Show, Then Go Bsr Saab 9-5
We all remember the schoolyard boasts: "My Dad's car is so fast." It seems that's a universal phenomenon, and Mikael Edstrand's son is full of such info. He's constantly telling his school chums that his father's car is faster than any other Saab 9-5 in Sweden (think about Germany's fastest BMW, and you'll sense the import there). And likely under threat of body and reputation, he's also constantly trying to explain that compared to the wildly popular World Rally Cars, his dad's car is way more powerful. Yeah, sure it is kid, and we all thought our pop's Vega was cool, too.
Turns out Edstrand's 8-year-old son Joachim is spot on. His father's BSR Saab 9-5 is considered Sweden's fastest, and with 485 bhp, it's got quite a few ponies on the WRC competition as well. You can't blame Joachim's schoolmates for their doubts, as even Edstrand explains that this Scandinavian Scud started out as a pure cosmetic job.
Thirty-year-old Edstrand currently works for BSR, one of Sweden's most prolific tuners. Based in an industrial park in Vxj, about 250 miles south of Stockholm, the "chip-tuning" specialist is more commonly known for its Volvo projects, but the company actually works with nearly all European marks, if specializing in Swedish fare. Last year, working with Swedish go-fast supplier Speedparts, Edstrand bought one of its show cars, a 1998 Saab 9-5.
Speedparts had used the car to showcase its slick collection of bolt-on body parts, but mechanically the car had remained stock, motivated by a 170-bhp, 2.3-liter low-pressure, turbocharged four-cylinder. Edstrand had built a highly tuned 2.3-liter turbo motor for a 1995 Saab 900 and basically performed an engine transplant, putting his "hot" motor into the supremely decked-out show car.
In its 900 hacienda, this same engine had produced "only" 428 bhp, due to a smaller turbo. Once in the 9-5, Edstrand added a larger Garrett TB0304 ball-bearing compressor, which bumped up the horsepower, and at 29 psi of boost, raised torque output to a mind-bending 489 lb-ft.
To get there, Edstrand had the engine cylinders bored out 2mm (from 90 to 92), and installed Wiseco pistons, lowering compression approximately one point from the stock 9.3:1. Kalle P, another Vxj-based shop, did head work to improve intake flow, and a larger intercooler was added. The balance-shaft system was yanked (the drive chain is a frequent failure culprit), and the engine was balanced to offset its removal.
The power from the tuned mill flows through a Sachs double-plate, sintered racing clutch into a Quaife six-speed transmission and Sellholm limited-slip differential. The differential's output is routed through updated CV joints and shafts from a 2003 9-5. The newer shafts are thicker (about 8mm, according to Edstrand), which was needed after the monster motor snapped the originals.
Engine management is handled by a tuned version of Saab's Trionic 5 system. Edstrand had been running a more current Trionic 7 configuration but decided to go back to the older iteration. He claims it's easier to tune and more flexible. "It's safer," he added.