Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Boosted Front Driver: 1991 Saab 900 Turbo

The Saab 900 classic was produced through the 1993 model year (we don't need to talk about the GM2900 platform thing that had Saab badges but no soul) but its platform was just a slightly revamped version of the Saab 99 which started life way back in the mid 1960s.  Over the years Saab gradually refined the backward engine oddball into something that combined heritage, utility, and strange handling -- think of it like a slow, cheap, and front-drive Porsche 911.  Find this 1991 Saab 900 Turbo offered for $4,900 in Cabot, VT via craigslist. Tip from Art C.

Pics of this 900 really remind me of my time inside a 99, but this 1991 900 Turbo was one of the final iterations of Saab's Triumph based inline-4 canted over and mounted backwards on top of the front axle setup. 

The B202 is a 2.0 liter iron block, aluminum 16-valve head inline-4 that is equipped with a low pressure turbo that puts 160 horsepower and 188 ft-lbs of torque into a 5-speed gearbox located directly under the engine.  More power is at your fingertips if you've got hands made from redbox APC controllers.

On the inside is a long handle shifter that is surprisingly direct when you consider the tortured path it runs through to get into the transmission.  The floor mounted ignition switch and high seating position with wrap around windscreen are Saab specialties -- if you don't get it, don't worry about it, someone else will.

Think this thing is bad? You must've never ridden in the Draken.

See another car with a sticker celebrating inter-species love on the back?


  1. Whats that sticker above the rear bumper?
    The square red paper in back window should raise a red means for some reason the registration(or transfer of title) was suspended by DMV. Sometimes this is innocent-other times the title has been lost/it wont pass inspection/etc

  2. The sticker looks like an Eskimo with a Narwhal, possibly Mermaid.

    I'd rock one of these. There's a ton of power to be had from a Saab Turbo engine if you know what you're doing. Take the cylinder head and intake from an early 90's 2.1L 900s, put on as big a turbo as you wish, and crank the boost as far as you dare. I wouldn't go too far, though, the transmissions aren't made for insane power. Though, most transmissions fall apart because of the operator, not the engine.

    1. Boy you're a chipper bloke, aren't you Hunter? I wanna be your buddy.

  3. diver + mermaid is a well-worn trope - click here to see a million of them (some NSFW) - also pirate + mermaid, fisherman + mermaid, on and on - thank me later for destroying your productivity today

  4. These are sweet, long-life motors. Agree with Hunter that one has to be a speed shifting oaf to ruin this transmission. Or, run the wrong lube, or no lube.

    Buy it in Vermont, insure it, register it and drive back to whatever over zealous state you may inhabit. If you could see some of the swiss cheese running around VT, you'd know they don't stress MV rules.

    Go to Cabot hungry. The Cabot Cheese plant has an endless fee sample area with all their varieties of cheddar. Go for the Reserve "piercingly sharp" (my term).

    Almost every square mile of VT is gorgeous, with many, many beautiful roads to enjoy your Saab and more Saab repair places than anywhere but Sweden it seems.

    Prices have really stabilized on these and will surely rise as the herd thins further and they reach that, "wow, what a cool old car" stage. That is right now for me.

  5. Engine bottom end will take anything you want to throw at it. Transmission not so much. And above 200HP or so you're looking at terminal one-wheel peel, a big engine build needs to budget first and foremost for a Quaife differential.

    Personally, I never liked the slope nose on the later ur-900s, the flat nose up through the mid '80s with the Euro-market headlights is by far the best look for these cars.

    The Triumphness of the engine was substantially diluted by the mid '70s, and pretty much purged entirely in 1981, thank God.

  6. Regular maintenance is the most important process every car owner should perform. If the schedules are followed through closely in a diligent manner, any car can last much longer than what we often anticipate based on past feedback and general reviews.


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