Friday, September 26, 2014

5k: Funderful: 1972 Saab 96 V4

The SAAB 96 is a slow car, with 60mph achieved in a sundial stopwatch friendly 15 seconds...or more.  Don't make the mistake of confusing slow with un-fun, as a SAAB 96 is not a Prius-like appliance and will provide a thrill a minute, like merging on a major highway for instance.  Another example is cruising down hill, for example.  In a fancy car like a 911 it is a simple choice of which gear to select for engine braking, but the 96 uses a freewheel clutch designed to prolong the life of the previously fitted 2-stroke engine and it lets the car cruise down a hill while the engine settles to a peaceful idle.  Need to pick up speed, just mash the gas and a few minutes later the engine revs match trans speed the power gets put to the wheels.  Want engine braking -- just hit a floor mounted switch and the trans gets engaged.  If this seems like your idea of fun you can pickup this 1972 Saab 96 V4 for $3750 in Seattle, WA via craigslist.  Tip from FuelTruck.

The Saab 96 isn't just fun on the surface, it consists of layers of fun, like the automotive equivalent of an onion.  Accordingly, it will often make you cry and other people will say it stinks.  Don't listen to those people, they are not your friends and wouldn't have your back if you went to prison together.  A fellow Saab enthusiast, on the other hand, will tell you how cool your car is when a wheel falls off and rolls through his front window.  The Saab dude will also take a shiv for you and help smuggle a few spare ignition relays into the big house in his cornhole after a work release week...those Saab naysayers, will probably tell the police about your plan to smuggle stuff in your cornhole in a feeble attempt to get time off for good behavior.  A Saab blinker stalk makes a great shiv if you need to get even with them.

Under the forward hinged hood is a Ford Taunus sourced compact V4 engine good for 65 horsepower that might propel the 96 to a theoretical top speed of over 90mph. There is a good chance you will run out of road (or guts) before you run out of revvs, but someone is going to have fun along the way.

 See a better V4 powered classic?


  1. This may be the finest prose written since Bob Dole invented sushi. Very similar in stature to the undeniable greatness of the Citation X-11.

  2. These heavily Photoshopped or Lightroomed or whatevered photos in car ads are getting increasingly annoying - as if the seller knows that the car, when seen in person, will turn off whomever comes calling. That costs time, money, and anger. Why not be honest with what you've got, up front?

    1. Hi Manrayman. The technique is called High Dynamic Range Imaging .

      I agree that the effect adds little to an add like this one.

      Nice car, though. You can't lose much money in that price range, and I bet it would be a Smile per Mile (too bad that no longer works up here in Kilometer Land....)

    2. There is an Ebay Seller in Lakeland, FL, who lists under the user name Classicsbylash. They list some very nice cars, but they rely on the same technique. Depending upon the monitor I'm using, their pictures go from just distracting to incredibly annoying.
      I'm sure our E-i-C gets tired of listening to my old man grumble every time I come across one of their cars that I'd like to write up, but I just can't get past the pictures. (so he writes them up and they do well)
      It bears repeating, they sell nice cars, that present very well. They don't need the extra 'lipstick'.
      I've bought enough cars online that I rely very heavily on the pictures in the ads. When I see that technique, I tend to skip right over the ad because I (like Manrayman) feel that someone is trying to put something over on me.

    3. And, for what its worth...the pictures of the Saab tend minimize the impact of the rumpled and rusted left rear fender.

  3. This has been on Craigs for more then a minute !

  4. made-of-glass transmission rebuild: $2600. The only reason I haven't bought one.

    1. Hmmm...I bet I could find one to do it for less. They're quite simple.

      Though frankly my periodic Saab 95 urges involve some kind of VW/Audi or maybe Subaru transaxle swap.

      A turbo 2-liter V4 really needs a 5-speed, after all...

    2. If anyone turns up a rolled Audi RS4 with an intact powertrain let me know, I might be just stupid enough to buy it for the next Saab 95 that turns up. It'd have to be cheap...


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