The ad for today’s Nice Price or No Dice Saab 9-5 assures us that while it has a ton of miles under its belt, many of those were accumulated under the ownership of a former Saab mechanic. Let’s see if that ownership history sways us to formally consider its price.
In life, there’s good and then there’s just good enough. The latter is usually realized when a multitude of factors is taken into account and the pluses barely manage to edge out the minuses.
That seemed to be the case with yesterday’s 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible. It was a car that no one seemed to care for much, but which, at $2,900, proved an undeniable bargain, earning a solid 86 percent Nice Price win. As we say, good enough.
This past Sunday proved an auspicious if sad anniversary. It was on that date 10 years ago — December 19, 2011 — that Saab finally declared bankruptcy and called it quits. After years of being a hot potato to various owners, the Saab brand today is around only in ghost form, and as manifested by older cars like this 1999 Saab 9-5 wagon.
Much like Saab the company, this 9-5 has had multiple owners. The second, and current owner until the prospective sale, claims to have once owned a Saab repair shop. That, of course, is a handy advocation for any Saab owner. If you’re not a Saab mechanic, or if you lack access to a good one, then maybe this isn’t the right car for you. Even if you do consider yourself up to the challenge of old Saab ownership, perhaps this car’s 235,000-mile history will put you off.
It’s not as though I am trying to dissuade this car’s purchase. Far be it for me to do so. I’m just attempting to point out all of the minuses as well as the pluses. And this car does seem to be full of pluses. The seller says that when ordering the car, the first owner dove heavily into the options list, ordering pretty much everything that was available. According to the ad, that included bun warmers for both front and back seats and a spoiler on the hatch. Perhaps most interesting is the picnic table that extends from the load area floor and allows for impromptu tailgate parties wherever you go.
Power is provided by Saab’s 2.3 liter DOHC turbo four. For this model year, that made 168 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. In the ad, the seller notes the replacement of the original Garret turbo with a Mitsubishi unit, as well as a number of other preventative maintenance and upkeep efforts. Backing up the transverse four is a four-speed automatic sourced from Aisin.
The seller says that the car is mechanically sound and would not hesitate to drive it any distance. Two sets of wheels and tires (summer/winter) come with the car so there should be no issue should that distance include some inclement weather along the way.
Aesthetically, there’s a lot to like here too. While the seller notes the car having normal wear and tear for its age, outside of the odometer, the car doesn’t seem to show its miles. The exterior — in handsome arrest me red — is clean and without obvious issue. Accenting the body color are silver factory alloys that also look up to the task.
Inside, the cabin’s leather and plastics also seem to be in remarkably good shape for a car of such age and use. It’s fully loaded too, with the aforementioned seat toasters along with power windows and locks and air-con. The car comes with three keys and yes, those work an ignition switch that sits between the front seats, in proper Saab fashion.
The title is clean and the ad seems an honest presentation of the car by someone who knows the brand and its foibles.
Of course, an ad is just a tease for what you might be getting into with any car. Naturally, nice ad or not, buyers need to be cautious about the purchase of any used car, especially one from a long-defunct brand with limited parts availability and few service options anymore.
The question is whether this Saab is worth $4,500 to take such a plunge. What do you say, is this mechanic-approved 9-5 worth that much as it sits? Or, is this orphan car priced so high that even Daddy Warbucks would give it a pass?
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