Monday, March 24, 2014

1978 Saab 99 Turbo - It Set The Stage For Future Saabs

There are not a lot of details in the ad, but this appears to be a very cool car.

The 99 was a step towards the mainstream by Saab, although no Saab could ever be called mainstream. Gone were the two stroke and V4 engines and in their place was a Triumph designed (but heavily tweaked by Saab) four stroke. (It could be said that Saab created the first "flex fuel" car with this engine... In Finland you could buy a 99 that ran on either gasoline, kerosene or turpentine.) The body, designed by Sixten Sason, was bigger inside and outside than the Saab 96, but still looked uniquely Saab. Subsequent Saabs - the 900, NG900, and 9-3 - all retained some styling cues from the 99.

The 99 Turbo was introduced in 1978. (Before deciding to use a turbo for the performance version, Saab toyed with the idea of dropping a Triumph Stag V8 in the 99. 48 were built. I'm not sure what happened to them, but I would love to drive one!) It was initially only available in the 3-door WagonBack (Combi coupé) version. The turbocharged engine turned the 99 into a world class performance car, with a top speed of over 120 MPH and a 9 second 0 - 60 time. (Impressive numbers for a FWD, 4 cylinder car in 1978.)

This car is a California car car with original paint. (Although, in one picture the hood looks to be a slightly different color than the rest of the car. I'll give the benefit of the doubt that it's due to the lighting.) The seller says there is "no apparent damage anywhere or at any time." The seats were recovered in the original material and look great.

The engine has recently had some work done to it. The seller says it was done "to add more turbo," which I assume means a bigger turbo with more boost. The transmission is now a 5 speed manual. It retains its original, weirdly cool, Inca wheels.

About a year ago, I bought a 1997 Saab 900 convertible. It was too good of a deal to pass up. It's my everyday car. As I tend to do when I buy a car, I read everything I could find about the car and the marque. Saab's history and its cars are amazing. The 99 is a giant piece of that history and the Turbo set the table for all future performance Saabs. (And for many, many other brand's turbocharged performance cars. Saab was a pioneer in turbocharging.) This car is a chance to buy a little piece of that incredible history.

Located in Tuolumne, CA, click here to see the eBay listing.


Quantum Joe said...


bluetoes591 said...

Wait, his other car is a Hudson Hornet? Might be worth buying the car just to meet the guy who chooses to fill his garage with a 1978 SAAB 99 Turbo and a 1952 Hudson Hornet.

Chris Keen said...

Nice looking car, though missing a center console (I think) and looks like it's been parked a while... I grew up driving an '86 Saab 9000 turbo and while people complained about the lag, there was nothing as fun as hanging on to the wheel for dear life when the turbo lit up at 3000 rpm.

French Driver said...

Did not know that the engine was sourced from Triumph. I can tell you though that the V4 engine was from Ford.