Readers of a certain age might recall you could dial the letters POP-CORN on the phone to get the exact time. Readers of another age might remember the sound of 2-stroke Saab engines being referred to as popcorn makers, due to their unique soundtrack. Outside of a small cult of enthusiasts, the two-stroke powered Saabs seem to have largely disappeared. When you look at the handful of pre-900 Saabs available online, most have the Ford-derived V4 or the Triumph-derived slant 4, but it’s rather unusual to find a Saab that pegs the weirdness meter even further. Fortunately, they are out there – let’s take a look at this 1966 Saab 96 for sale for $4500 in North Albany, OR.
Yes, that sounds like a pretty stiff price for an old 96 with faded paint and an interior that’s said to have been baked to a crisp. The 2-stroke cars do command a premium, and for a two-photo listing, the seller does provide some useful details. These include that the body is rust-free (certainly due to its lifelong eastern Oregon home), the engine sounds good and runs well, and the transmission and flywheel are in good condition. Everything including the clock is in working order, and the passenger door is said to have been replaced at some point. That said, while the engine seems in good shape, they are not known to handle long storage periods well – the crankshaft bearings corrode and the engine fails, so use that knowledge to your advantage in negotiation.
The car has been parked since 1988 at the tender age of 22, when its owner moved on two two-stroke heaven. The seller offers to upgrade the car to front discs and rebuild the rear brakes, implying that the car will need brake work. When he purchased the car, he put in some 2-stroke oil, set the points, put in new plugs, and fired the car right up. It seems like you’d need to do more before starting a car that sat for so long, so expect to do some clean-up from that. The seller offers a non-matching brown interior to make the car drivable, but the pale blue interior sounds so much more right for this car that you’d want to budget to have it redone in that color, even if you don’t retain the correct patterns in the name of usability. While this car is almost guaranteed to need significant mechanical work, if it’s truly rust free, this could be a good deal with a bit of negotiation.