For $4,500, This Saab Is So Pretty Good

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 that he's prefer to sell to a previous Saab owner as he thinks they will best appreciate this rare SPG. We'll have to see if YOU'D prefer that he'd just lower the price.

Do you remember Saab? No, I don't mean Saab, the company that three years ago was taken out behind the shed and was mercifully put out of its misery by old man Spyker, I mean the real deal Saab of yore. That Saab was as Swedish as lingonberry jam and blonde bikini teams. It was weird and wonderful, and marched to the beat of its own ABBA drummer. Born of Jets and long proudly positioned as frick to Volvo's frack, Saab's products were always engaging in their weirdness.


Of course being a weirdo can only get you so far in life and no amount of floor-mounted ignition switches and mid-car mud flaps were going to sell enough Saabs to pay for both the company's operations and the development of new models, and hence needing cash, Saab sold off 50% of itself to GM in 1989.

The American company scooped up the remaining half in 2000, and Saab as weird with a purpose became Saab, sadly with just a thin veneer of weird. Somehow the company couldn't infuse the Opels and Subarus GM threw their way with enough Trollhättan DNA to make any of the GM era cars as wonderfully eclectic as those from the earlier real Saab.

How eclectic was the real Saab? How weird, how wonderful? Well, take for example today's 1991 900 SPG, which while built after GM's initial buy-in, is still a hold-over from the weird-old days. It comes comes to us in Beryl green (1 of only 109 so painted and sent to the U.S.!) and from an obvious advocate for the marque, as he'd prefer to sell it to someone with Saab already in their blood.


Let's start with the hood. That clamshell unit doesn't just flip up, no it slides forward, then stands nearly vertically, offering unfettered access to the engine for either side. That's not Saab exclusive, but it's still pretty damn unique. Also, GM Saabs do nothing of the sort, the bastards.


Let's now look at the engine revealed by opening that hood. That B202 is based on a design commissioned by Saab from, of all places, Triumph. Of course by the time this factory 175-bhp Redbox was built there was little that could distinguish its origin, and Triumph had then been long dead, having suffered its own brand dilution before having Xs on its eyes.

Another bit of weirdness in this SPG is is the five-speed gearbox, which in true Saab fashion sits below the backwards-facing engine, and in this case, its case making up the bottom half of the DOHC four's crankcase.


The seller of this one claims the car to have been imbued with a Swedish Dynamics Redbox APC. That, along with larger injectors and a 3 bar fuel rail, is supposed to be able to boost power to 220-225 range. No word on whether it has the pumped up fuel bits though.


Now to the not so weird. The car looks to be in excellent shape with still-shiny paint, no apparent fading in the plastic bits below the equator, and an interior equally up to the task. The ad notes new brakes, including rotors, as well as rubber with only 5K on them. These SPGs came pretty well loaded, and hence this car has power everything including a hole in the roof for the sun when you want it. It also has R134 instead of R12 coursing through its A/C's veins. No mileage is given for the car, but the axles have recently been replaced if that might be an indication of life span to you Saab-o-philes.

From what I have read, humans are hard-wired to look for patterns, gravitating to the things that stand out visually, and man do these cars stand out. Is the Saab 900 pretty? Well, aesthetics are mostly subjective but I think it's generally agreed that Saab's biggest seller wasn't so due to its looks. It's a good looking car, but it's never going to give any member of the Swedish bikini team a run for their money.


No, the 900's value lies in its quirkiness and how well it manages to integrate its weirdness with its competence on the road. These cars, especially in hot rod SPG form, are extremely fun to drive. You'll just need to decide if it might also be fun to pay $4,500 to drive this one on a regular basis.

That's the asking price for this SPG, and you will need to absorb the info in the ad to determine if you think that's a good price for so clean a machine, or if the seller is a straight-up weirdo for asking so much.


You decide!


Missoula Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to mtdrift for the hookup!

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