DNA Collectibles Saab 9-3 Viggen Convertible
Swan Song for the Swedish Sport Coupe
Here’s the very first model we’ve seen from the new diecast company on the scene. How often do we get to say that? It’s called DNA Collectibles, and it’s based in Switzerland. The company does sealed resin-cast models in 1:43 and 1:18. So far, it has tended to focus on—logically enough—European makes and on models from the last 25 years or so. This genre is becoming more common in diecast as the next generation of collectors starts waxing nostalgic for the cars they grew up admiring.
What we have here is the Saab 9-3 Viggen—considered by many to be the last true Saab—before GM took over (and eventually smothered the brand!). It was in production from 1999 through 2002, and at the time, the Viggen was considered something of a throwback—its 5-door hatch body and raucous turbocharged 4-cylinder driving the front wheels were considered less sophisticated than many of its competition. It was a legitimate performer, though; its 230hp and boatload of turbo torque was enough to keep pace with any of the slick German or Japanese class competition. Ironically, the years have shown the 9-3 was perhaps ahead of its time, as many of those competing brands have come back around to turbocharged 4-cylinder power, and fun front-wheel-drive factory-special hot hatches like the VW GTI, Ford Focus ST, and new Honda Civic Type R definitely follow in the Viggen’s footsteps.
This is the first model from DNA I’ve examined in person, and from the outset, the packaging is quirky but classy and very practical—kinda like the Viggen! It comes in a slick drawstring bag to protect the inner box, which is nice but rather nondescript. Inside that, you might be expecting a decorated inner box, but nope! Instead, it is just foam surrounding the model itself. This is the convertible version of the Viggen—not the hatchback most of us think of. This is welcome for two reasons. First, the two-door droptop is more stylish than the slightly hunchbacked 5-door, and second, it affords a much better look at the interior. It presents one packaging difficulty, though. The car is delivered with an optional convertible up-top panel, secured on the body with plastic tie-down straps and centered with two tiny tabs on the bottom rear edge of the panel. The top on our sample shifted during shipping, breaking off one of the centering tabs and allowing the top to rattle around in the box. Luckily, it caused no damage to the model itself, but DNA would be wise to ship future convertibles with the roof panel removed and secured in a side compartment in the box. Most collectors won’t end up using it—the Viggen is more handsome with the top down—but it’s nice that DNA included the option. While we’re discussing packaging, note that DNA delivers the car mounted on a clear acrylic base. It’s cool looking, but to protect it, DNA wraps the whole thing in a cling wrap so that you actually have to remove the car from the base to get the wrap off—not super practical.
Packaging issues aside, the model itself is gorgeous. A word about the color: It’s called “Lightning Blue,” and among Saab enthusiasts, it is highly prized. It was only offered on Viggen convertibles for a single
The two-tone matte black and satin blue interior has a lot of character, and the dash has a lot of detail in the instruments and switchgear.