Babs the Saab 900 T16s

My ownership of Babs the 1993 Saab 900 T16

My first Saab was Babs, a ’93 900 T16 in ruby red with the aero kit. Over the two and a bit years I owned her, I poured a huge amount of time and money into making her as good as I could. Refurbished some super aero wheels, added Kilen springs, 9k brakes and lots of forgotten improvements and fixes.

Babs the Saab 900
Babs the ruby red 1993 900 T16

This was taken during a shoot for a music video she was used in!

Being around for the filming of this was a fun experience

Now for the period of disaster! In early 2016 she blew her head gasket after a rad hose split, so I replaced that and fitted a full silicone hose kit. A handful of weeks later she failed her MOT on rust around the rear shock mountings. So I spent a good couple of months with friends replacing a lot of the rear arches and bootfloor, and also treated her to new Blistein B4s all round. She sailed through the MOT after that, and straight off I went to collect my then new girlfriend for our second date. A few miles into the trip I noticed a slight gearbox whine which very rapidly turned into a howl, shortly followed by seizing in the middle of Sheffield. Luckily the lady didn’t mind travelling home in an AA truck!

So after that string of events I decided Babs and I needed a bit of time to cool off, so I decided to pick up an early 9-5 Aero to use while I sourced and fitted a new box. I did all my research, made sure to choose a car with the modified breather and lots of documentation. The only slight concern was that it had supposedly been remapped but they didn’t know who by. Fair enough, the rest of the car looks very clean and tidy and I need wheels quickly.

Babs and Helga the 9-5 Aero
Babs and Helga the 2000 9-5 Aero

Cut to four days (!) later, driving at a steady 60, loads of smoke from under the bonnet and down to three cylinders. Limped home and started diagnosing to find no compression on cylinder three. Brill. So, engine apart, and, just as expected, a big chunk of the skirt is cracked off and only held on by the rings. Managed to source a second hand piston in the right size code, and built it back up with new rings.

Broken piston
Ouch. 9-5’s broken B205R piston

It ran okay after that but I’d lost confidence in it and the MPG was killing me on a 40 mile commute so not long after I swapped her against a Volvo S60 D5.

Anyway, while the 9-5’s engine rebuild was going on, Babs was sat on some land outside of the garage. One Tuesday I was at work when I got a text saying a branch had fallen on the car and I’d better go through and look. Expecting maybe a dented bonnet, I arrived to find this.

Needless to say, that was the end of Babs. Annoyingly now, I didn’t save nearly enough parts from her. But somehow I still hadn’t had enough of Saabs.