Today’s Nice Price or No Dice 900 SPG represents the ultimate edition of the last independently-developed Saab model ever. Back when new, owners were fanatical about these cars. Let’s see this one is now priced to get its own cheering section going.
The latest James Bond film is titled No Time To Die, and that’s also the mantra many of you applied in response to last Friday’s 1991 Toyota Crown Miyagata hearse. Few of you could get over either the car’s limited applicability or its $9,000 price. In the end, an insufficient number of you were dying to buy it, and the Crown was toppled in a 60% No Dice loss.
When you think about automotive brands that have died off, Saab is perhaps the most tragic of them all. After all, the company’s closure represented the loss fully 50 percent of Sweden’s major automotive manufacturing. That’s a big hit. Of course, the closure came long after Saab had come under the mishandling of General Motors, and the cars it was building at the time of its demise sadly didn’t embrace the true Saab ethos like their forebearers. They were instead, thinly veiled Opels.
This 1990 Saab 900 Turbo SPG is a real-deal Saab. In fact, it’s one of the last of the real-deal Saabs, and, being the SPG (Special Performance Group) model, it’s also one of the quickest.
This special performance model was dubbed the Aero in Europe, in honor of its lowered ride height, specially smoothed lower cladding, and hatch-mounted ducktail spoiler. The model was re-branded SPG in the U.S. as GM (yep, those guys again) contested the use of the Aero name since it held an existing copyright.
The special model wasn’t about just being all slippery-making either. The SPG was also given a hotter edition of the 1985cc DOHC turbo four that in this instance was able to muster 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. That may not sound like a hill of beans today but remember, the 900 tips the scales at just 2,900 pounds dripping wet so it can totally get out of its own way. A five-speed manual sits just under the hot mill and drives the front wheels. Upgraded suspension and special three-spoke wheels help the car put the power to the pavement.
This one has all that and more. And less. The seller claims the car to be a “Fantastic running project.” As a running project, it does seem to be a work in progress, having recently gained a new clutch and some ignition components. The ad reinforces the claim that the car is being sold “as a project” but allays that caution by stating that it “does not need immediate mechanical work to be a driver.”
The issues noted in the ad include an absent headliner, a leaky A/C system (likely R12), some lifeblood leaks, and rusty control arm mounts. On the plus side, the car comes with the parts to fix the last problem, but you will need to weld them in.
Aesthetically, there are some issues too. The exterior has some rust bubbles and some dings here and there. It’s nothing overwhelming and to be honest, for a car that seems to have been living in the Chicago area for a while, it does seem laudably intact. You might take issues with the bumper trim being held on at the corner with what appears to be a drywall screw, but that’s the nature of buying a car that needs some love.
Love is needed inside as well. The seats look fabulous for the car’s age, but the same can’t be said for the dash. That has numerous cracks across the top which would likely require an entire dash-ectomy and replacement to fix. Or, maybe just one of those little carpet toupees.
The mileage is given as 207,962, but that’s just the iceberg. The tip is apparently masked by a broken odometer so the actual number is a mystery. Keep in mind that one owner drove his SPG over a million miles on what he claimed was the original engine so, maybe this one could be on its way to doing the same. After all its miles, this SPG still has a clean title.
As I noted at the outset, these are some of the most desirable of the later Saab models. Some of the GM-era Aeros might have more poop and as such could command big numbers, but for fans of the “real Saab,” this is probably it. Admittedly, this SPG does seem to need a lot of work to be made nice. That being said, it seems to be a reasonably solid starting point.
The cost to get in that game is $6,500. To give you a small bit of context, there is someone out there that thinks a pristine example of this car (right down to the color combination) might be worth a staggering $55K. You will note, however, that car has yet to be sold.
But this one is yet to be as well, and it’s a ton cheaper. Maybe it’s not cheap enough? What do you think, is this project SPG worth $6,500 to drive in AND wrench upon? Or, do the minuses just outweigh the pluses?
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