Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Save The Saabs: 1968 SAAB 96

The vintage car market is a fickle thing -- while plenty of low buck classic marques survive the years due to sheer mass (think VW Beetle, W108 Benz), other oddball classics aren't worth enough for collectors to pay attention, but they weren't built in large enough numbers to survive being used as winter beaters and they are slowly becoming extinct.  These are cars like Studebakers, AMCs, and Saabs -- particularly the old two-stroke variety that ooze charisma and oil in equal quantities.  Find this 1968 SAAB 96 here on eBay bidding for $2,025 reserve-not-met with 2 days to go.

A similar condition Porsche 911/912 would be scooped up by some "investor" for something in the 5-figure range and restored to 6-figures, but the lowly 96 sits forlornly offered for the price of a set of Michelins for a new luxury/sport SUV.  It's good and bad -- good if you are a buyer on a budget, bad when you consider the longevity of the breed.

Powering this oddball is a 841cc (51 cubic inch) 3-cylinder 2-stroke engine that puts out 40 horsepower into a syncromesh 4-speed manual gearbox.  Power is sent to the front wheels with an odd freewheel setup which decouples the engine from the drivetrain when you lift the throttle -- this was an attempt by Saab to avoid oil starvation (the 2-stroke uses oil pre-mixed with fuel to lubricate the piston rings) on long downhill sections of road.

This isn't a museum quality example, in fact it shows quite a bit of wear/tear on the inside and out (some rust too) -- but all the lights work, same for gauges, radio -- hey what more can you ask for in a $2k classic?

See another two-stroke classic?


  1. "it shows quite a bit of wear/tear on the inside and out (some rust too)"
    when the rust is such that the difference between inside and out blurs into those holes between your feet then "some" just doesn't describe the rust.

    Not much of a winter beater when the snow, slush and road salt come straight into the foot wells.

  2. I spotted this one yesterday. It really makes me wonder, since the floor pan is toast but the rest of the body LOOKS quite good (in fact, better than good, for a car of this vintage). Usually the "carpet matches the drapes", so to speak.

    Anyway, this thing could be a great catch for the right buyer. Of course, the DT exposure may drive the bidding up by $50 or so.....

    1. Yeah, it looks pretty good. How bad is the underbody rust? A few random floorpan holes means a driver or an 80-point show car, something that showers the occupants in roadside gutter drainage is a lot more work. Or a can of asphaltic roof cement from Home Depot and a roll of roof flashing. Not suggesting that approach, mind you, though keeping old Saabs on the road is a Good Thing.

    2. Rust at the bottom of the A-pillars, both sides. At the seam below the C-pillar on the left hand side. Where the cowl meets the firewall under the hood.

      I've owned 22 Alfa Romeo, so no-one's ever accused me of being extra rust-sensitive, but I wouldn't.

    3. Good eye, BTW! So someone better be good with the Tin Worm Tonic if they buy this thing. Man, it still looks SOOOO good under the hood. But I hate rust, with a passion. That is a result of growing up in the Rust Belt in the 70s. Rust?!? I'll show you rust.....

  3. This is not a '68 car. SAAB went to a taller windshield in '68. It's probably a '67, not that that matters much.

  4. This ad is as bad as my writing but i can spell most of the time ! Really do like these old Saabs and the v-4 is the way to go but i need to unleash those angry bee's from the 3 cyl 2 sickle !
    Ring a ding say it loud and slooooow.

  5. After looking @ the floorboards it's ready for the Flintstone's conversion.

  6. Pimp my SAAB

    1. Wow, that is frickin' cool! Thanks for sharing the video JB1025.

  7. What a unique engine compartment. The entire engine seems to be in front of the drive axles, with the rest of the compartment available to house a blower motor fan that's big enough to be capable of wind tunnel testing.


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