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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sand or not Sand (top) ?

The wast majority of the convertible soft top roofs are dark. Black, dark green, dark blue etc. It has practical reasons of course, the dust and dirt is less to see so it requires less maintenance.

But sometimes there are brighter coloured options, quite rare, but they are. Saab offered them, I've seen it on the classic 900 convertible but the most known is the Sand top (beige color) on the 9-3 II.

The official and most known photo is this :

Nice, isn't it ? Rare as well, it's a niche in a niche.

But is it really that hard to maintain it to be clean ? That is a question to be asked the owner.

I've met such an owner completely by coincidence at IntSaab 2012 in Spa. Through the day, the convertible roofs were mostly down and invisible. But in the evening while coming back from the "Le Grande Soirée" i've seen it. Stopped to talk. Alexandros, the owner and driver, knew my blog, he even sent a picture to the "World map of Saabs" couple of days ago.

So I've asked him to speak about the Sand top, to make a reality check for the owners, especially those, who dream about it, but fear about the practical side of it.

Could you please introduce your Saab ?
It's a MY 2007 9-3 Convertible with a 2.0T engine, Vector edition. I bought it back in January 2007.

Was the sandtop your original idea or you just came across and liked it ?
I've chosen Nocturne Blue as the car's colour. Blue is one of my favourite colours anyway. I couldn't imagine the car with a black or blue top. If I recall corectly, Sand wasn't actualy an option in the configurator. It was all in my imagination.

Saabism note : the Sand, called Beige, was an option in the pricelists, at least the german ones. There is a list of older german pricelists, look for "Faltverdeck in Beige".

How often do you drive it and in which conditions / part of the year ?
It's actually (as every Saab Convertible!) a car for the whole year, also during the Bavarian winter. As we live in the countryside, my wife and I often need two cars. I drive about 15.000 km per year with the convertible. Our other car is of course a Saab (MY2008 9-5 2.0t SportCombi, Linear).

So how's with the dust and dirt on it ? Too much ? Too often or not really ?
Well, you don't see really the dust on it. What you see is the dark dirt of the road (exhaust gases etc.), some bird's doodoo and the imprints of the top's booth.

How often do you clean it ?
I wash the top about 3-4 times every year: the first time after the winter, I confess, I go to the carwash, where I choose the special convertible programm. I have spoken to many people and the majority of them thinks that carwash is not a problem for modern convertibles. After that I impregnate the top. The other times I wash it per hand with special detergents.

What do you use for cleaning ?
I am using Sonax products for cleaning and impregnation.

As a sand top owner you probably know more of them. How many sand top owners did you met or know about ?
To be honest, I have seen only 2 to 3 Saab Convertibles with a Sand top until now and of course some more from other brands. It seems that many convertible buyers are very hesitant towards buying Sand tops and I think this is a pity because some convertibles would look amazing with a Sand top !

Anything to add ?
A dirty car can always be cleaned and look beautiful again. A "boring" car can't...

... which is an absolute true remark and a great finish of the talk.

Thank you very much Alexandros for taking a time to write the answers.

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