Saabs have always been eclectic, from the ignition lock between their seats, to their cute little mid-car mud flaps. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe ’91 900 SPG is no exception, but will you take exception with its price?
Despite protestations and concerns of its arrival from an alternate reality where ‘70s’ vehicles are badass, yesterday’s audacious 1979 Dodge D150 Li’l Red Express came away with a not so crazy 60% Nice Price win for its under twenty grand price. Brash rather than bizarre, that truck came away a winner, now let’s see if today’s Saab fairs as well.
Until smacked down by their GM ownership, Saab automobiles marched to the beat of a different drummer. Today’s 1991 900 Turbo SPG (Sports PackaGe or Special Performance Group, depending on who you ask) does manage to ply the same roads as regular cars, it just does so. . . differently.
Oh sure, it runs on gasoline that may be pumped from your neighborhood station, rather than some magical elixir of fairy flopsweat and a lonely ogre’s bittersweet tears. It’s even bereft of a gypsy’s curse making it’s owners morbidly flatulent and compulsively social.
So it’s not overtly weird or anything, but driving a Saab is still unlike driving any other car out there. First off is the aforementioned ignition switch placement, which locks the gear shift leaver (in this case operating a five-speed manual through a rubbery exchange) rather than the steering shaft.
Another difference was Saab's choice of engine placement (and here I’m talking about real Saabs, not the Opel-based abominations that followed GM’s purchase of the Swedish brand). The Saab drivetrain places the engine backwards in the car, with the cam cogs saying howdy-do to the driver and passenger, and the transmission tucked underneath just like an old Mini, but just not sharing their lubricants.
Further differentiating the brand is the fact that the 175-bhp H-type engine, with its 1,985-ccs, Mitsubishi TE-05 16G turbo, and 16-valves, is a derivation of the 45-degree four cylinder originally designed by Triumph. That’s all topped with one of the more convolutedly designed hood mechanisms ever.
This 1991 SPG happens to also be a convertible, and while not so weird a choice in its present Hollywood Hills home, the thought of spending a Swedish winter in a canvas roofed car draws up my lingonberries.
Sporting Monte Carlo yellow paint and rocking a claimed 163,450 miles, this Saab’s appearance belies its age. The paint looks good and all the trim and badging seems intact. Up top the fabric of the soft top appears to be free of rips and tears, although it looks like it spends more time down than up owing to its wrinkling.
Inside, the driver’s seat looks amazingly unused, almost as if the car’s one-owner has driven the car while squatting above the seat, as one might attempt to do when using a third-world toilet.
The ad notes that this is one of 300 cars built in ’91 and that it comes in all-original condition and with full maintenance receipts. The question is, does that all add up to the car’s $22,000 asking price?
What do you think, is this SPG weirdly wonderful, even in price? Or is that $22,000 its most freaky attribute?
H/T to Blake Z. (the Z is for Zabaglione) Rong for the hookup!
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