Saab 900 Cabrio - a car with taker qualities

I have been driving Saab since 1996, so I came to Saab in a phase in which die-hard Saab fans wrinkled their noses at what came from Trollhatten under the GM aegis. The 900i station wagon was my company vehicle and was leased. In the previous six years, there were two Audi 80s that had been leased for three years each. When I was also caught up in the professional thinking that was widespread in the advertising agency scene at the time, the brand with the four rings became too pie after the second Audi leasing contract expired.

A Saab 900 Cabriolet has slave qualities
A Saab 900 Cabriolet has slave qualities


Saab as the "other Swedish brand" was little known in the general public, but if you were careful and wanted to humble your competitors, you would drive Saab! For me it was enough for the entry-level model.

How everything began

The 900 fought calmly and responsibly - which could also be expected from a vehicle that was three years old in the mid-90s. So after the expiry of the first leasing contract, the second Saab came into the house: a 9-3, also as a station wagon, with 150 hp and soft turbo. Compared to the 900i, it felt extremely lively and agile and was also extremely economical with the valuable fuel.

After the three-year leasing period, the car had less than 50.000 km on the clock. It looked like new and had never caused problems. And since the agreed leasing rate was quite high and the calculated residual value was therefore low, I did not return the car to Saab, I simply bought it. I still have it, the mileage is now 80.000. You don't sell such a car without need.

I have to confess that I spare the car in that I don't drive it through brine. Because car alternatives are enough for me. In addition to my habit of buying and driving vintage cars (Fiat 124 Sport Spider, Volvo Amazon + 240 + 940, Mercedes / 8, DAF, Peugeot 403 and especially Borgward), I only use youngtimers for everyday life. At the moment there are the 9-3, an Audi 80 from 1993 (yes, the circle closes) and a Saab 900 II Cabrio 2,3 liter without turbo from 1996. A few other versions of this vehicle.

The slave qualities of the Saab 900 II

I rented a hall for the cars that I don't drive right now, where they are dry and airy. However, my house does not offer any storage space for a car, it must be brutal in the weather. Is there a convertible nearby? Especially one whose roof is now 24 years old and is moderately incontinent? Anyway, I'm going to do it. The pleasure of driving in the open is irreplaceable, I want to enjoy it as often as possible.

The 900 convertible is a car with taker qualities that survives the ox tour of daily use without a garage with flying colors. I bought it in 2017 for 1.900 euros with 317.000 kilometers on the clock. A risk purchase, of course, especially since the car bears very clear traces of its years. But it bears the marks with dignity, because the vehicle turned out to be a good vehicle the first time it was repaired and preserved for around 2.600 euros. With the Saab Center Kiel, the Car dealership Lafrentz, luckily I have a super competent partner in my neighborhood.

I have now driven over 30.000 kilometers with the 900 II and only had two major repairs: the petrol pump and the clutch - mobility is not free. Sometimes I feel a little ashamed to drive a car that Saab fans would probably judge as the "wrong model" and too shabby and would be left behind.

For me, however, this vehicle is exactly right: it does not need to be packed in cotton wool and kept in an air-conditioned garage for eternity. It is used and fun. Who knows how long we can drive cars with combustion engines at all? So every day counts. And of course every Saab that is kept on the street.

Text and images: Jörg Lemcke

11 thoughts on "Saab 900 Cabrio - a car with taker qualities"

  • @ Herbert Hürsch

    I can imagine the “predatory lizard” called Daffodil, greedy and green! Lovely! Very amusing! 🙂

  • @ Sprott,

    to my knowledge, it can only be this engine. He plays a major role in yesterday's contribution (film). Be sure to watch.

  • Unfortunately I have no knowledge of the exact engine data, but I can only say so much: The car drives absolutely perfectly! Very cultivated, quiet and actually extremely economical. With 7,3 to 8,5 liters per 100 kilometers, it is the most economical car in my fleet. And with a displacement of 2,3 liters. My Volvo 940 station wagon with the 2,3 liter machine rarely used less than 10 liters.
    So: Saab driving forever if possible. It's almost as beautiful as driving a DAF 😉

  • Thanks Jörg Lemcke.

    The 2.3i can only be the famous and almost indestructible home-grown car that debuted in the 9K, right?

    If you have that under the hood, you can ignore any discussion about authenticity and GM parts with a smile.

    But I also find a DAF in the collection really cool. My grandfather had a dark green station wagon with a beige interior. A fantastically practical and charming small car that was at least inner-city with its Variomatic and incredibly agile by the standards at that time.

    A little predatory lizard that has eaten the edge off many contemporary limousines at the traffic lights. The green was then also called “Daffodil” within the family.
    Driver and DAF are unforgettable.

    @ Ebasil,

    the reputation of diesels is mixed. The 1,9 from the 9-5 doesn't have the best. But even here there is no rule that it cannot last long ...

    At Autoscout I saw driving chrome glasses with almost 300.000, at Saab Service checkbook-maintained and major engine damage with less than half the mileage.
    For a friend, the same engine in an Opel Zafira with 170.000 mileage caused total economic damage.

    I do not completely trust this unit. Nevertheless, I would buy a delicious convertible or SC if the mileage and price offered me enough hope of affordable use / affordable driving pleasure ...

    I have no opinion that I can share about the older and younger diesels that Saab has installed.

    I find it historically interesting that in Sweden diesel engines for road traffic have been difficult for many years and traditionally.

    Even Volvo, which always had its own engines, came late to diesel. He only came into cars in the 240 and was bought from VW. It took several years before the first own unit.
    Even trucks and military vehicles have been running on petrol for longer than you think. No idea why that was or was, but it is part of the specific Swedish history in vehicle construction.

  • Exactly, a misjudged young timer. I drove two 902 or still drive one. The first a 902SE 2.0 Turbo LE Coupé from ´95, has at Int. Saab meeting in Belgium won 2002st prize in 1 in 902. We went on some trips with him. Mostly with an average gasoline consumption of 6-7 liters on the highway. (of course at Swiss tempos)

    The current one is a convertible from ´97; 2.0SE Turbo Talladega with deer tuning. I bought it in 2003, shortly after my wife told me that she was pregnant. After all, I also wanted something. This convertible accompanied me as an everyday car in summer and winter until 2012. Now it can rest in the garage and is driven in nice and dry weather or when I feel like it. A really good and deeply joyful car.

  • So you don't have to be ashamed of any Saab, think that the bad talk of the 900II will also stop and those who still have one or will be admired again.

  • So back then at Deutsche Bank I had no problems leasing a Saab as a company vehicle and have been loyal to the brand ever since. However, I was the only one I knew. Bankers weren't the real target either. And despite all the criticism of GM - if at that time the fleet management of all companies had only calculated based on cost / benefit aspects, there would be nothing with ABM, but for many years everything would have been Insignia, which for years were at the top in the relevant tables. But status goes with you, and Saab has always been more of the company vehicle of freelancers, creative people and individualists. And you can tell from the prices to this day. A good 9-5 NG costs more used than, for example, a younger Jaguar XJ with fewer km, full equipment and a list price of 110 kEUR. You have to want to afford that first, especially since the spare parts, if you are unlucky, can become a real problem. I have nothing to do with GM, but the quality has actually been pretty good again since the turn of the millennium; this constant bashing - what for? I actually only drove Saabs with GM shares, and they were all reliable and durable - unlike other brands, they never let me down. Hopefully it will stay that way, also because the current one is of course getting older.

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  • Of course I meant the 9-5 I, sorry!

  • Nice, encouraging report, and of course a valuable contribution to maintaining our beautiful Saabs on the road - thank you very much! 🙂

    I'm always amazed at the high mileage of the Saab petrol engine in particular - in general automotive “awareness” this is usually only attributed to diesel engines. On the other hand, especially with the 9-3 II SportCombi TTiD, which are naturally much younger, I keep reading about very high mileage.

    So is the “perceived” predominance of reports about high mileage by Saab petrolers only due to the traditional and understandably higher affinity of Saab fans to petrolers? And 1. the fact that Saab Diesel has not been around for that long? Since when? At the end of the 2s with the 90-9 I and 3-9 II? I only know - from my own experience - that the 5-9 II Cabrio was also available as a diesel from MY 3.

    And how has the percentage of diesel vehicles (e.g. especially the Combis) been in recent years? In any case, it felt like a lot of Combis preferred diesel cars. Maybe the blog knows something about it - I love statistics about Saab 🙂 - and I'm happy to hear different numbers and statistics than those unfortunately currently. published daily…. 🙁

  • ´´SAAB as a leasing vehicle´ for your employees in the company´´

    ´´Would I like to comment on it´ that all SAAB drivers get upset about it or you say it
    DURING their professional activity´ often NO possibility´ to use a highly esteemed safe high quality´´SAAB-car´!

    ´´As the old saying goes in business life´´ ?? “The demand makes the product 'the services'! ´´I think every responsible entrepreneur who has been doing his business this way for many years also acts accordingly´´!

    ´´What should be clarified with this´´ ?? ´´If an employee is supposed to work in AD, of course, provided he is also successful in the company, talks or negotiates with his boss about the company car or a new company vehicle ... why does he say then not ´´Mr Müller, I have been driving the SAAB brand privately for so many years, a car that I feel comfortable in, that offers me the security I expect to be able to visit my family again after a stressful week, safe and alive “!! ´´Mr. Müller I know normally you have intended BMW AUDI MERCEDES VEHICLES for the employees, but I think it should also be possible to lease 1 SAAB vehicle´´ or there are no leasing providers that offer SAAB ´´! ((Situation is of course meant retrospectively for the last 20 years))

    // If a company has several or just a few employees in sales' (because that's what it's mostly about) 'who rattle their 70.000-100.000-130.0000 km a year' then they will probably endeavor to make their everyday work as pleasant as possible to provide support from the back office and to give the employees a free hand as much as possible´´!

    ´´ If everyone had taken it to heart´ there would have been at least 10 times as many SAABs in the various company fleets´ and SAAB would of course have had a completely different EXTERNAL EFFECT with these vehicles´´! ´´BUT unfortunately it must have been the case that the employee only looked at his colleague ((oh look, the ´´Achim´´ has already got the new E-Class´… how did he deserve it) writes no more jobs than me ??))
    // ´´TYPICAL WRONG THINKING´´ At least I am behind a product´ then I can also represent it to the outside world´ but if I always make myself small and want to swim with the herd, then I will be lost forever because it is there is always someone who gets it BETTER, FASTER, INTELLECTUAL or ARROGANTER ... always “!!

    "So that's it, I just had to get rid of it ... because this topic comes up in a lot of articles!"
    ´´ STAYING HEALTHY´´ ……. ´´A GOOD DRIVE´ ´WITH SAAB´´ ´THE CAR (SAAB) HAS DONE EVERYTHING FOR IT´´ THAT YOU HAVE AT LEAST THE CHANCE TO ARRIVE HOME HEALTHY IN ROAD TRAFFIC´´ !!

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  • Dear Jörg. Welcome to the club of the "wrong model drivers". I have already written about my 902 V6 here several times, but I would like to emphasize again that for me it is one of the most relaxed and reliable vehicles. A real Saab. With its own, somewhat different character. I recently cracked 300.000 KM with the car, and it feels like I could do the same thing again with appropriate care and maintenance. Let the ignorant continue to deprive themselves of the pleasure ...

    Greetings to the community

    The Lizi

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