Hooniverse Fastback Friday – Saab 900S turbo

Saab 900s 16-valve turbo. Is it green? Very.
With Saab’s recent turmoil and termination of warranties one tends to wonder “Why is it that I give a damn about Saabs, again?” It’s cars like this, that remind me why. I found this metallic green, last-series early-1990s 900S 5-door at a parking garage. It’s one of the low-pressure turbos with 143 hp; it’s not a full-force madcap Aero, but it’s still a true, classic turbo Saab. It’s in insanely good condition as well, and definitely worth preserving. Especially the paint looks near-perfect; buffing it to get rid of the swirling would probably yield excellent results. Outside, the temperature was hovering at something in the general ballpark of -15°C. The classic-shape 900S is a quintessentially Nordic car, proven and tested by decades of production in Finland as well as Sweden. For ages, Finns were proud of Saabs and considered them a lot more Finnish than equivalent Volvos; these days the Valmet factory churns out Porsches and Fiskers, not Saabs, but the heritage remains there with these classic ones. The interior is an attractively warm tan. Right colour combination in my eyes. Like the bumpers, spoilers and the weird wing-shaped vent, the 900S is strewn with slightly quirky black plastic parts. Their texture and feel would not suit any other car, but on the Saab they work. Even the rear light clusters look somehow utilitarian instead of being actually designed for the shape’s sake; but that’s only because the whole car is a logical development of the 99 from the mid-1960s. It’s not really, say, a 1992 car but a 1979 one at heart. The Saab’s block heater is plugged in, as it probably belongs to the department store’s personnel. I wouldn’t mind commuting in one, but as road salt heavily attacks Saab door bottoms I’d quite much rather consider shelving it for the saltiest days. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a 900 as clean as this; classified ads are full of sturdy but worn ones. There are a number of granddads/grandmothers’ cars popping up for sale every now and then, but as they often have a sub-100k km odo reading and a service folder crammed full of notebooks with fill-ups diligently marked down, the price tags can hover at several thousands of euros. Beater 900:s command sub-1k prices, but due to rust and ravaged interiors, let alone transmission problems I wouldn’t touch them. Turbos are often owned by enthusiasts these days, and convertibles are ridiculously expensive. I’m just hoping for a middling example with zero rust to come up for an attractive price. The only OG 900 I’ve driven was a 3-door automatic finished in what can only be described as dried nosebleed brown, and that had a jammed odo (I was told it had jammed the previous week, later on I found an ad six months older and the odo reading on it was the same) which resulted in no deal. Compared to the GM partsbin 900NG, I do think the OG900 will be roaming the streets far longer.

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