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Weekend Edition – A 1990 Saab 900 SPG Project Car on Craigslist – Another 24-Hours-of-Lemons Candidate?

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Here is another Craigslist Quick Hit, this time featuring a rare Saab 900 SPG that has seen better days. We owe a Hat-Tip to Alex (Thanks Man!) for bringing it to our attention. So, would you be brave enough to tackle this particular project?

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According to the listing:

Background: This car was my pride and joy for many years and it was babied the entire time I drove it. Then, around 5 years ago, some life/financial changes took place that saw the car parked and not driven again. Sad to see it decay sitting in my yard and I’d hoped to get time and $$ to restore it but that never happened and is not likely to. So, would like to see someone else restore it or, if not, save another SPG with parts from it.

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Current Condition: Having been parked for the past 5 years, it’s not really drivable with any degree of safety so it will need to be trailered or towed. Brake discs are obviously badly rusted, handbrake not functional. I started the engine today and it did start though with lots of cranking. There is a squealing sound from the rear of the engine which might be the AC compressor or maybe the infamous crank dampener issue. Noise diminishes after it runs for a while. Front right fender arch is rotted out and rear right is beginning to rust away. Paint is faded but, as this car does not have clear coat, I’ve found that it readily compounds back to a nice shine. Clutch was beginning to slip when I parked it. Muffler has a hole (it’s a Saab OEM part with lifetime warranty FWIW). Front seat belt clips not working. Headliner sagging. Small crack in windshield. Leather front seats in good condition. Rear leather seat excellent. Dash has cracks. Left CV joint boot torn. Car has Hella E-code headlamps but the right one has a broken lens. Transmission had no issues at all. Engine always ran extremely strong. . . this car is VERY fast. All shocks replaced within the past 20K miles or so with OEM SPG parts. The car has not been in any accidents.

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What you get: The car as pictured. Includes the original 3-spoke SPG wheels in very good condition (not currently on the car) as well as the alloys shown in the picture with good Nokian snow tires mounted.

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Also includes the following parts for use in restoration/repair:
Brake rotors front and rear ( new)
Rear brake pads (new)
Brake hardware kits
Front seat belt set complete (used)
2 CV joint boot kits (new) with axle nuts
AC compressor (used)
Electric antenna (not 100% sure it’s correct part — used)
Pair of the original OEM headlights
Bosch fuel filter (new)
Fuel pump (used) as a spare

If interested, please email with a phone number at which you can be reached and I will get back to you. Thanks for looking!

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This car is showing 225,000 miles, and the asking price is $750. See the listing here, or if the ad disappears, click here. Do you think this SPG can be brought back to life, and are you the one to do so?

Currently there are "25 comments" on this Article:

  1. wolfie says:

    Rust in Peace!

  2. Van_Sarockin says:

    SPGs are pretty desirable. This one is reclaimable, maybe not as a concours trailer queen, but certainly not a choice between LeMons and the crusher. Shame it's sat so long, because that adds to the effort now needed, but it's no deal killer. The big question would be just how bad is the body rust, really? Everything else is pretty straightforward to deal with, and well understood by SAAB owners.

    • wunno sev says:

      "reclaimable" in the sense that you might be able to get it running again. would you want to?

      the way i figure, if you're gonna get a rusty car, just get a camry so it doesn't give you any trouble. a rusty turbo saab is going to neither look good nor work well.

      • Van_Sarockin says:

        If I wanted a rusty Camry, I wouldn't be here.

        • wunno sev says:

          sure, but this thing? i just can't see the point. i'm currently in an abusive relationship with a car that's got me dumping money and time into it and getting maybe a year or two before the same problems recur. i bought it to drive it, not to drive my beater.

          i'll grant that my doubt is rooted in frustration with my current project, but i don't see any redeeming qualities in a rusty saab whose brakes don't work, engine's probably a ticking time bomb, probably rusted to hell under that cladding, needs drivetrain work, needs a new windshield, paint is faded, and, worst of all, has been neglected in the weather for five years. the amount of money needed to get this into shape could get you a saab that wasn't screwed, not to mention save tons of free time, which i miss dearly. i'm all for the hooniverse spirit of adventure, but i just don't think this car is worth the trouble.

          i also notice that you mention the problems are well-characterized, and i don't know anything about saabs, so maybe you're right and what're listed are all simple fixes. but cars that have spiraled this far into decay always have more lurking beneath the surface. again, just an opinion and you probably know a lot more about these cars than do i.

          • Van_Sarockin says:

            Anyone who's looking to buy an SPG will understand that there will be a goodly amount of repair and maintenance needed. SAABs are pretty nicely put together, so working on one can be rather enjoyable. My difficulties with them seem to come from my having been raised in the 'Use A Bigger Hammer' school of auto repair, and they don't cotton well to that.

            There are SAAB owners who think that welding in new shock tower mounts or reinforcement is all in a day's work. That rear wheel rust would worry me, maybe make me take a pass on it, because I don't really like doing body and paint work. But considering it as only a parts car? I'd wait until the windshield pillars started to get all bubbly.

        • vwminispeedster says:

          A rusty Camry. Sounds like a move from some weird autoerotic movies.

  3. Kris_01 says:

    Wow, that's actually in pretty decent shape for a sub-$1k car. Wouldn't go as far as to say that it's only good for LeMons.

  4. Rover1 says:

    If only it was closer,it would be mine by now.

  5. Paul E says:

    Being a New England car, I'd be more worried about structural rust, especially at the control arm mounting points and rear shock mounting points. More, who knows what one would find underneath the SPG panels… Even if you DID find good replacement fenders and had them welded in place, chances are one would be chasing the rust demons elsewhere on an eternal basis. If one could get the SPG panels (and hardware) off intact, that plus the SPG wheels would quickly bring the net price well under the LeMons cap. Sad to say, this one's a LeMons candidate or parts car.

    • Battles says:

      Yeah, what he said.
      I've seen outwardly more attractive 900s hiding loads of rust.

      Anyways, don't Saabs have a pretty sketchy history at LeMons?

    • Marshall says:

      You can buy the fenders brand new. It's not cheap, but you can. You can also buy repair panels for the arches inner and outer.

  6. Zach says:

    can't fault the price, at least. seems like a good project for a 17 year old kid to get in a bit over his head with.

  7. Garland says:

    If it was an '89 and closer to me, I'd buy it without a second thought and restore it.

    It'd be a shame to see a car like that sacrificed in LeMons.

  8. Rust-MyEnemy says:

    If I had a Saab 900 Turbo, I'd want to recreate that scene in Hi Fidelity with Laura in the rain.

  9. LTDScott says:

    In the dozen or so LeMons races I have participated in, by far my worst time was with a team fielding a Saab 900 Turbo (although not SPG). Transmission blew, car overheated, and handling was sketchy to say the least. I know this is more to do with the person who prepped the car than the car itself, but this experience soured me on Saabs altogether.

  10. lilpoindexter says:

    DAMN…I've always wanted this body style car. I think the rust on this one probably affects the suspension mounting points making it unsafe to drive, so it's a parts car…not even worthy of lemons. Damn shame to see such a unique car end up like this.

  11. wunno sev says:

    oh god, this is miserable. it's not recoverable. this isn't a project, it's a parts car.

    it's hardly noteworthy…rusty saabs are a dime a dozen.

  12. sport_wagon says:

    Special Performance Group!

    SOLD!

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