Saab 9-3 Aero Codenamed “Project-X” Rocks a “Blurple Drank” Finish

Joe Rizzolo has put a lot of time and effort into his Saab show cars: a 2004 9-3 Aero and a 2001 Saab 9-5 SE SportCombi. Since we’re so enthralled by the Blurple Drank finish, we decided to take a closer look at Joe’s 9-3 first.

That custom “Blurple Drank” finish you’re drooling over was created by Jay, the owner of Delaware Liquid Wraps. Based on the name of the company, you can probably discern that this magnificent purple isn’t automotive paint. It’s actually Autoflex, a professional-grade product offered by

Autoflex differs from traditional plasti dip in that it looks much more like actual paint, except it’s chemical resistant, has greater durability, and can even be buffed and waxed just like paint. And yes, it still peels off like dip. I can unequivocally say that this is, in my opinion, one of the best colors I’ve seen on a 9-3SS.

There’s much more to this 9-3SS than just its magnificent finish, though. Other exterior modifications include ’08+ 9-3 ‘ice block’ taillights, 18×8 wheels that have been powdercoated a clean gun metal gray, with polished center caps. The brake calipers were also refinished and now bear a custom blue. Joe completed the look with Euro-spec trimming, a honeycomb-style grille, custom exhaust tips, and a powdercoated tow hook, which every show car needs.

(Note: the gallery at the bottom of the page shows the transformation of Joe’s 9-3 since the original purchase.)

Joe is a stickler for the small details, and this is evident not only with the exterior modifications, but with the interior and engine bay enhancements as well. For instance, when he had the leather seats reupholstered he requested purple stitching, and the shop incorporated this stitching into the custom suede headliner. In addition, Joe had the pillars, rear deck covered in custom suede, the interior trim pieces repainted, and a custom leather wrap added to the steering wheel. There’s also a custom shift-boot with aftermarket shift knob, custom foot pedals with the griffin logo engraved, LED lighting, real hardwood flooring in the trunk, and to top it off, a First Responder Emergency Lighting package.

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Of course, what’s a show car without that engine bay bling factor? The color scheme was carried out even under the hood, with the valve cover powdercoated in a bright blue, the black plastics painted a bright purple, a blue air filter on the BSR intake, and blue plumbing for good measure. For those who might not be aware, the ’04 and ’05 9-3 Aero were equipped with the 2.0T—the 2.8T made its way under the hood in ’06.

On the performance side of things, Joe fitted his 2004 9-3 Aero with a Genuine Saab strut bar, an upgraded intercooler, a custom 3-inch downpipe, a custom 3-inch exhaust, a short-throw shifter, a custom sport suspension setup, an MPS Stage 3 tune, and a Maptun Stage 3 clutch.

That’s quite a lot of work for a car that was supposed to “just be a daily,” as that was the original intent of this ’04 9-3 after Joe had finished his 9-5 show car. Even so, the work wasn’t for nothing, as Joe won 1st place in the ‘People’s Choice: Dare to be Different/Performance’ category during Saabs at Carlisle in 2017, and 2nd place at the 2018 Carlisle Import & Performance event.

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When asked if there were any future plans for his 9-3, aside from a custom trunk liner, Joe replied:

Overall the the project is complete but things are always being tinkered with and adjusted. The process has been hard and frustrating at times, but I wouldn’t change it one bit!

We tip our hats to Joe for putting together a true winner. To keep up with Joe and his Saabs, you can follow him on Instagram: @JoeyRizz05. And if you really appreciate Delaware Liquid Wraps’ work and want to see more, you can also check them out on Instagram: @delawareliquidwraps.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for our closer look at Joe’s first Saab show car – his 2001 Saab 9-5 SE Sportcombi. Until then, feast your eyes on the gallery below, which shows the transformation of Joe’s 9-3.


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