The Thrill of the Hunt: Finding the Perfect Saab 9-3 Convertible

Reading my bio, you will see that I’m Techshake’s Swedish car guy. I’m a habitual Saab owner, having had at least one Saab in the fleet since 1996, and for several of those years there were two of them.

If you have read my “Saab Awakening” article, you’ll know that one of the first cars I ever lusted after was a Saab convertible, back in the late 1980s; I’ve had a special place in my heart for Saab convertibles ever since. I was able to review a 2008 Saab 9-3 Aero cabrio for Techshake, and after seeing the 2012 Independence Edition 9-3 Cabrio at the Geneva Auto Show in 2011, I ordered one for myself. While I eventually got my deposit back from the dealer after Saab halted production, I didn’t get my convertible, but I have kept my eyes open for the right one ever since.

2006 Saab 9-3 Aero ConvertibleFor me, the “right” 9-3 has a manual transmission and a stand-out color (so not black, silver, white, or tan – Chili Red or Lime Green Metallic would be perfect); it is also a range-topping Aero trim so that it has the higher output motor, sport suspension and seats, and a manual transmission. It turns out there are very few manual-transmission 9-3 Aero convertibles coming for sale, and even fewer that look to be in good condition from the online ads.

Imagine my surprise then, last week, to find a listing for a 2006 Saab 9-3 Aero convertible with manual transmission, in the special “20th Anniversary” trim from that year, with just 27,000 miles on the odometer. The ad was spotted on  Santa Fe (NM) Craigslist by a member of a Saab owners group on Facebook to which I belong; another group member posted a link to the ad due to the rare color and low mileage.

2006 Saab 9-3 Aero ConvertibleI got in touch with the seller, who had a difficult time believing that I was really calling all the way from Seattle about buying their car. They had owned it for about two years as a third car, and just didn’t drive it very often because of Santa Fe’s climate and the fact they did not enjoy having a standard transmission as much anymore.

At this point in the conversation, it was time to get my wife involved in the decision making process, as we will both drive the convertible. She liked the photos (and the video the seller made for me), so I scheduled a pre-purchase inspection at Santa Fe’s independent Saab shop. The seller had the car serviced at that shop, and I felt fortunate to find a Saab shop to perform the inspection, as Saab-specific mechanics are not common.

2006 Saab 9-3 Aero ConvertibleAfter many calls and emails with the very cooperative seller, we scheduled the inspection for Thursday, August 1st. In the week leading up to the inspection, I was confident enough in the vehicle passing inspection without issues to request Friday off of work and book a one-way ticket to Santa Fe. I looked into a local branch of my bank where I could get a cashier’s check to complete the transaction, and I got maps and used Google Maps to help plan my weekend drive home to Seattle. In other words: I spent a week being utterly distracted by the prospect of buying this unique Saab convertible and driving it home.

2006 Saab 9-3 Aero ConvertibleThe inspection went well (no show-stopping issues were found on the immaculate convertible), so I flying to Santa Fe today to complete the transaction and bring the car home.  After the business transaction part of the deal is complete, I will be hitting the road in Santa Fe, NM,  piloting the Saab in a north-northwesterly direction past the Four-Corners area and Moab, Utah. From there I will head for Interstate 15:  the 250 HP, 2.8 liter turbocharged V6 promises to make quick work of the rest of Utah as I wind my way toward Interstates 84, 82, and 90 on my way home to Seattle.

You can follow my adventure this weekend on Instagram (), on Twitter (), and on  (if my iPhone gets a signal where I rest and refuel). You can also look forward to an in-depth Great Drive write-up after  I have  a chance to climb out of the Saab and stretch my legs (and fingers) just a bit!

Author: Kevin Miller

As Techshake’s resident Swedophile, Kevin has an acute affinity for Saabs, with a mild case of Volvo-itis as well. Aside from covering most Saab-related news for Techshake, Kevin also reviews cars and covers industry news. His “Great Drive” series, with maps and directions included, is a reader favorite.

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  1. Congratulations on your impending purchase. I currently own 3 great saabs spanning 25 years. My son( who would “never drive a Saab”). Absolutely is in love with his 900s. Dad in law has his own as well! He actually started this crazy disease. Keep calm and carry on!


  2. I agree with everything you said. Found this article is my amazing search for the same vehicle. A little scared to hear not many were brought here in the ‘spec secret’ spec.
    Great writing. Effortless and thruthful.

  3. Your “right” choice of the Saab convertible is definitely a sleek looking Cabrio! This rag-top roadster definitely looks sporty and cool. Does it have that furious roar of a muscle car, though? However, one of the major setbacks that I have encountered on certain roadsters is their failure to deal with the wind noise. Lately, I had to mount an additional BackBlade wind deflector on my roadster to get rid of the turbulence at high-speeds! How does this one tackle the draft btw?

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