At $3,800, Is Buying This 1998 Saab 900 SE Convertible An Open And Shut Case?

Nice Price or No Dice: 1998 Saab 900 SE convertible
Photo: Craigslist

Despite showing pictures of the top in both open and closed positions, the seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice Saab 900 lists the convertible roof to be nonworking and in need of a fix. Will that top flaw require a lower bottom line?

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As many of you pointed out in the comments yesterday, there’s a big difference between a real icon and a pretender to that throne. I mean seriously, how many tribute band concert T-shirts do you possess?

That was just the reaction yesterday’s tuner-modified 1996 BMW Z3 “M” received. It may have been built out of an M3 base before the M Roadster was a thing, but as many of you pointed out, there are plenty of the latter around now. That factor makes the converted car more anachronistic than archetypal. A $12,999 asking price didn’t help matters, and the car fell in a 61 percent No Dice loss.

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Photo: Craigslist

It may not exactly be the season for convertibles, what with winter’s rain and snow and the cold weather being more demanding of competent tires than of a top that goes up and down.

That may make this 1998 Saab 900 convertible a less desirable ride at the moment. That is until you learn that its convertible top is not working. Hey, having to wrestle it yourself makes it far less likely that you would risk leaving the top down if the weather looks iffy.

The ad does not say what is wrong with the top. It does, however, show pictures of it in both open and closed positions so it’s reasonable to assume that it’s not locked up one way or the other.

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Photo: Craigslist

Aside from the janky top, the car seems to be in pretty good shape. As an SE model, it also looks to be fairly well kitted, featuring leather upholstery, power windows and locks, and automatic climate control. That’s all in a cabin that presents in remarkably good condition for its age and 163,000 miles. The leather is in especially nice shape, with no apparent tears or significant crazing. None of the buttons look appreciably worn, nor does the four-spoke steering wheel or the shifter for the five-speed manual.

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Photo: Craigslist

Wrapped around that tidy cabin is a body that also appears to have plenty of life left in it. The Imola Red paint holds a shine and that top, while seemingly reluctant to move, seems otherwise without flaw. Saabs have long been known for fancy three-spoke wheels, and the Vikings on this SE sits keep that tradition alive.

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The seller doesn’t deem the engine compartment worthy of a photo but in there we should expect to find a 185-horsepower 2.0-liter four sitting side-saddle. As noted, that does its thing through a five-speed stick. Of course that powers the front wheels. This is an NG900 edition, which was the first of the Saabs to roll on a re-engineered GM platform. Despite those somewhat generic origins, there’s still enough Saab here — those wonderful seats, the ignition in the console — to give you a satisfying taste of the Swedish brand.

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Photo: Craigslist
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The seller claims to be selling the car for his grandmother, and considering the car’s condition and the fact that it’s a stick, I’d say that grandma was pretty hip. The title is clean and both tires and brakes (likely meaning just pads) are said to be less than six months old. The car also runs current registration. Aside from the top and the fact that for most of the country convertible weather is likely a good three months away, there seems to be a lot of appeal in this older Saab. The question is whether or not it might be $3,800 worth of appeal.

What do you think, is this Saab 900 worth that kind of cash with its broken top mechanism? Or, do you think that if the top doesn’t go down the price needs to?

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You decide!

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Los Angles Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Tom G. for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

DISCUSSION

By
Gtferrari

the interior styling of this thing is atrocious. those fog light buttons are massive.

volvo did a better interior. mercedes did a better interior. bmw.....hell everyone except the koreans did a better interior