For $2,500 This 1982 Saab 900s APC Turbo Could Be A Sweet Swede

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Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe classic Saab is spec’d the way you’d want it, and one way you certainly wouldn’t. That’s a bum transmission, but will the rest of it, and its price, add up to a car that you still might see shifting into your driveway?

Yesterday’s 2006 Maserati Quattroporte offered a siren’s call to likely financial doom and the ignominy of a mechanic driving your car more often than you do. An Italian luxury exotic for under eighteen grand? Why, we’d be stupid not to pull the trigger, right? That sentiment seemed to be reflected in the vote as it came away with a solid 62% Nice Price win. Next up, deeply discounted day-old sushi and drinks with Bill Cosby!

One of the big problems with that big Maser was its transmission. The DuoSelect manumatic is both wonky to use and has a rep for becoming increasingly problematic with age. That makes it the car’s Achilles heel, its Pokemon in a bad neighborhood if you will.


Today’s 1982 Saab 900s Turbo has the right transmission—a five-speed manual—but apparently that stick shift has its own issues. The ad says that the pinion bearing is bad. It doesn’t say which one, as that’s pretty hard to tell without ripping the box apart, but if you’re going to replace one you’ll want to replace pretty much every wear-out item in there.

The bearings themselves are under twenty bucks a pop to buy. But of course, seeing as the backwards four powering the car sits directly on top of the box, operating it through a set of three roller chains, the actual getting the job done will cost a lot more than that. Here’s an example of how YOU can do it in six easy steps. Ready, set, GO!


Still, there’s a lot to like here. The car looks to be in great shape, and is described as having been stored in a barn for much of its life. The white paint seems to still hold a shine, and while I don’t like the aftermarket wheels, they could be far worse. It does have a dead headlamp which gives it a creepy look, but that’s an old sealed beam so it’s not too expensive a fix.

Inside, there’s velour seats that look as inviting as a matronly hooker’s lap, and a solid seeming dash. There’s no evidence in the pics that the door cards have been hacked up for stereo speakers, which is nice. Not so nice is the fact that the headliner has been extracted for recovering and then never reinstalled.


Mechanically, there’s the Triumph-derived four-pot under the amazing articulating clamshell hood, and this being a Turbo APC car it put out about 145-bhp when new. The ad says that it runs ‘quite well,’ and the five speed must still function because there are pics of the car in different locales, many of which look as though they might be uphill.


The car comes with new rubber and brakes, and a total of 110,000 miles on the clock. The seller says the only rust on the car is in the rear wheelwells. That’s not obvious from the outside so perhaps it’s nothing to get your panties in a bunch over.

What you might want to twist your knickers about is the $2,500 price. That’s pretty cheap for a classic Saab in such seemingly nice shape. What you have to take into account however is that transmission. The seller says that used gearboxes can be had for three- to five-hundred bucks. Yeah, right.


Look, if you’re pulling one old box out and plugging another in you’re not doing it right. You’re better off having someone rebuild this box and that’ll set you back probably two to four grand. Then you’ll have a pretty cool car.


The question for you is; is it pretty cool as it stands—which is what it will be doing a lot of if that tranny gives up the ghost—at its present $2,500 asking?

You decide!


Worcester MA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Windzilla for the hookup!

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