Swedish Army Knife – 1988 Saab 900 SPG

A popular saying goes “jack of all trades, master of none”, and there are many examples out there on the car market today. SUVs trying to be sports cars, sedans and wagons jacked up to go off-road, vehicles that cross-over to a land of poor driving dynamics, and more. In the 1980s, though, there was a car that was probably one of the best – let’s call it a “jack of all trades, master of most”. The Saab 900 had excellent handling and acceleration, great comfort, reasonable fuel consumption, and an amazing capacity for stuff. While the styling was divisive compared to its peers, anyone could argue its case in comparison to, say, a Porsche Cayenne or BMW X6. That said, up for consideration today is this 1988 Saab 900 SPG for sale for $2250 (or $2700 including a parts car and parts collection) somewhere in Cumberland County, ME.

1988 Saab 900 SPG right front

Three-spoke wheels – ugly and cheap looking elsewhere, but somehow perfect on a Saab. The car is said to have no rust and a new windshield, and comes with some not-installed parts including a Carlsson front bumper, rare whale-tail spoiler, and extra rear bumper. There’s certainly some wear on the various finishes, and note the contrasting paint on the front fender – check thoroughly, as you would do anyways on a 28-year-old car in this part of the country. Speaking of which, Saabs did just as well in the snow as many a modern cross-over.

1988 Saab 900 SPG interior

The interior looks pretty good, and features seats from a 9000 Aero, along with all the dealer-installed wood trim he could throw at it – burlwood dash applique, wood shift knob and wood Momo wheel. While they’re nice enough pieces, they look more like something Saab was doing to compete with other luxury cars and not really in keeping with their advanced technology angle. Two weak points, the dash and headliner, go unmentioned, but what is visible does not show any extreme damage.

1988 Saab 900 SPG trunk

And here’s the trunk, and an ear drum bursting speaker box with what appear to be dual 12″ subwoofers, but even with that lump in there you’ve got plenty of room left for gear. Though it’s warped, it’s nice to see the car still has its baggage area cover, and the hatch stands up on its struts. The bumper looks slightly crooked, which is perhaps why a spare is included. Additional parts on offer, which should all fit in the back, include a 90K-mile turbo 16-valve engine with automatic and a barn full of 900 and 9000 parts, together with a 230,000 mile SPG parts car featuring rebuilt 5-speed manual transmission.

1988 Saab 900 SPG left side

Looks decent here too, though even overexposed photography can’t hide the fog light wire dangling from the front bumper. The car does look a bit oxidized, as you might expect, but it comes with a nice set of performance upgrades, including a new intercooler, bigger fuel injectors and a Jak Stoll tune with black box APC that is upgraded beyond the red-box. The engine breathes through a 3″ turbo-back exhaust, which hopefully allows you to fully enjoy the 900’s unique engine note while not beating you over the head with it. Would you agree this is the car that can do anything better?


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