This Cosmic Blue 1999 Saab 9-3 is one of the finest first-gens we’ve seen. But how’d we see it if it’s on the other side of the country?
In today’s world, it seems that we’ve become wrapped up in virtual online communities almost as much as, if not moreso, than the actual communities we live in. Like everything else, this has its advantages and its disadvantages. One advantage is being able to share and learn from folks who live half-way around the world, or in this case, the country.
This global network doesn’t conjoin at a singular point. Instead, it’s made up of different factions. A good example of this would be Facebook groups. Typically speaking, a single user will belong to multiple groups – why is that? One answer might be that the user has varying interests, which can only be satisfied by visiting different group pages. If you’ve got a hankering for everything and everything Saab, then you’ll surely want to check out the recently created “SAABMERICA!” Facebook page. While certainly not the biggest group (the “Saab nuts!” page has about three times as many members), it’s one of the fastest growing Saab communities with over 5,000 members; especially when compared to our own page… *cue crickets*
Having made this observation, we decided to reach out to the creator of the page. We were curious as to what the intended purpose was, how the administrators planned to manage the page, and, of course, what cars they owned. The creator of the page, Craig Beau, was more than happy to answer our questions.
What’s ‘SAABMERICA!’ all about?
The notion behind SAAMERICA! is this desire for a uncensored group. The about section says, ‘We don’t like rules and we don’t like banning people.’ And that’s important to us, because we’ve witness abuse of power on other pages, and it just ruins the experience and turns the group toxic. The main thing is, we think you should treat others the way you’d want to be treated. If you can handle that, and are interested in finding a holistic, resourceful community of Saab enthusiast, then this page is for you.
Empathy is something that the Saabros team highly values as well, so kudos to that. We think a lot of folks will appreciate the sentiment, but why else should they join this group versus any other Saab-related Facebook group?
In addition to promoting fairness, we’re also going to be giving away prizes, co-hosting events, sharing content from our YouTube channel. On top of that, it’s another place for sellers to list vehicles, parts, or other Saab-related merchandise.
Sounds like a plan to us. Speaking of Saab vehicles, what do you drive? And how did you get it?
I drive a 1999 Cosmic Blue 9-3. When I couldn’t find what I was looking for on Craigslist where I lived, I started searching out of state. I found this [9-3] out of state and purchased it sight unseen. It was the right year, right color, right amount of doors, and right transmission. I had it shipped to my home. It was meant to be a daily driver to keep the miles down on my other vehicle. Then I got greedy. It needed suspension repairs, so decided to purchase Koni suspension from a fellow Saaber. I didn’t like the wheels. I found Super Aero Talladega wheels in a junk yard. Rolled like that for a while but then didn’t like how tucked the wheels were, so I added some 1.5 and 2-inch spacers for a stanced look.
After that, Craig had caught the bug, and things began to snowball. He picked up a parts car, as most of us Saab owners end up doing, and was able to salvage the SE trim body kit from it as it was fortunately the same Cosmic Blue finish. The SE trimmings gave his 9-3 a sportier look, which was exactly what he was after.
Since the front SE lip was too damaged to use, Craig decided on an ITR lip, which is actually a lip made for an Acura Integra. He learned about this mod from a buddy of his,Anthony Carshype Guerra, and while it took a bit of work to fit to the 9-3, Craig felt that it was entirely worth the effort.
After tweaking the body and fitment of his Saab 9-3, Craig finally concluded that it was time to find new wheels.
The last thing that was bothering me was the 6-inch wide wheels. They had a super high offset of 49, and I was using massive spacers to fit them. I wanted to keep 16s for tire cushion, and when I found out my options were super slim for a wide 16-inch wheel with a 5-lug pattern, I considered redrilling.
I found OEM BBS 16×8 wheels off of a BMW 7 series for dirt cheap. I had them re-drilled, added some hub centric rings, threw on some BBS emblems where the BMW badges originally went, and they looked great. With the low offset of 23, I no longer needed adapters. Wheels poked out enough as is, and they just clear the brake caliper. I love this setup.
The final modification, if such a thing exists, was a new spoiler. Rather than go with the standard spoiler for the Turbo model or the popular Viggen spoiler, Craig instead decided to go for the Euro-spec Aero spoiler. He had to contact a company based in Sweden to order his color-matched Aero spoiler, and he had to pay the most expensive shipping charge he ever saw, but he couldn’t have been happier.
When asked why he went through all the trouble, Craig replied:
My goal here was to make the car look like an Aero version, as well as a little more aggressive, but still questionably a stock vehicle.
I get a lot of questions and comments on this car. The most popular one is the assumption that it’s a Viggen. However, there is nothing on this car that is from the Viggen, at least not in America. Not the bumpers, not the engine, not even the color. The car is sporty enough and looks stock enough for people to default to thinking it’s the sportiest Saab available, which is the Viggen. They couldn’t be further from the truth, and that’s the way I like it.
As we previously mentioned, Craig is the creator of the SAABMERICA! Facebook page. If you’re looking for an up-and-coming Saab-centric page with a lot of interaction amongst its members, then you’ll definitely want to check it out.