The business motto in Texas’ state capital is to “Keep Austin Weird” and no car exemplifies that ethos better than today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Saab 99GL. We’ll just have to see how weird it would be paying for the Swedish oddball.
If someone offered to sell you a flamethrower—arguably the most dangerous of throwers—what would you do? Would you run gleefully off with it envisioning newfound ways to light your barbecue, rid your house of unwanted houseguests, and host epic fart-lighting contests? Or on the other hand, would you politely demur?
I ask this because yesterday’s 1982 Manta Mirage is much like that hypothetical flamethrower. It’s undeniably badass, but also has a whiff of danger about it that may engender pause before getting within 10-feet of the the thing. Add to that its 83% Crack Pipe loss and perhaps we should all just agree to keep on looking for our automotive entertainment options.
We won’t have to look far, or even outside of Texas, as today we have a classic 1976 Saab 99GL that’s up for grabs, and it’s located in the state’s Capital—also known as the Live Music Capital of the World—Austin.
Now, as we all know, in Texas all the men all wear cowboy boots, all the women all wear big-ol’ hair, and everybody and their pitbull drives a pick-em-up truck. That’s the stereotype, it’s in the bible. This Saab however, is proof that stereotypes are not always accurate.
The seller, who is the car’s third owner, says that he brought the car to Texas from Denver Colorado where it had loyally served for a while as his daily driver. When still in Denver it saw the water pump replaced, and in fact the ad notes that the car has been serviced “religiously” by Saab specialists.
The engine that has seen that service is a 2-litre four that sits backwards in the engine bay and atop the four-speed manual transaxle that drives the front wheels. Those wheels are an era-appropriate set of soccer balls, set off against a creamsicle paint job that looks decent in the ad but is claimed to suffer from some hail damage that doesn’t show up in the pics.
Other issues explained in the ad include a manually switched cooling fan, a gas gauge that’s more of a temp than a full-time employee, a heater core bypass to address what’s probably a disconnected flapper, and a parking brake that may just take two hands to handle a whopper.
Phew, that’s a lot of little things! Fortunately, there’s also a lot of little extras that come with the car and which might take your mind off those maladies. That includes a set of Inca wheels, an FI system and some light/ and rim pieces.
You might also overlook the quirky bits of this car as you—Saab-lovers that you are—know that Saabs are quirky cars to begin with. That’s what makes this on’e location in Austin just so perfect, and while this 83,000-mile four-door is far from perfect, it’s perfectly funky in all the right Saabtastic ways. It has it’s ignition key between the seats, the windshield wraps around like you’re in a Viggen fighter jet, and did I mention that the Triumph-based engine sits backwards?
Not only that but the (non-working) A/C compressor is bolted up next to the wheel arch instead of up next to the radiator. You’ll need a belt and a bottle of Freon for that to be as cool as the rest of the car, but I’ll bet you know a refrigerator repair man or two who could hook you up. And yes, I see the hose clamps on the low and high pressure hoses, and yes as well, I am ignoring them.
To hook up with this Austin Saab, you’ll need to come up with $3,950. That gets you a tidy interior that has an original radio and lots of ‘70s orange trim, and the bragging rights to owning a car with a roof rack.
What’s your take on this 99 and that $3,950 price? Does that seem like a fair exchange? Or, is this a Saab that’s priced to stay both weird and where it is?
H/T to Brian for the hookup!
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