Upheaval and generation change in old Saab sheet metal

The time is running. Relentless and for each of us. A generation change is announced in the Saab warehouse - and perhaps the beginning of a new trend. Corona plays an accelerating role here. The pandemic is taking icons off the podium and straightening out some things. This does not meet with enthusiasm anywhere.

Generation change in the Saab two-stroke warehouse
Generation change in the Saab two-stroke warehouse

How is the 2-stroke bearing developing?

The generation change has hit the two-stroke bearing with full force. It is changing. For reasons of age, collectors sell their automotive treasures. Saab 93, 95 and 96 with two-stroke engines are looking for a new shelter. Only there is more coming on the market than there is demand.

The situation is difficult. The two-stroke group has hardly any offspring. Nowhere. Neither with the very young, nor with the middle-aged. The type of drive is considered antique, difficult, potentially bitchy and dirty. And above all as simply unknown. Anyone who was not carefully familiarized with the topic at a young age can do little with a two-stroke Saab. One reason is the lack of youth work in the scene. The fact that the switch to the 50-stroke principle was carried out more than 4 years ago is another matter.

Commitment and a lot of work are required

Where is the Saab legacy drifting? Who will buy, who will care in the future? Finding answers is difficult. It would be a task for the clubs, an issue that needs to be addressed. It is clear that this is more about work than fun. That you hardly earn recognition with it, too.

The issue is becoming more acute not only in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It has long been present in Sweden too. In June 2020, an actually more exciting auction Saab 93B offered. Very original and not too expensive. Not if you look at the price level in recent years. The Saab stopped and tried its luck again at the September auction at a reduced price.

There it was finally sold, with the minimum price being reached. The location of the two-stroke bearing is not the only problem. The pandemic has changed a lot, and it has stopped an eternal upward trend.

End of the upward trend for the Saab 900 Cabriolet

If anything was conspicuous this year, it was the sales requests for the classic Saab 900 Cabriolet. For a long time, its prices only knew one way, the upwards. Saab Garagengold, a supposedly safe investment. With the start of the pandemic, the Saab 900 sales rally began.

Surprised? Not seriously. Against the backdrop of poorer economic conditions, people checked their fleets and sought out the car that is used the least often for sale. The cabriolet.

Saab 900 Cabriolet - an icon from Sweden
Saab 900 Cabriolet - an icon from Sweden

There were weeks when an email came to the blog every day. Saab 900 Cabriolet for sale. Optimistic in a ratio of supply and demand of 4: 1. Realistically probably worse. At prices that were difficult to achieve even before COVID-19. Including Monte Carlos, which are not just yellow cars.

As a result, prices fell on the well-known portals in recent months. Expensive and overpriced vehicles stand like lead, the market has turned, offers have been withdrawn. It has become a buyer's market. Restrained demand meets more supply. How long the development will take, whether the situation will recover, that is all open.

An opportunity for the scene and newcomers

Maybe there is a trend here, and maybe the market correction is the best that can happen to the scene. Newcomers and young fans only get into the classic 900 in exceptional cases at the previously required prices. The drop in prices is their opportunity, and also one for the scene, which will hopefully make something out of it.

Otherwise, and this is the threatening sign on the wall, in a few years the 900 will be the same as with its brothers with the two-stroke heart under the sheet metal. No offspring, because getting into the convertible was too expensive and the opportunity was never taken to arouse enthusiasm.

And that would be really tragic.

19 thoughts on "Upheaval and generation change in old Saab sheet metal"

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    that would be really great. I would devour everything that came there, gratefully and hungry ...

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    @Volvaab Driver

    Yes, I agree with you. It would be nice if Gregor Tuningberg (what a beautiful Saab Max Mustermann creation) would get in touch and report here regularly. I'm afraid it won't be that easy.

    Because I've already leaned out of the window so nicely, I might start by writing a few lines about myself and my cars. I would also write to one or the other SAAB colleague, nowadays you are well connected via Instagram & Co (if requested by the blog operators). Maybe this will result in some interesting posts for the blog.

    I'm also sure that many German-speaking young SAAB fans read along here - the visitor numbers must come from somewhere.

    Let's see what can be done.


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    I took my chance as a newcomer. If everything goes smoothly, my convertible will be with me in 2 weeks 🙂 Then some fine-tuning over the winter months and the next summer can come.

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    Christian's suggestions

    I would like to know a lot more about this colorful Saab scene. But where are they all hiding when things are so diverse even in D at Saab?

    Why don't the young and wild ones approach the creators of the blog and its readership here?

    If I had experience with a Maptun Stage X, I would write a reader contribution straight away. Thematically open calls are and have always been here ...

    As long as I read here, it was always the blogger himself who peeked outside the box of Hirsch and Saab and, for example, installed a strut bar from Maptun in a 9K and reported positive effects.

    Would it be exciting and illuminating if the scene described let us conservative and old sacks share their knowledge of what is possible with a Saab and where the TÜV and engine damage may set limits?

    At least for me, I claim that I want to read it all. But I don't crawl into a burrow to change diapers there.

    Maybe the tables should be turned around? Perhaps Gregor Tuningberg explains here every week under the motto Tuesdays for Future what a Saab can do today and tomorrow if you leave the original state of mind plus a little deer at most.

    I would be all ears and keep catching myself doing research, which I break off frustrated with no results.
    As I said, I don't crawl into a burrow.

    Anyone who has something to say should neither shy away from the light nor allow themselves to be asked for long. Just out with it. I would like it best here.

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    @ Ebasil (colors),

    drive my youngest yesterday and he points to a dull gray car, says he thinks it is chic and interviews me about how I feel about the model and “color” ...

    Dad can't help but ramble about light and body colors, their mix, the physical principle of displays, printing, paint (blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah) ...

    Age-appropriate (10) we continue with a count of colorless versus colored cars and find that around 85% of the cars are now colorless (on the scale from white to black or in silver).

    In the case of the few cars with color, only those that, like white, do not cost a surcharge dominate. A banal red somewhere between RAL 3000 and RAL 3003 and a dark blue.

    A truly dreary observation ...

    Only 5 to 7,5% of the cars are painted differently. Apparently you need the courage to use color today? I hope the zeitgeist and fashion pendulum swings quickly towards a need for color.

    Speaking of pendulums, a positive H certificate today does not necessarily depend on the originality of the vehicle color. It may be that there is a point deduction, but a car would have to look bad overall for the color to tip the scales ...

    You have time. When fashion and zeitgeist ensure that it will be pretty colorful and burgundy in 22 years
    As we approach our streets, black pearls have a very special value again.

    If I had your beautiful convertible, I would let the fashion waves roll off me very calmly ...

    So far, the last “must have” was always reliably the coming “no go”.

    I think Hans chose a good color. But the man is also an architect and knows his way around the spirit of the times, fashions and consistency, and is on the lookout for more universal validity by profession.

    People like you and me should think about a new and different paintwork very carefully and at least twice as long.

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    (great word creation: - /) makes life colorful in the diversity (as Christian writes) and enriches us with the visions of the respective owners (as Volvaab writes). The comments, especially those from Christian, were really very enriching and informative about this article, even more than most of the time.

    Upcycling is always good because it saves automotive cultural assets and for climate reasons anyway. And it's really all a matter of personal taste. It also depends on where you want to draw the line between what is still appropriate and what is appropriate.

    Many readers here also like to report on the changes they have made, which do not reflect the possible, i.e. deliverable, condition as a new car. For example in terms of color: Hans has his 9-5 OG painted in beautiful sky blue, which was never seen before with this model. The Kieler have built a 9-5 NG in Merlot red metallic, a much older Saab color that was not available for the 9-5 NG. I'm thinking about repainting my black Griffin convertible (nice, but boring color) in a nice wine-red metallic one day. There was never for the 9-3 III, just the laser red that I don't like. The idea that I won't be able to get an H license plate in 22 years will perhaps keep me away ... 😉

    Where is the line between “allowed” individual embellishment and luscious tuning? I would say: Quite simply, each owner has to decide for himself individually. Point. Whatever you like is allowed as long as it keeps old treasures alive.

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    @ Ken-Daniel S (brake booster),

    it's old hat with holes. I've driven quite a few cars without anything - almost without anything, because they all had a brake booster anyway.

    Of all the features mentioned, it is the only one that I find indispensable.

    For me, it is a real fun factor and pure enjoyment when there is as direct contact as possible between driver, vehicle and road.

    I don't know what my driving school car already had on board, but I really learned to drive on the old boxes without anything. They convey the driving physics and road conditions directly. I firmly believe that without this experience I would be a worse driver today.

    Without a servo, there is a direct feeling for the dependence of the steering forces on speed and road conditions (steering forces on smooth ice already at a standstill = 0) and without anti-slip control I already learn something about the ground on the straights and when starting off, which is important when braking and keep in mind when cornering ...

    I find this information and a healthy feeling for the driving physics that apply in rain, snow or even ice so valuable that I always like to switch off the assistance with my chrome glasses. One of my favorite buttons on the dashboard ...

    You learn an incredible amount about the prevailing road conditions. For example, every rain is different. After several rainy days, a road surface is just wet and not critical. After a longer period of dryness, however, a lubricating film tends to form when it rains for the first time and you have traction like on a solid snow cover (and that completely unexpectedly at 20 to 30 degrees plus in spring or summer and completely without wet leaves) ...

    Airbags, ABS and ESP or not (can be helpful). But if I have not understood the road surface conditions and the currently valid physics, I still do not know what is a curse or a blessing on the tree and with my nose in the airbag ...

    If I end up in the tree, I would like to use an airbag. But would I even have landed on a tree, flown out of the curve, if an assistant-free car had given me an immediate and unmistakable impression of the prevailing conditions beforehand?

    I think this question is justified. The supporters of assistance and believers in progress like to use the (accident) statistics at this point. I find it difficult to let this go through unchallenged ...

    Far too many parameters in road traffic have been changed at the same time to be able to draw valid conclusions about the effect of one or the other measure.

    While a wide range of assistance systems found their way into our cars, at the same time 30 km / h zones were introduced in our cities, cycle paths, play streets and pedestrian zones were expanded and country roads were converted, expanded and defused, and hundreds of thousands of kilometers of guard rails were installed.

    No one in the world can meaningfully calculate the possibly positive effects of one or the other assistant. No pig knows how safe or unsafe road traffic would be today with a new catalog of fines, new speed limits, new crash barriers, changed traffic management (bypassing) and new lanes if old cars were still on the road.

    Maybe the old boxes would do surprisingly well under the new conditions? In any case, it is a mystery to me what airbags, ABS and co should have ahead of a 30-year-old car in a 50 km / h zone?

    Even who scratches a guardrail at 100 km / h does not matter. We make the mistake of equating scratching a guardrail (today) with taking off into the woods (yesterday). But what exactly makes the difference here?
    Is it the guard rail or the assistance system?

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    Tuning sacrifices & upcycling

    Thanks Tom & Christian. That makes two great articles here in one day.

    Some tuned oldtimers arouse real aversions in me (especially rims and colors), but that's no different with new cars ...

    So why not also with tuning, restoration and conversion - ultimately upcycling - used or even historical vehicles with different tastes?

    Whatever who puts it on the wheels is better than the junkyard and more sustainable than the scrapping bonus.

    An event exclusively with vehicles that look like a child has dumped a box of Hot Wheels would still be too infantile for me personally.
    An event exclusively with exhibits true to the original with 1 H and valuation reports would, conversely, be too museum-like and somehow also too sterile, not lively enough ...

    I prefer to watch a mixture of everything. And there are still a number of categories between the extremes mentioned. For example, tuned cars that can hardly or not at all be distinguished from the series (sleeper) or those whose tuning you can see, but it looks historically correct, because the R-Sport department, at least theoretically, was already 20, 30, 40 or 50 years like this or something like that could have let off steam in the vehicle ...

    As long as there are enough originals with which to equip museums, private collections and thus also meetings, I think it's really good when there are other visions and tastes for “surplus” used and vintage cars. In this way, they are preserved in a variety of forms and enrich us with the individual vision of the respective owner.

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    So then I add my mustard, since I also belong to the younger generation of Saab drivers. I have a hard time with the two-stroke generation because these cars from the time when there was nothing in the car apart from seats and a large steering wheel. I learned to drive on cars with airbags, ABS, (ESP) brake booster, power steering and PDC. Even if driving Saab is fun, I don't want to do without these basic things. I recently drove a car without power steering, thank goodness only overland, but that wouldn't be anything for me for everyday use.
    Regarding the two-stroke engines, I can still recommend Poland, where the two-stroke fans are large

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    @ Tom
    After further comments here, I have to admit that I completely ignored the scene of young people who like to tune. In this respect, I agree with you that I have generalized too much. I limit my negative view exclusively to the pure consumption drivers, who then actually occupy too small a group to cause drastic price reductions and vehicle loss.

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    @ebasli: Well, I think that's because I drove different brands as young / oldtimers on the one hand and I'm not only excited about SAAB to this day. Different brands, different customs, you often slip in one direction or the other. On the other hand, I organize various (small & private) trips / events myself. Driving passes in the Alps or cruising in the Bavarian foothills. Always cross-brand. I have no choice either, there aren't that many SAAB drivers in the Munich area 😉

    Of course, a lot of input comes in - one drives a W123 and polishes the whole day, the other a Z3 Coupe and secretly practices drifting, the next thinks about how to install a V8 in a BMW e30, the MX5 driver has the engine with a turbocharger brought to almost 400 hp and the 2 series GTi driver optimizes his chassis, the 964 series driver does not drive because it could rain and the BMW 850 series driver wants a rocked car because he is bothered by all the chic and mickey oldtimer behavior ... I’m listening here now otherwise I won't be able to finish work 😉

    And you're right in the middle of it all and the discussions are no longer limited to one topic or one brand. My SAAB sometimes falls short for that. Not so good either - for me.

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    Christian - very interesting point of view,

    which leads to food for thought (which it should)! And countless terms, names, scenes, etc., of which I have NEVER heard a word. I'm also a child of the 80s. But how do you know and know something like that when you are a child of the 80s? Lots of young people in the car scene?

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    I wouldn't see the generation change so black. I think we should take a different point of view here - otherwise we will become operationally blind. There is certainly a SAAB scene outside of the blog here and the well-known SAAB forum. It's just that it's a younger generation who treat cars differently than we're used to. There is, for example, the stance scene, the tuning scene, the restomods, etc., where SAAB is also gladly seen and rebuilt - I think very few here have dealt with these scenes. And there lies the problem. The younger generation has different demands, different ideas and different visions.

    There are also young companies such as do88, ESQS Wheels and others that deal specifically with SAAB. There is also a much younger SAAB community outside of the German-speaking area. People like “t16forpresident” from Sweden or “ultramarine blue saab 900 ″ from Poland, the SAAB S9 study by Ash Torp (please use the search engines yourself - I don't want to post any links here) are just a few examples.

    We have to open up to the younger audience and allow a Maptun Stage X tuned SAAB or a 9000 with Airride to also belong to our SAAB community. We also have to offer the younger generation a platform. Because it is precisely this young generation who will carry the brand on. Here the link is missing between the classic SAAB driver, who at most mounts aero or deer rims on them and feels anything but blasphemy, and the young audience who drives a 9-5 NG with 22 ″ ESQS rims.

    The Volvo scene as a positive example and the Rover scene as a negative example should be mentioned here. On the one hand (Volvo) it is now completely normal for 240s to 740s to be converted according to taste and to stand next to original first paint cars at classic meetings. On the other hand (Rover), it is already dead, although Rover is also beautiful, quirky, tech. made interesting cars. The generation change did not work out.

    Whether a 901 convertible loses value, let's say between ourselves - if interested, except for the Michl. This is our way of looking at things (I drive a 901 convertible myself). The price decline, if you want to call it that, is at most in the lower four-digit range. I don't think that any SAAB lover has to worry about his existence here in D. Often the 4th or 5th car is sold. It's pure luxury.

    The younger generation is not looking for a 901 convertible. They are looking for a usable 901 turbo 16 coupe, a 902 aero coupe as a switch, a Viggen, etc. This year alone I brokered two 9-3s among my friends to the younger generation (turbo, coupe and switch were the purchase criteria). The buyers want to convert the car, maybe Maptun, maybe a different chassis, maybe 19 ”rims. Another idea of ​​hobby.

    I think we should be open to the younger generation and think about how we used to be when we were younger. When we “tuned” the first cars, probably very rudimentary, the older generation also looked at us oddly. When I wanted to drive SAAB, I was taught over and over again that Premium (at that time the word didn't even exist) was called Mercedes and not SAAB. That a black bonnet, AZEV rims, splash of paint stickers are totally chubby. So I distanced myself from these advisors and still bought SAAB.

    Yes, I couldn't do anything with a 2-stroke either. Slow, loud, awkward, uncomfortable. I wanted to turbo and hit the highway. I'm just a child of the 80s. Today I see it differently. I also discovered slowness. Sometimes it takes a little time.

    I don't think the generation change issue is a club issue. The young scene is now decentralized, rather globalized. It is no longer the brand that counts so much, but what you stand for in life. Do I want to be “Petrolicious” or “Speedhunter” (here too, please use the search engines).

    Let's open a door together for this younger generation, accept that a Maptun, Airride, Stance, Restomod SAAB also carries on the genes of the brand. Maybe I'm leaning out the window too much, but let's open up this platform for the younger ones. Take up new topics, allow new perspectives. I miss this a lot here on the blog. I know criticism is quickly expressed. I am also very aware of how much work such a blog does (have had a business myself for years) and I have to pay you respect for that.

    One word at the end: I think diversity makes life colorful.

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      @Christian Thank you, well written!

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    Well, price reduction opens up a larger group of buyers, I see rather skeptically. With the successor to the 9-3 I convertible, the price range is as good as on the ground. According to my Saab familiar, these cars are bought, invested, ridden down and then simply sold again. The market “yet” does not reflect what I have invested in my 9-3 I convertible. But I do it out of passion. And the car is in great shape. It's also to your own delight. But if that Saab convertible par excellence, the 900 (whether you think it's beautiful is in the eye of the beholder), it looks bleak in my opinion. Especially for the 9-3s.

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      @ Old Swede: I would not generalize that. The scenery around Saab is anything but uniform. There are people who invest a lot of money in vehicles that are actually not worth it. Others, however, drive on wear and tear. But I think that the convertibles will generally retain their value and that the cheap 900 II or 9-3 I will increase.

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    Perhaps someone knows how the current situation has affected the other classics that have so far been absolutely stable in value, e.g. the Porsche 911?

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      @Ebasli: Porsche 911 is generally a bubble. Aside from really rare versions, there has been a gap for years between the public price and what is paid in reality. Due to Corona, the price development is in principle subdued to crumbling everywhere.

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    It would be a shame for the beautiful 900 convertible - but maybe the same applies here that the very young tend to prefer cars that they somehow know from their childhood? Just as it would never occur to me to deal with a two-stroke. Maybe that's why the great price for the red 9-3 ÌI convertible at the auction?

    If it were, it might increase the appreciation and interest in the 9-3s, which would be wonderful. But I very much hope that the 900 convertibles will only experience a corona and recession-related lull and then return to the level they deserve!

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