The classic car hobby has a reputation for being exclusive. It doesn't have to be. There are inexpensive classics that are fun. The Saab 99 is one of those. It is almost never expensive, especially when there is no turbo under its hood. It arouses sympathy, is socially acceptable and guarantees a starting place at the next classic car event.
The advancement to a higher class
For Saab, the 99 was the second completely new development since 1947. It came onto the market in 1968; its design was drawn by the legendary mold designer Sixten Sason, who was no longer able to witness the premiere. The shape of the 99 shaped the design of Saab until the end of 2011. The shell-shaped design of the bonnet was later continued on the 900, 9-3 and 9-5. Brand DNA that Sason launched in the 60s.
Much more important for Saab, however, was the promotion to a higher vehicle class. Until then, the Swedes from Göta Älv only built small cars like a Saab 92, 93 or 96. The 99 was a middle class and, as a magazine wrote at the time, the brand's first real car. In the beginning, the 99 still had a Triumph engine under the hood, which led to problems and almost ended vehicle production.
Later, an improved real Saab engine derived from the Triumph Original was used. It became known as the B engine and was also used in the Saab 1981 until 900. The 99 was a milestone for Saab, at times more than 60.000 vehicles a year left the brand's plants.
A second-hand classic
The first series designed by Sason is the most beautiful in terms of looks. The models with chrome grille and chrome bumpers have a certain lightness that the later versions lack. A touch of exotic sportiness gently blows into it, maybe a little bit of Italy and Fiat or Alfa.
In any case, the first series does not have the seriousness of later models with their safe, massive, self-repairing bumpers. This is exactly where the appeal of an early Saab 99 lies, which has also become very rare. You hardly ever see one, and if a 99 is present at a classic event, it is often a turbo or a late model.
A second hand Saab 99
An interesting example is for sale in the Netherlands. Old license plates, mud flaps with the Saab airplane symbol - that makes you feel good. If the description is correct, then the Swedish mid-range sedan from 1971 had only two owners in almost 50 years. An older restoration in 2000 resulted in a repainting and renovation of the sheet metal. A thick folder with the documentation should be available.
The Saab should be rust-free, which is crucial. Because sheet metal work is rarely available for a slim thaler, hardly a 99 drives through the area without rust. You can cope with it if the driver's seat is not the original. It is there, writes the seller. But must be re-covered.
The speedometer of the Saab 99 reports 38.000 kilometers. They are not proven, but the private seller considers them to be credible. In the end, it doesn't really matter whether it's 38.000 or 138.000. The decisive factor is the condition and the absence of rust.
Then the Saab 99 in its early version would be a very attractive temptation to score points at a classic event next spring or just to have driving pleasure.
Pictures via Autoscout (4/4)