Bargain Buy – 1978 Saab 99 Turbo

See below the link for an update to this post.

So while I normally totally disregard investment value of a car (obviously!), I do sometimes wish I could get something back out of the cars that are harder to work on. Apparently, some things are harder to do on a 99, although a clutch job is one of the easiest automotive repairs ever. As an early example of a turbocharged production car, you get some level of exclusivity, collectibility, and miserable turbo lag until BANG you’re off. Just hope the roads aren’t wet or you’ll be off into a bush if you don’t have a firm grip on the wheel. That said, I remember having a lot of fun in my parents’ ’86 9000 turbo, which had lag up until about 3000rpm.

Anyway, on to the subject of this post. It’s a well-used looking car on which the 6th digit has rolled over on its odometer twice. However, Saabs can usually handle it, and it appears to be a fairly complete car with TURBO badges, original trim, Inca wheels, and 6 mudflaps. It’s missing the cool turbo graphics, but with silk-screening technology (I think that’s what you use to repro stickers) what it is today, these can probably be remade, if someone hasn’t already done it. Find it at the Swedish Auto Factory under Cars for Sale for $2000 in Santa Clara, CA.

1978 Saab 99 turbo

I’m afraid there was only one picture of the car on their site. The car does appear pretty clean in terms of shutlines and lack of damage, although due to lack of clarity there’s some possibility of rust. It also looks as if it’s been sitting a while, with dirt marks on the tires to prove it. However, the seller states it’s in very good condition, with new rod & main bearings, a new water pump and jack shaft. Lower end work also implies a new head gasket, so you’ve got a good start. It’s also said to run strongly, so get yourself down there to feel the power of 145 raw Swedish horses. For more information, you can also check out the recent feature on the 99 Turbo in the February 2010 issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.

Update: Looks like I read through the listing a bit too quickly, as a reader more astute than I pointed out there are more pictures under the More Pictures link. Thanks!. Here are some more for your enjoyment, and if you want a few more, do what I didn’t and click on that link!

1978 Saab 99 turbo right

Here’s the other side of the car. You can see the turbo badge is present on this side too, but you can also see the level of oxidation & dirt on the roof. It’s looking more and more like a used car that someone parked, and the Swedish Auto Factory resurrected to driveability.

1978 Saab 99 turbo rear

At the back of the car, a couple of details are missing that suggest the rear lid was replaced, maybe due to an accident. From reading the Hemmings article, I can see there should be a turbo badge across from the Saab badge, and a small spoiler under the window. Judging by the registration sticker (and blue plates, if that gets you excited!), this car was last registered in the late 90s and has been a California car for most, if not all, of its life. For better or worse, the UCSF sticker suggests it lived in San Francisco at some point.

1978 Saab 99 turbo interior

The interior actually looks really clean, aside from a couple of small tears on the driver’s seat. Assume there are also cracks in the dash with a car that’s sat this long. It even has the nifty dash-mounted boost gauge (before the Honda crowd made this cool).

1978 Saab 99 turbo back seat

Finally, a shot of those weirdo headrests that I believe were exclusive to the turbo (and possibly the EMS). I’ll complain about the lack of an engine pic, but I’d also like to add that a turbo rebuild is about $500, so should that be necessary, it’s not the end for this car. Again, an interesting collectible that may have a bit more value than some of its competitors in the future.


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3 Responses to “Bargain Buy – 1978 Saab 99 Turbo”

  1. Gil Says:

    There are additional pic under the first pic.

  2. Nick Striglia Says:

    I purchased this car from Swedish Auto Factory on May 6, 2011. I was actually surprised it was still for sale over a year after this post. I had it shipped to VT. it is basically rust free and runs pretty well, I’m going to take it to a Saab guy here in VT and have him look it over, it seem to idle rough but runs out strong. Over all it will be a nice project and a great daily driver.

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