Saturday, October 12, 2013

2k: Saaxster: 1986 Saab 900 Turbo, Mid-Engine Conversion

DT's own Cflo waxed nostalgic earlier today with the feature involving the royal mating of the worlds sweetest production 4-banger (Honda FC20) and the cool shooting brake body designed by Jan Wilsgaard (Volvo 1800ES).  Unfortunately the final product S2000ES is aggressively priced for typical members of Occupy Pebble Beach (we are the 99%!) and I'd much prefer buying 10 mid-engined Saabs instead.  Find this 1986 SAAB 900 Turbo Mid-Engine for sale in Colorado Springs, CO for $2,000 via craigslist.

Okay, this perhaps isn't a good comparison with a 60s Swedish shooting brake, but the performance and pucker factor should be in the same ballpark.  While the S2000 engine will be sublime, the entire package will be let down by 50 year old Swedish engineering (lets face it even the "best" 1960s car handles like crap), but this Saab started life with a decent front drive chassis that drives/handles like a modern car except that now the entire weight distribution and driven end swapped for the ultimate in "who knows what will happen" handling.  With any car all kinds of complex suspension relationships with names like ackerman and roll center are optimized by the OE manufacturer via millions of dollars and thousands of engineering-hours...which are completely thrown out the window when you start swapping the engine location around. 

The original Saab B201 intercooled and turbocharged inline-4 has been re-planted firmly between the rear wheels and puts out 155 horsepower.  The modification includes a complete take over of the rear-seat area, trunk/hatch and a big divider behind the driver's head.  Rear view mirror is now permanently set to "lipstick/eyeliner."

The passenger portion of the interior looks like basic Saab 900 setup with only a custom hot-rod style slushbox shifter next to the driver's leg.  If you were going to the trouble to do a swap like this the least you could do is use a 5-speed...amiright?

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  1. I am assuming that the red and blue pipes in the engine compartment lead to and from a roof-mounted intercooler. The car reminds me of the Mad Max V8 interceptor (it would be a shame to blow it up). You are right, I would have definitely installed a stick...along with a red pull lever that that simultaneously adjusts the waste gate from 6 to 10 lbs of boost and activates a water/methanol injection system. You know, for when you need temporary extra power to out-run a group of angry bikers.

  2. So they just moved the same engine from the front to the back? What is the point? If you are going to take up the rear seat room, you need to do it with an engine of vastly more power to warrant the work.

    1. Absolutely agree. Like this:

  3. Old article, but that's not a b201, that's a b202 which can be quite easily tuned to around 200hp by adjusting/modifying the apc.

  4. Also he's not running power steering or AC.. 0.o

  5. Is it rear wheel drive now? I'm just wondering cause of the off set wheels it has now plus they look larger in the back. If so it would look extra cool if he flared the fenders to give it a rally car look! I dig it though


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