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Saab 900

Saab 900 Published: 19th Jun 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Saab 900
Saab 900
Saab 900
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Saab 900

WHY SHOULD I BUY ONE?

Because it’s the best way of getting some style in a safe daily classic. Saab’s 900 is as solid as an old Merc or Volvo, plus has a little cred. They’re ridiculously practical; that swoopy shape hides a big boot, and there’s a choice of four body styles.

WHAT CAN I GET?

A Saab 99 replacement launched in 1978 for the ’79 model year, all models used 2.0 derivatives of the B and H series engines with the exception of some cars in 1991. Early cars were single-carb GL, twin carb GLS, injected GLE/EMS and Turbo. Originally available as three or five door hatchbacks, a saloon was introduced in 1980 and the convertible launched in 1986. The twin-carb was discontinued in 1984, though a new 16v T16S version of the Turbo was launched. A facelift in 1987 swapped the flat front for a more aerodynamic shovel-nose, and later S and SE spec cars brought added toys. From 1990 a light pressure turbo was offered alongside naturally aspirated and full turbos.

WHAT ARE THEY LIKE TO DRIVE?

Safe, predictable, solid, and Swedish. It handles in a fairly neutral way with little understeer, though keen drivers will be disappointed by the gearbox. The Turbos are manic, though as with all turbocharged cars of the era it needs a bit of time to warm up first. They’re grippy and corner nicely, and even the naturally aspirated cars are swift enough. We’d choose an injected car for reliability, economy and performance. According to Saab specialist Abbot Racing of Essex, post ’93 900s are well worth buying. Forget the Cavalier connection, a lot of it is pure Saab enthuses the company.

WHAT ARE THEY LIKE TO LIVE WITH?

They can rust – doors, sills, arches and bonnet are the main areas. Timing chains can stretch and let go at around 150,000 miles, and turbochargers wear too. Eight valve units have valve shims which are time consuming to set, the hydraulic lifters on 16v units should be quiet after the first 30 seconds or so. But they stand up well to year-round daily use, and can be left alone for a few weeks without developing faults. Transmissions have a bad name but they actually are long-lasting. Saab may be gone but its parts division, Orio, is alive and well and repairs are no problem via 90 dedicated service centres.

 

OVERALL

The stylish alternative to a Volvo, SAAB’s 900 makes a great commuter classic. Values are beginning to rise; Abbott says people are spending big money on them – especially Turbos – so bag a bargain and you could make your money back when you sell – which you may not to do!



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