Fast, cheap and under control
How Jessop Krocak turned a dream ride into a scream
It was overpriced. It had more miles than his current ride. And it was an automatic.
But Jessop Krocak had to have the 1995 9000 Aero. It was supposed to be his summer driver around Minnesota’s Twin Cities, then the transmission went. No problem, might as well toss a new intercooler and turbo in at the same time. An upgraded SPEC clutch wasn’t far behind.
"I bought 'too much clutch' according to Nick Taliaferro," Krocak says. "But I was OK with that. In the back of my mind I knew it would allow me to do something stupid in the future."
Stupid and stupid cheap. About three years and $2,000 later came a post-drunken, day-after-Halloween 2008 dyno run done by a shop worker still in Joker face paint.
"I was one of the last cars to run because I was screwing with the car early that morning and was hung over," he says. "The first few hours of waiting, I was sitting on a loading dock thinking about why I drank so much the night before."
"I had just re-flashed the ECU that morning to take care of some lean spots in the fuel maps, and I also added boost pressure beyond just the base boost for the first time. I was propared for numbers in the mid to low 300 whp mark, but on the way to the dyno I did maybe two to three wide-open pulls on the highway and had a 'suspishun' that the car might have a bit more than that...
"Someone said '422' and I didn't believe them. It was one of those literal hands-to-the-head-with-my-jaw-dropped-to-the-floor moments for me."
There's talk of more work to the suspension and motor mounts, more autocross days and the dream of wider wheels and tires. There is no talk, however, of making it a daily driver.
"It is very harsh to drive, which is not a problem for me," Krocak says. "But I envision the risk of me breaking something on the car or getting a speeding ticket to be much more likely if I were to drive the Aero every day."
Car: Black 1995 "Alfa Romeo" 9000
Original Color: Black
Current Color: Black
Purchase price: $4500 in Sept. 2005
Modification costs: Around $2000 for only the power related items
Engine Modifications: Not many actually...1987 Saab 9000 T3 turbo manifold, Holset HX35W turbocharger w/ stainless braided oil feed, Siemens Dekka 630cc fuel injectors, Walbro 255LPH GSS341 fuel pump, 2.75" charge pipes, Forge 001 blow off valve, generic Chinese bar and plate intercooler
Exhaust Modifications: 3" tubing steel from turbo to tailpipe, Single Magnaflow muffler - Loud.
Transmission Modifications: Original automatic trans replaced with 5-speed manual, Spec 'Stage 2' clutch kit to hold the power - and it is not doing a great job at that!
Suspension Modifications: Bilstein HD struts and shocks, Jamex lowering springs, PowerFlex polyurethane anti-roll bar bushings
Brake Modifications: Frozen Rotors treated OEM blank-face rotors, EBC Redstuff pads - front, Raybestos ceramic - rear, Paragon Performance stainless braided and PVC coated brake lines, stock calipers all around
Wheels and Tires: Stock SuperAero 16x6.5 w/ Dunlop Direzza DZ101: 225/50-R16, Ronal R26 16x7 w/ Falken Azenis: 214/45-R16
Exterior/Body Modifications: Re-molded color matched gille, E-code headlights, roof mount antenna, headlamp wiper delete
Interior Modifications: A-pillar mounted boost gauge, center air vent mounted Innovate wideband O2 gauge, Schroth 'Rallye-4' 4 point harness, rear seat delete, sound deadening removed from floors and doors,
Stupidest quirk: The ABS pump malfunctioned and locked up the wheels without touching the brake pedal at all. For this reason the ABS is now disabled.
The Silver Sled
Steve Bunton's Amazing Aero
Steve Bunton loves Saabs - he is a life time member of the Saab Car Club of Australia. Steve's "Silver Sled" was purchased in December of 1996 for $19,000 (AUS) with 125,000 miles (201,000 km) on the clock. The car is known as a 900 Aero in Australia, and in the US market, an SPG.
There are some differences, however, in the Australian model; those including a whale tail from the factory, Aero vent covers and rear quarter panels, different color options (such as metallic silver, as pictured) and a five speaker Apline surround sound system.
The car is somewhat modified, including a swap to a Mitsubishi TE-05 16G, Aquamist water injection, 2.5" cat-back exhaust, 3" downpipe, stage 2.5 SPG9 APC and JSP Talon high-flow intercooler. Steve's last dyno run in March 2000 boasted an impressive 210 horsepower and 252 lb. ft. of torque. Several modifications have been made since this time - he now estimates roughly 250 horsepower at the wheels - an impressive number by any perspective.
The car was also originally an automatic, which was changed after the tuning began.
"I guess what distinguishes my car from most others is that virtually all hardcore Saabers the world over (from Sweden, to the USA, to Japan, to the UK) know of my car; and that makes it pretty special to be recognised and revered like that."
Steve has no intention of ever selling his "Silver Sled", and has plans in the near future to install a brand new Saab 16V turbo crate engine - quite special considering these have long been unavailable! He'd like to thank David Bascomb at Wantirna Automotive of Melbourne for all of his help in maintaining this beautiful example of a classic 900. Gorgeous car, Steve!
A look into the future
Saab Aero-X is a concept car by Saab unveiled at the 2006 Salon International de l'Auto. It is powered by a 2.8 L twin-turbocharged V6 running on pure ethanol that produces 400 hp. 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) is predicted to be 4.9 s and top speed is limited to 250 km/h (150 mph). It has a 7-speed manual transmission controlled by paddles on the steering wheel.
Like the American-market Saab 9-2X, the Aero-X has four wheel drive. The doors and windscreen are connected, so instead of using conventional doors or even gullwing doors, it uses a cockpit canopy where the entire top section of the car is opened. This offered the Aero X's driver full 180 degree vision, and also facilitates entry and exit from its low-slung cabin. The body is made of carbon fiber. The suspension is electronically-controlled. Even though it is a compact two-seat sports car, it has reasonable storage, as the rear features two storage facilities, with a conventional hatchback and sliding drawer underneath.