As with my post from last week, this post will document “Phase 2” of the exterior upgrades done to my 9-3 Aero.
To summarize Phase 2: “The wheels maketh the car”.
Having previously fitted my 9-5 Aero combi with some rather unique wheels (European accessory 18″ Double Blade wheels) not available in the US, I wanted to do something special for the 9-3. With winter approaching and knowing that I was going to need new tires anyway, my colleague (Till) offered to loan me a set of wheels. I agreed and within a few days some boxes arrived via FedEx from CardYourCar HQ in Munich. As I opened them, I was very excited with what he’d sent…
…Hirsch 18″ 5-Twin wheels. Having mounted and balanced my new tires (Nokian WRG3s), I quickly set about fitting them to the car. It was a night and day difference from the stock 17″ wheels, the 18s added to the character of the car and gave it an aggressive and more sporty appearance. In short, I was very happy:
More to come…
Seems like it’s been a bit since I posted about the long term project of upgrading the 9-3, so let’s pick it back up again… where was I…
After completing the interior upgrades from Hirsch, the next major change for the 9-3 was to the exterior in 4 major phases.
Phase 1 would consist of adding three items:
- Hirsch rear bumper diffuser
- Hirsch dual stainless exhaust
- Hirsch trunk spoiler
These three items improved the overall presence of the car giving it a more sporty appearance and aggressive sound. Perhaps the easiest parts of this uprade were the exhaust and rear diffuser. With simple loosening of a single exhaust clamp and removing some rubber hangers, the old exhaust was off in less than 5 minutes. At this point, before I fitted the new Hirsch exhaust, I opted to change out the stock Aero ‘diffuser’ for the Hirsch diffuser, (this was not a 5 minute task as part of the installation involved trimming the rear bumper down to allow the more streamlined Hirsch diffuser to fit properly). Once the diffuser was fitted and secured, the Hirsch exhaust was loosely hung in place and adjusted for the optimal fit before tightening down all the clamps.
The most stressful part of this phase of upgrading was the trunk spoiler, for two reasons: on the white Hirsch show car that debuted at Geneva, the spoiler was finished in a two-tone scheme, with the upper surface being painted body colored and the lower surface being finished in black. Only a handful of images showing this color scheme exist, so it was very difficult to get a 100% match to how they did it. The second issue was the fitment: Hirsch recommends fitting most of there spoilers/ground affects pieces using an adhesive called Sika-Flex 221. It is a tricky substance to use which basically gives you one shot (so there’s a lot of pressure to measure and get everything lined up perfectly). Having looked at multiple high resolution images of the color scheme for the wing, my painter set to work priming and painting it completely in Arctic White, then clear coating it. Once that was completed, we chose where we wanted the color break to start and proceeded to mask off the wing and apply a coat of matte black exterior trim paint to the under side of the wing. After allowing the wing to dry and cure, we began the process of testing fitting and marking out where the wing would sit on the lid. Finally with an extra set of hands to help align the wing, we applied the epoxy to the to the mating surfaces, aligned everything, took a deep breath, set the spoiler in place and secured it with some painters tape.
The next morning, I returned to the shop and was happy to find the wing had adhered and set up to the trunk lid perfectly overnight. There was nothing left to do at this point except fire it up and go for a drive. The initial cold start with the new exhaust was fantastic, a nice rumble while the car casually idled from 1600 RPM down to it’s usual 1000 as it came up to temperature. Out on the road I was smiling like a fool listening to the exhaust as I accelerated hard up through the gears and was happy to find out that at cruising speeds on the highway, there wasn’t the constant droning/booming usually associated with most sport exhausts on the market). It was actually very subtle until you tipped in on the throttle.
Stay tuned for the next weeks installment…
A while ago we had a set of 19″ 3-spoke Hirsch rims for sale. Not only that this set went quickly, we also realized that a lot of people added themselves to the waitlist. This made us look into the possibilities to make a new batch of those rims while still keeping the price in the region where it always was: Euro 1660 ex VAT (Euro 1975.40 incl 19% VAT).
We are very happy to announce that this project coule become reality if we get together enough orders – and given the number that has already joined the waitlist we are rather optimistic.
Here is how it will work:
If you are interested in purchasing a set please add yourself to the waitlist on the product page.
In about three weeks from today you will get an email asking if you are still interested so we can see if the required number of orders is met. If this is the case we will collect a 50% downpayment.
When the rims are ready for delivery we will charge the other remaining 50% plus shipping cost.
To give you an idea of the shipping cost for one set here are some numbers: EU Euro 45, North America Euro 125, Singapore Euro 145
Please keep in mind that we won’t produce too much more than we have orders for so if you want them join in.