s as simple as that. To be honest, they had a gap in their range and felt the urge to fill it. BMW had the M-series, Audi had the RS-series, Mercedes had the AMG-series and Saab wanted to compete. Don’t get me wrong, I said they wanted to compete, I didn’t say they succeeded.
The first Saab 9-3 Viggen came out of the Austrian plant Magna Steyr in 1998, right after the last Saab 900 NG in Sweden. It is a tribute to the Saab 37 Viggen, the combat aircraft (Viggen meaning Thunderbolt in Swedish), and the convertible is one of its versions. By naming it Viggen, Saab clearly wanted the world to know that they were not bluffing and even artificially created product scarcity as a marketing strategy. From a design point of view, some say that it is only a restyled version of the 900 NG but I disagree. The front, the rear, the side skirts, the seats are different and a spoiler was added, all that makes it more sporty. DNA Collectibles reproduced this wonderful car in two colors: “270 lightning blue metallic” and "Monte Carlo yellow". Even if the Saabists criticised the General Motors strategies for their beloved brand, they agree that this car became emblematic in the Saab history and not only for its design but also for its performance.
Speaking of performance, the 2.3-liter turbo B235R engine develops 230HP and can lead you from 0 to 100km/h (0 to 60mph) in less than 6 seconds. No need to say that with the convertible, you will take a blast of fresh air if you tinkle the gas pedal. Only available with the manual transmission, it was the first Saab to be equipped with the Trionic 7 ECU which allows to control the ignition timing, the fuel injection and can replace the boost controller. You can compare the Saab 9-3 Viggen convertible with a wild stallion : a lot of temper (maybe too much?) and hard to handle but a feeling of complete freedom.
Being a Saab enthusiast is difficult because you can’t agree with all the partnership deals done throughout the history of Saab, all the strategies, all the decisions leading to bankruptcy but from time to time they managed to make an asskicking car and you remember why you have so many scale models in your shelf of this unconventional brand.