Worth Repairing? 2002 Saab 9-5 Aero Wagon – Sold?

by | Sep 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Wagon Wednesday

(Click on the photograph below to expand it and navigate through all the others)

October 12, 2022, Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Saabs are in a funny place these days in the modern collector car marketplace. On one hand, we know they’re gone as a brand. Out of business, no more parts coming over the conveyer belt, and only a handful of small Saab-centric shops are still dedicated to repairing them. On the other hand, the enthusiasm for the brand remains so strong that enthusiasts have banded together to help out with obscure parts requests and troubleshoot with fellow owners over online forums. It also helps – for once – that the heady GM component sharing means you can sometimes luck out in finding mass-produced components. This 2002 Saab 9-5 wagon is a desirable “Aero” model with the preferred five-speed manual. It has some fender rust, but the rest of the car looks far better than its high mileage would suggest. We originally spotted this car on Craigslist in September 2022 in Ohio for $3,200. Comparing that price against the Classic.com model guide shows that the seller is asking for reasonable money, given that the average sale price is now clocking in at $11,555.

When GM bought Saab, many enthusiasts saw the writing on the wall. GM didn’t have a sterling history when it came to letting brands exist in their pre-acquisition form; after all, GM was only doing this to make money, and quirky cars often don’t represent the bread-and-butter formula of profitability on a broad scale. So, GM did what it did best and let its bean counters go to work. Some will argue that without GM’s help, Saab would have failed even sooner than it did; the jury is still out. Regardless, nothing changed the fact that Saab made very handsome cars all the way to the end with spicy powertrains relying on turbocharged power. In addition, as we all know today, the combination of three pedals in a wagon body is hard to come by. Saab was one of the few brands that continued to make this configuration available to customers long after larger players had abandoned it. Today, a 9-5 Aero is one of those models that rarely pop up in good shape and without the scars of neglectful ownership.

The Men & Motors YouTube Channel features this vintage test drive of the 2000 Saab 9-5 Aero:

The seller’s car looks much better in pictures than its mileage would suggest. The listing cites over 264,000 miles on the clock, which is huge for any model, but especially an occasionally-fussy European model. The seller claims he is a Saab-trained technician, which certainly boosts confidence about how well this car has been maintained. He cites new tires, shocks, wheel bearings, and a water pump among the recently replaced parts, and the interior looks much better than most cars with this kind of mileage. The biggest issue is the rear driver’s side fender is very rotten and will require repair, so it doesn’t spread further (and truthfully, we don’t know just how deep the damage goes inside that body cavity.) There’s a gamble to be taken here, and perhaps that’s driving the low price and the high miles. Still, we’re big believers around here in owning cars that have been closely looked after regardless of mileage rather than just buying the lowest mileage car we can find (which offers no guarantees of mechanical health). This 9-5 Aero Wagon will still offer plenty of smiles per mile and hopefully with only nominal maintenance concerns in the near term.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Good running 9-5 aero with rare manual trans. Trained Saab tech owned. Tires 6 months old, all new wheel bearings and struts, shocks front and rear water pump replaced a couple of years ago (5000 miles). Typical Midwest rust for its age but nothing structural. Tires and suspension cost about a grand car is ready for another 100k miles if taken care of.

Swedish estate: is there anything more handsome than a long-roof Saab model with three pedals?   


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