Just as the 911 has shaped the Porsche brand, the 900 is responsible for the Swedish cult. He is considered one of the most interesting and unusual vehicles from the Göta Älv. If the Saab 900 still lives up to its reputation as an icon today, how much does it cost, and what should you look for?
His fans consider it one of the best cars ever. Still suitable for everyday use today and the ultimate long-term car. It polarizes with its shape, and either you love it ardently and dearly. Or you can't stand him.
Objectively speaking, the 900, which was produced from 1978 to 1994, is a small, uncomfortable car. Even during its construction, it was largely out of date, caused Saab to suffer high losses, and production stopped several times due to a lack of demand. But even during his lifetime he was cult with his fans. Because, like a Defender or an air-cooled 911, it was considered one of the last, real men's cars.
And, honestly, who cares about objectivity when you can drive a 900 Turbo? Yes, the gearbox is an unreasonable demand, the switching distances are long, but to hell with it! The road holding is fantastic, the turbo sound pierces through the ear canals, and every meter driven is pure experience. You don't need a “driving experience switch” for a Saab 900. At the mere thought of it, his designers would not have calmed down with laughter. Opening the sunroof or the rear opening window is sufficient. The 900 delivers an experience for all the senses.
Strengths and weaknesses of the Saab 900
On the credit side are engines with and without turbo, the characterful and with good care are durable. High mileages are the rule, you do not have to shy away from them. The seats, a construction of the own seat workshop, are among the best that one could buy at that time. If they are covered with leather, then it is thick and high quality. Likewise, the fabrics that were available in different qualities and designs. In the interior, the sky likes to hang, the removal of which is easy on vehicles with tailgate. The dashboards often crack, the lid of the glove box throws bubbles. There is no replacement, crack-free dashboards are highly traded.
With the large tailgate, the 900 offers an unimaginable variability that makes some modern combo look old. The loading area is flat, with folded rear seat becomes from the Coupe or the 5-Türer a Großraumtransporter.
The technology itself is manageable and with appropriate care very robust. The turbo engines are legendary, they are considered stable, but like all cars of this era, they want to be kept warm and cold. The suckers, however, are good, not spectacular, but faithful companions, the one to Tierra del Fuego and bring back.
Also thick Swedish steel rusts
The body is made of really thick Swedish steel. Which is good and bad at the same time. Because even Sweden steel rests cheerfully. There is hardly any 900 today that has not been welded at various points. Responsible for this is to one, by today's standards, lack of rust prevention, on the other hand, the massive steel itself. I still remember a conversation in the workshop, which had the beginning of rust on my 900S on the subject. He was well over 15 years back then, the master of my trust advised to wait.
With the thick steel it would take forever to rust through, he said. Eternities are relative, as I know today. A few years later the full program was on. The 900 is not a bad roster, like other vehicles of its time. But if it does, the rust tends to hit the axle shaft tunnels, the wheel arches, the inner door edges, the hood or the tailgate. It is worth taking a closer look when buying. Due to its construction, the 900 is a historical evolution of the Saab 99, sheet metal work is demanding and expensive.
The entry into the avant-garde of Göta Älv
A Saab 900 was something special. And since good taste is often a bit more expensive, it was expensive to park a Saab in front of the house. For a turbo, you could transfer DM 60 or 70.000 to the Saab dealer's account, and a little more for a convertible. The clientele didn't care. At that time, Saab mainly bought designers, architects, doctors, freelancers and scientists. While the competitors had to use the prose of their marketing departments to find a suitable customer base, the longed-for target group was everyday life at Saab.
The fact that an 900 was not cheap, Sweden's emphasis on quality and longevity, is still noticeable today. The selection of classics from Trollhättan is surprisingly good, especially considering that Saab was always a niche brand.
Prices have been rising steadily for years, and the trend has been flattening recently. The entry is still inexpensive possible. With a little luck you get from 5.000,00 € up an 900 with expandable substance. Among them are usually noted vehicles with significant investment backlog, whose purchase will be considered. High-quality, well-maintained Saab 900 Turbo note around the 20.000 €, convertibles are slightly above.
The prices depend on the engine, body shape and transmission. Models from 1986 are more popular than the steep schnauzers before the facelift. The Turbo 16S, which, as a top engine with 160 HP, enables performance similar to a sports car, is particularly popular. With the tuning kits available from the factory, this turned out to be 180 hp or more, these kits are hard to find today. The soft turbo versions with 141 hp are slightly cheaper than the full turbo, but they are no less attractive. If you like, you can convert it to a full turbo with a longer gear ratio, but this is not absolutely necessary. Under the turbo engines note the suckers, which take it easy and represent the cheapest way to enjoy the Swedish cult from Trollhättan.
Automatic or manual circuit?
The most expensive are the convertibles, followed in second place by the coupes and the 5-door hatchbacks. The 900 sedan with stepped notchback was beaten for years. However, these vehicles are now so rare that there are hardly any differences to the other body shapes. It's worth taking a look at the gearbox. Saab delivered a 900-speed automatic with the 3, which is punished with price discounts. It is suitable for relaxed gliding and consistently slows down any sporting ambition. That is why fans prefer to use the manual transmission, which has long shift travel and is not particularly precise to shift. With the powerful turbo engines, it reaches its limits; If corridors jump out, an overhaul is necessary.
The 900 is still suitable for everyday life, if you can live with a relatively narrow interior and limited comfort. The charm of the 900 makes up for everything, and once you've succumbed to the Saab, all reasonable arguments come too late.
Spare parts supply
The supply of spare parts is not without problems for a vehicle whose production ended over 25 years ago. While holding the Orio AB still many parts in stock for the operation. But the gaps in the spare parts supply are there, and the love of the classic has still not been discovered in Nyköping.
After all, the gaps are repeatedly filled with post-production from external providers. However, their quality is not always blameless. What also helps is a good connection with the Saab scene and the workshops that specialize in classic Göta Älv. Because that's how you get, often surprisingly, original parts that have been stored in some halls for decades. Membership in Swedish is highly recommended Saab Clubwho stimulates post-production and stands by its members with help and advice.
The 900 is a timeless car that fascinates and whose history is not over yet. Because the fan-circle is well mixed in age. Young people can still get in cheaply, prices are not astronomical. So you do not have to worry about the future of the classic Götaland Canal. The Swedish cult with the Saab 900 continues.