Saab 99 - a blue Finn in Germany

I've only been a subscriber to the blog since last December and I read with great enthusiasm the daily news from and about SAAB, written by people who obviously carry a special gene. So it might fit well into the course of the blog to introduce another active representative on four wheels! 99er, blue, 1984 from the Finnish Valmet factory, made with a delicate 101 hp, 5 gears and - yes, in good shape despite its 273.000 km.

A classic Saab - a journey through time
A classic Saab - a journey through time

The body shows patina, but without deterrent weaknesses. The engine was a little limp and inside you could see that the SAAB was also driven by the Finns to the rubber boot throwing competition. German word formation can sometimes be ingenious.

I only made the purchase on the basis of a few phone calls and many pictures via a classic messenger service and had the 99er put in front of the door of a SAAB specialist company in Hamburg.

I had to agree with my wife that it was a bit brave, but still better than moping around during the January '21 pandemic. And the '99 doesn't disappoint.

Interior - Turbo gauge on the dashboard
Interior - Turbo gauge on the dashboard

Of course, I clarified beforehand what I have to do as a businessman without any in-depth talent for mechanics to spice up the 38-year-old SAAB. And this is where the many years of experience of the Hamburg company come into play! So to speak, input in the form of ideas, wishes and conceptions from me and the output from Hamburg as a turbocharged limousine with certificates for proper registration.

The budget was discussed and, to my delight, it was almost entirely met. Nevertheless, there were a few surprises on the way to the turbo, but I had them in reserve.

Saab 99 - Turbo conversion
Saab 99 - Turbo conversion

what was done Engine revised and turbocharger on it, oil cooler and injection system on, installed a renewed chassis, got Minilite rims and spoilers and this and that.

For the inside, I was able to buy another 99 for small bills in Germany, which gave me a nice velor interior, in the turbo version of the last generation 99. The headliner and C-pillars should then also be nice to sniff.

With patience and luck I found a turbo steering wheel and a boost pressure indicator via the online platforms Tradera and Ebay.

So now HE is finished and even has a trailer hitch! With the Finn I connect to the time in 1982 when, at the age of 19, I was able to fulfill my dream of a used SAAB 99 GLS CC from 1977. Should the feeling from back then behind the wheel of the Turbo arise again?

Rear seat with Saab cover
Rear seat with Saab cover

Well, there are decades in between and the leap from cassette to Bluetooth is bigger than I thought. Nevertheless, the great fun always follows as soon as the turbo whistles, the steering wheel is forced into the parking space without a servo and the open window lets wind and sound into the cockpit.

Actually the pulpit!

Just like back then, when I always had to keep my head at an angle to the traffic light and still wasn't in the front line. In addition, the narrow pedals with a slight offset to the right, so that the pilot is forced into a slightly sloping position towards the middle. I think SAAB sold that as a safety gain at the time, since the driver doesn't run the risk of being too centered on the road.

Does such a car fit into the year 2022 and can you make a 99er on turbo? I think so, because my fin from 1984 still has the original energy from back then and as long as there are professionals for maintenance, maintenance and service, even such a chance has to be grabbed.

And last but not least, my wife let me do it and smiles about the 99 and the boy behind the wheel, who still doesn't seem to be out of midlife when you look at the loader. Exactly, and that's a good thing!

Preparations are now underway for the big meeting in Trollhättan and I'm already looking forward to the event where a Swedish Finn will stop in Sweden.

5 thoughts on "Saab 99 - a blue Finn in Germany"

  • Dear Saabisti, I was very happy that the article was published and that the readers obviously liked it. Since the 99er is not supposed to let off steam in the garage but on the streets, you might see each other somewhere at some point. Thank you for the appealing comments, I was very pleased. Best regards.

  • Nicely written and great car, congratulations.
    That's what I would have imagined for my '99, it was pretty tired and the gears were too long.
    My love for the 96s also prevails and it was ultimately sold.

  • Just awesome

    It's well written and well done. At the latest when you look at the last picture (back seat with blanket) it becomes clear how symbiotic and fruitful a blog subscription with access to the shop and a real weakness for Saab are ...
    That harmonizes and the turbo in the light 99 probably even hormones?

    Always have fun, have a safe trip and thank you for the good story!

  • Thank you for this very special (in many facets) report. Great!
    Didn't think it was possible to conjure up a SAAB Turbo 101 from a 99PS SAAB 99. Crazy.
    I can imagine the driving pleasure and I can well imagine it... However, the color of the SAAB is the crowning glory. And in a positive way. Incredibly retro chic.
    Have fun with this special SAAB!

    • In Scandinavia, such modifications/modernizations/upgrades are commonplace.
      Of the last basic 99s from model years '82-84, many were even converted to 2.0-tu-16v drives. On the one hand, because from the H engine onwards the necessary space was available without major conversion effort and on the other hand, fortunately, many 99s, some of which were first hand, were in good condition. At the upcoming festival in Trollhätten there will definitely be a dozen of these conversions, as was the case at every past festival! Unless there is a noticeable external “third-party tuning conversion” visible, a classic 99 of the last generation can simply and easily be lovingly converted with original accessories (adjusting the chassis and the brake system of the Turbo), and adapted to the higher performance and accordingly also as be considered “Saab-worthy”. In addition, this strong increase in performance at the time (from the original 100 to 145 or even 175 HP) adapts well to today's almost standard vehicle engine performance.

      In the mid-80s, I also had a 2-door 99 with this color in my fleet, whose originally die-hard 99 owner decided to switch to the 901 afterwards. As a lover of the blue colour, I found this body variant appropriate, in combination with the blue interior so as not to create an unsuitable contrast, which was the fashion of the 70's at the time; where is always a matter of taste. However, the resale at that time failed because of its color, until a semi-skilled Saab driver, thanks to her family passion for Saab, was only looking for a model 99, no matter what color, the main thing was that she was "happy". And the well-preserved 99er luckily came back into "die-hard" Saab hands.

      Regarding the color, it should be mentioned that at that time light and medium blue was regarded as an unpopular fashion color; although almost everyone wore fashionable blue jeans and the blue color was the rage! Among other things, this medium-blue “Azure-Blue” with no. 116B (from the manufacturer BECKERS), which was only available for a short time, since in fact there seemed to be a rather low demand among Saab customers. Its even lighter successor color "Zircon-Blue" under the nr. 157B, was unfortunately even more unsuccessful and finally only available on a few markets as model 90+901er, was interestingly only found on basic models in Scandinavia. The generally rather unsuccessful light to medium blue body colors (such as B7 Middle Blue, B9H Astral Blue, B10H Laguna Blue, 137B Aquamarine Blue met. and 215H Ultramarine Blue) were not even then to be compared with the demand for the various dark blue color variants (B8 Carolina Blue, 136H Midnight Blue, 131H Admiral Blue, 198G Embassy Blue longest and most successful on offer, 229H LeMans Blue met.) which were almost always available with better results, with one color successfully replacing the other. Interestingly enough, in Europe, the dark blue of the types 198+229 was in demand above all in central to southern countries.

      Significantly more popular during the 80's were, surprisingly, the metalized "117H-Platinum-Blue" color (was more of a silvery blue but classified under light blue) and the slate-blue "112B-Slate-Blue" color (medium to slightly dark blue). The latter was even available in '84+85 as a 2-tone luxury version no. 195 in slate blue with silver on sale; initially only intended as a special edition with a beige leather interior and then also available to order with a velor interior. Yes, even for the Saab-99, although the customers had no knowledge of it because only a few to small dealers advertised it; a real rarity.

      But this success of the light/medium blue body color did not last long, because its successor colors 220G(Glasurit)+220H(Herberts)+224(only 9k) Iridum Blue met. (there were different manufacturers for a short time, presumably because of technical recipe problems, they didn't want to talk about it, but a few things turned out afterwards) as well as 234H-Nocturne-Blue-Mead. were also unsuccessful.

      With the subsequent more modern vehicle model range, the blue color was treated again and again as a short-term fashion color, except surprisingly the dark blue 198 Ambassador color, which like white, black or red established itself as a standard color in the longer term!

      Whether in general the naming of a color can have a buying effect on certain markets?

      In any case, some of those responsible for the then Italian Saab importer SidAuto shared this philosophy as a commercial success based on their examples; since there had been good cooperation with Trollhättan in the northern Italian automotive industry for a long time, not only in relation to the 9k project with Fiat/Lancia, but also the existing spare parts production for 99/901 parts, where they contributed a lot. Among other things, some of his suggestions were actually implemented and introduced, at that time the best known was the naming of "Odoardo Gray" (in English "Edwardian Gray"), which does not directly correspond to a color naming, but only the "favourite color" of the person responsible at the time Saab-Tunin and whose own name he was keen to contribute, which the Saab factory accepted without comment. He must have had the right instinct at the right moment, because for him it was an instant success that corresponded to the fashion demand at the time. Many didn't want it to be direct at first, but ultimately benefited from it.

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