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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at an old Saab as a possible project(possibly as a buy/sell car, because I think I can get it for dirt and sticks rather than money). So tell me everything you know about mid 70s Saabs, saabs like this:

If I decide not to flip it, I may turn it into one of those grassroots motorsports $200x challenge cars, and enter it in that, maybe make it a long term project as a rally car.
So, everything you know guys, time to vomit saab 99.
 

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Re: School me on old Saabs (BattleRabbit)

I'm not as up on this as I should be given how much I adore those cars. But in general, the cars are old and parts are scarce. Because the car is basically an older version of the platform that underpinned the 900, some parts are interchangeable (especially as you get into the later model years of the 99), but not as many as you'd like. Fun project is to swap in a 16v Turbo engine -- it will shoehorn in with some firewall modification and given the lighter body of the 99, you get some pretty fun times.
Water pump failure is a problem because it is basically integrated into the block, so repair sucks.
For desirability, go for the later 1970's cars, preferably with the fuel injected engines and avoid the power-killing automatics. Early 99's had weak engines that were not nearly as solid as the later ones (the engine is, after all, related to the Triumph Stag's V8 engine); go with the latest possible engines for best results.
The 4 speed manual transmissions are pretty stout, unlike the 5 speeds in 900's. Most desirable, in my opinion, is the 5-door 99, which is rare, but the sedans have their own funky charm. 99 Turbo's are fun but hard to find and Saab enthusiasts demand outrageous prices for them. EMS trim has some nice features but often some "I'm-sure-it-looked-great-in-1975" pinstriping and EMS logos all over it that, while historically accurate, are ugly as sin.
They are really worth it for their charm and personality, but they will definitely drain your wallet (As any 1970's car will) if you are not careful. Visit SaabCentral.com and Saabnet.com, where there are good message boards devoted entirely to the 99.
 

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Re: School me on old Saabs (dewthedew)

I love my Sonnet http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
Does cost a bit though.
 

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Re: School me on old Saabs (VDubby18)

I played Saab mechanic for my roomates who had Saabs back in the day (I drove a Volvo Turbo, the original '82 Coupe).
I would get up in the morning, and there would be Betty... or John... sitting there having a cup of coffee long after they should have been gone. Waiting for me to utter "So, what's the saab story?" and they would always fume. Then ask for help.
Basically, mechanically very stout cars that had lots of niggles that would couse problems, mostly electrical. Engines north-south but backwards, belts a pia but clutches are easy. If you are a live-in mechanic then just standard stuff. Nowhere near as trouble-free as the cheapest Mazda.
Neighbor Dave had a 99 with a newer Turbo drivetrain dropped in. Fast and with long legs, topped near 150. Did I mention Dave was a Saab privateer mechanic?
OTOH, tons more reliable than a British Leyland product. Maybe a good winter rally car.
 

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Re: School me on old Saabs (dewthedew)

Quote, originally posted by dewthedew »

x2. Run. Run far away. Seriously.

Sounds pretty similar to your post in this thread: http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=4027350
Quote, originally posted by dewthedew »
Run. Run fast, and run far, and don't ****ing look back.
You've been warned.
 

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Re: School me on old Saabs (dewthedew)

Quote, originally posted by dewthedew »

x2. Run. Run far away. Seriously.


I think "dewthedew" is in great shape. From his posts he tells people to run, run far away. So I guess thats all he does (run) because he doesn't like any car on the road. He just runs from them.
 

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Re: School me on old Saabs (BattleRabbit)

I had 1976 99 EMS. Twas a wonderful car.
Clutch is in front of engine
Bosch fuel injection.
Wonderful interior/seats
DON'T get the 1.7 litre get the 2.0
Fantastic heat.
DO NOT shift from forward to reverse or visa-versa...this will snap the main input shaft in the tranny.
key in console.
Great dashboard.
Very aerodynamic even today.
INCA wheels are da bomb!
good luck
 

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Re: School me on old Saabs (sciroccohal)

Quote, originally posted by sciroccohal »
I had 1976 99 EMS. Twas a wonderful car.
DO NOT shift from forward to reverse or visa-versa...this will snap the main input shaft in the tranny.

So you can't rock the car back & forth if you're stuck? I guess if you have a 35 year old car that you drive in the snow, you deserve to get stuck...
Quote, originally posted by sciroccohal »
Very aerodynamic even today.

You sure about this? They're very upright & I believe their CD ratings are pretty high by today's standards, like .41 or something. Admittedly, I know little about aerodynamics beyond the CD.
 

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Re: School me on old Saabs (BattleRabbit)

The OP won't get very far "flipping" a 99. Most of these are sold for what they're worth -- turbos and EMS models in good shape fetch a few stacks, and others do not. The 1980 GLi is hard to find, but worth it. Early models are probably worth a little when in restore or original shape, and not much good for daily driver status otherwise. Later models still make reasonably good commuters when they're sorted out.
Look for finicky front brakes, typical CIS troubles and the water pump. That's about it...
 

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Re: School me on old Saabs (HerrGolf)

HerrGolf said:
So you can't rock the car back & forth if you're stuck? I guess if you have a 35 year old car that you drive in the snow, you deserve to get stuck...

I didn't quite say that. I have never damaged a SAAB tranny...however back in the day, when rolling forward and grabbing reverse and dumping the clutch you could snap the shaft.
I'm from VERMONT so when your stuck in snow the wheels are still moving forward when you shift into reverse??? Trust me...you NEVER get unstuck THAT way! LOL
 

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Re: School me on old Saabs (dewthedew)

Quote, originally posted by dewthedew »

x2. Run. Run far away. Seriously.

The only reason there are any early 99s left today is because the crushers aren't strong enough to collapse those stout roofs on them.
They're like the old Volvos that the ads showed with 20 elephants standing on top of them.
Image uploading. Refresh page to view
 

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Re: School me on old Saabs (vwlarry)

It's true! The early 99s were so crappy that they had to keep using the platform through 1994.
Actually with their current age and characteristics (freewheels carried over from the 96, etc), early 99s are a pretty interesting vintage find in restored condition, and not terribly expensive in original condition either.
Anyway.
I wonder what a dashstroker would think of this...
 

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Re: School me on old Saabs (Armour)

Betcha I can make you Sonnet lovers cry. Back in the 80's my buddy Dave worked at Saab USA headquarters in Orange, CT. When Bob Sinclair, president, told him to get rid of excess stock from the warehouse. He had to throw out 7 perfect complete Sonnet nose clips (the entire front end) from various vintages. And no, he couldn't rescue them, the dumpster was under surveillance.
He did manage to salvage a few of the nice Sony head units from the newer Saabs.
 

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Re: School me on old Saabs (turbo_nine)

Quote, originally posted by turbo_nine »
It's true! The early 99s were so crappy that they had to keep using the platform through 1994.
Actually with their current age and characteristics (freewheels carried over from the 96, etc), early 99s are a pretty interesting vintage find in restored condition, and not terribly expensive in original condition either.
Anyway.
I wonder what a dashstroker would think of this...

In the annals of Saab funkiness, people tend to forget the seat belt clips -- instead of having a metal clip that clicked into a seat belt receptacle, you pulled the belt itself over your shoulders and looped the belt across those clips sticking up, then clicked the clips into place. Slightly maddening, although you'd be hard pressed to break them.
 
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