Rare Swede – 1980 Saab 900 5-door

Once in a while, I try to torture my friends by selling them links to cars they like, but can’t buy, for lack of space, time, or whatever. This is one of those cars – my friend Chris had one of these, so whenever I find one, I pass it along. While Saab 900s of the original generation are still fairly common (unlike the 99s – where did they all go?), the 5-door 900 was only offered very early on in the model run. Soon after they pulled the 5-door from the market, Saab brought a 4-door 900 sedan to the market, and of course the 5-door 9000 showed up in 1986.

This particular car is one of those few 5-doors. As with most older Saabs, it’s been a workhorse most of its life, and so it’s got some rough spots. And our example, listed for $850 in Phoenix, OR (near Medford), is really too good to pass up.

1980 Saab 900 5-door front left

Pretty straight body, almost all there with the exception of some missing trim from the bumper and a centercap on the front wheel, both of which can surely be obtained from the local pick ‘n’ pull. The amazing thing about this car is, it was a one-owner car until the owner’s mechanic recently bought it. He had plans to update it with parts from his newer 900s, including a turbo – maybe that’s something to consider having him do, or doing yourself.

1980 Saab 900 5-door right rear

The back looks pretty straight too… for those of you who’ve never experienced a Saab hatch, the rear lid opens to a huge gaping maw that’ll accommodate couches, Christmas trees, lumber, you name it. While the car has had a cheap repaint done many years back, it’s still in decent shape, and would at least keep the car looking decent long enough for you to catch up on some of the interior cosmetics. The seller wanted to give other people a chance before destroying the originality with newer parts, but honestly, if the interior does need help, originality won’t help this non-collectible car.

1980 Saab 900 5-door interior

And here’s the only shot you get of the interior. What was up with Saab’s infatuation with plush red interiors in the late 70s/early 80s? Were they trying to appeal to the American market, or was it purely their Swedish sense of style? Seat covers can mean two things – either the seats are torn up, or they’re perfectly preserved underneath. I’m going for the former… fortunately, the headliner is in good shape, although the sail panels are not. The passenger seat bottom has gone saggy with age (ha!), but there’s a fix for that.

1980 Saab 900 5-door rust

Here’s some of the minor scale the car has. Seems like you could treat it and keep going that way until you’re ready for a repaint. The only other issue is old tires… and this car is a 4-speed. However, the seller says he’d drive it anywhere, so drive it back home, swap out the powertrain when the water pump fails, and go from there!


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