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Saab 900 (1979-1993)

Published: 1st Apr 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Fast Facts

  • Engine: 1985cc/4-cyl
  • Power (bhp/rpm): 175/5000
  • Torque (lb ft@rpm): 201/3000
  • Top speed: 135mph
  • 0-60mph: 8.6sec
  • Fuel consumption: 22-30 mpg
  • Transmission: 5-speed manual
  • Length: 15ft 6in (4.74m)
  • Width (inc mirrors): 5ft 6.5in (1.7m)
  • Weight: 2965lb (1346kg)
  • Books: Saab 900, a Swedish story by Anders Tunberg. ISBN 3-907150-30-9 (OOP)
    Saab 99 and 900, the complete story by Lance Cole. ISBN 1-86126-429-1
  • Clubs:
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An evolution of the 99 first seen in 1968, the 900, launched in 1979, makes a great classic buy. Offered in saloon, hatch or convertible forms, there’s a derivative for every occasion, prices are low and you won’t find a classic more solidly built than here. However, having been saddled with banger status for several years, most examples are tired and in need of more expenditure than they’ll ever be worth. The key is to look for a really good one, which needn’t cost much more than a dog, then look after it – you’ll soon see why Saab fans are so keen on this oddball Swede.


What to look for

Saabs tend to rot less than their contemporaries, but you still need to inspect the bodyshell very closely. The door bottoms, wheelarch lips, rear shock absorber mounts, trailing arm and wishbone mountings plus the corners of the boot fl oor are the key areas. Also check the battery tray, sunroof surround, bonnet edges and front bulkhead as well as the front valance and the bottom of the B-post on two-door cars.

The 2-litre engine is derived from the Triumph-designed powerplant in the Saab 99; up to 1982 it was largely the same unit but from then on the stronger H-Series lump was fi tted. Turbos can fail, exhaust manifi olds can crack (especially on Turbos), water pumps can fail and core plugs often leak. Gearboxes are weak and can lose gears and autos are best avoided altogether, so listen for whining or rumbling; repairs costs can easily top £1000.

Rear springs goes soft, dampers go weak, bushes wear out and wheelbearings get tired – but repairs are cheap and easy. Instrument lighting can go haywire, electric window motors seize and headlinings sag. Also check that the heater works – valves can play up.


You can pick up a 900 from well under £1000, but your best bet is to spend up to £1500 to secure something nice. Turbos and convertibles are worth a premium over normally aspirated hatchbacks and saloons, but with Turbos starting at just £1000 and a decent cabrio priced from just £1500 more, there’s no need to spend a lot of money. However, exceptional cars, especially if they’re turbocharged, open-topped or one of the 16S or Carlsson editions can fetch up to £5000. Track down a drophead 16S and you can pay up to £7000 from a dealer.



900 arrives as a larger 99 with three or five doors and a 2-litre engine. Single carb gives 100bhp, twin carbs 108bhp. Fuel injection provides 118bhp, a turbo boosts this to 145bhp.


The EMS and Turbo editions get a five-speed gearbox. Four door saloons arive in 1980.


All 900s can now use unleaded fuel and the Turbo gets a 16-valve engine.


The carb models are dropped, leaving 900i, 900 Turbo 8v and 900 Turbo 16v, all with three, four or five doors.


A facelift brings a sloping grille, new bumpers, the availability of ABS and a Turbo 16v convertible.


The eight-valve engine is dropped.


900S arrives with a light-pressure turbo and CAT.


All 900s get ABS as standard and the 900 Aero convertible arrives with a normally aspirated 16-valve engine.


The convertible is now available with a lightpressure turbo engine.

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