No Autotragic – 1983 Saab 900 Sedan

So often, basic car survivors are saddled with an automatic transmission. And there’s something about an automatic in a basic car that goes against the simple purity of the concept. It’s like asking for a glass of wine in a dive bar – you know what they’ll have is not going to be that great anyways, plus the bartender’s going to look at you funny. So that’s why it’s great to see that the original buyer of this car had the good sense to just order a beer. Okay, so a Saab 900 is not quite like a dive bar. But it’s refreshing to see a surviving base 900 in such excellent shape, and with a 5-speed manual. Check out this 1983 Saab 900 sedan for sale for $1395 in Redwood City, CA.

1983 Saab 900 sedan right front

Yup, the listing says 1982, but looking up the car’s smog check history reveals it’s a 1983 model year car. And incidentally, that history shows regular checks going back to 1998, so you know there are no storage-related issues waiting to surprise you. There’s no mention of the mileage, but condition is remarkable, and the car’s paint looks to be in good shape, right down to what is presumably the original dealer-applied pinstripe. Plates date back to sometime in the early 1990s, so even though you don’t get the original blue plates, you know it’s been a California car for quite a while. Close inspection of the rear license plate frame shows the car probably originated in Pittsburgh, PA, but on a car this age you were going to do a thorough rust check anyway, right?

1983 Saab 900 sedan rear

The only noticeable flaw here is the sticker on the bumper. Even the tail lights are clear and unfaded, although it’s probably asking a bit much for the rear parcel shelf and seat tops to be equally unfaded. The car is listed by a dealer, so while that’s not an automatic disqualification, you’ll want to go over everything with a fine-toothed comb. How much did they pay for it if they’re listing at $1395, and presumably expecting to make a profit?

1983 Saab 900 sedan left front

The left side looks just as good, and it’s nice to see the stock steel wheels on this car. So many enthusiasts automatically upgrade to alloys as these become cheaper, so that having steelies becomes more unique. All that said, these wheels are about as good-looking as a pair of Birkenstock sandals – sure they’re functional classics, but you’re not going to spend any amount of time ogling them.

1983 Saab 900 sedan interior

Unfortunately, the pictures are rather overexposed, which combined with the front seat covers means you don’t get much of an impression of the interior. However, the dash appears to be crack-free, there’s no sign of a collapsed driver’s seat, and everything is there, down to a period-correct radio and manual window winders. And one final detail if you’re not convinced of the state of preservation of this car – nevermind the new tire, the condition of the wheel suggests how well-kept this car might be. Can you hear that familiar Saab 900 exhaust note?

1983 Saab 900 sedan wheel


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