Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  

The seller of today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Saab says he’s selling it because what he really needs is a pickup truck. We’ll have to decide if this old Swede’s price makes it something you might want to pick up.

Let’s look at all the boxes yesterday’s 2002 Lexus IS300 checked off. It offered a decent amount of power, a stick shift to let you play with that power, rear-wheel drive to make those ponies fun, and it was located in Canada, which, with all due respect to the Disney organization is really the happiest place on Earth. One box it didn’t check was of a clean title, which clouded the decision a bit.

The coup de grâce however, was the car’s price, which in Canadian dollars was a cool $10,500. In good ol’ yankee greenbacks that’s an even more attractive $8,000, and that resulted in 70-percent of you checking off the Nice Price box.

How important is the reliability of your ride to you? I mean, how much would you put up with to roll in a car that’s unique and perhaps a bit temperamental? Or one that might leave you stranded as less interesting rides go zipping by?

I ask this question as it relates to today’s 2000 Saab 9-5 wagon. This is a nearly 20-year old car from a defunct manufacturer known for cars that, while not diabolically unreliable, had their foibles. On the other hand, it’s a Saab 9-5 wagon with a stick and covered in factory green metallic paint. I love quirky old European wagons so that just gives me goosebumps.

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The car appears to be a base model and not an Aero. That means its power should be coming from a 170 horsepower 2.3-litre tubo four. I say should since we don’t get any under-the-hood shots and for all we know there could be a pair of trolls on mouse wheels in there.

Connected to the DOHC sidewinder is a 5-speed manual, and as we all know, one of the unique features of the Saab brand was the console-mounted ignition switch that would lock the shifter rather than the steering.

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In the ad, the seller describes the car’s condition as ‘Fair,’ although it looks pretty okay in the pictures. He also notes that ‘Runs and drives great.’ Geez, he seems kind of conflicted here. The car has apparently had a good bit of work done to bring the power steering back up to snuff and now the seller claims it ‘needs nothing,’ which should be read in your best Willy Wonka voice.

The ad’s opening paragraph explains that the current owner didn’t in fact need the car. He says that he bought the wagon for use as a daily driver, but that didn’t work out. Apparently what he really needs is a pickup truck.

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That’s a damn shame since few pickups will be as funky a ride as this old Saab. Plus, the car seems to be in pretty respectable shape. There’s no apparent rust under the amazing Scarabe Green Metallic paint, and only a few dings and scratches to mar its appearance. Down below reside a set of factory alloys, while up top sits a roof rack for all your holiday tree carting pleasure.

Inside, the beige leather appears serviceable and the ad claims that even the flaky SID is in working condition. An aftermarket head unit is in residence in the dash however, as evidenced in the picture of the backseat, the factory soundmaker is still kicking around.

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The car comes with 150,000 miles on the clock, a clear title (I double checked that), and its original manuals and keys. All in all, that’s a pretty appealing package. Let’s circle back to that earlier question though, about how much would you be willing to put up with to drive a quirky old car and at what cost. Let’s be honest, this old Saab is likely going to cost more, both monetarily and in downtime, than say a contemporary Camry. That being said, it’s a hell of a lot more interesting a car than an old Toyota.

That uniqueness and potential for future heart (and wallet) ache costs $2,750, which admittedly isn’t a lot of beans. The thing is, should you buy a car like this and then have it crap out to the extent that it’s not worth fixing—say it blows the engine or the electrical system goes on strike—then you’d have the hassle of getting rid of the wounded beast, and that’s never fun.

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Until then though, this Saab seems like it’d be a fun car to have. What do you think, is $2,750 too much to roll the dice on this old 9-5? Or, does that price have you saying, ‘let it ride?’

You decide!

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Baltimore, MD Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

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