Films: This Saab 900 Was Built To Last
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Made To Drive | S02 E22

This Saab 900 Was Built To Last

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In 1967, Glenn's parents special-ordered a silver Saab Sonett II from a Florida dealer and, as a result, Glenn spent his childhood riding to school not in Detroit’s muscle cars of the 1960s and ‘70s but in a 1500-pound Swedish sports car with a 70 horsepower, two-stroke engine. The Sonett has followed Glenn through life. In 1980, when he was eighteen years old, Glenn bought the car from his parents for $300 and, with the help of his father, gave the car enough energy to carry Glenn through college and into adulthood.
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Nate Jenkins
Nate Jenkins
5 years ago

OLD 900’s FOREVER!!!!!!

mick van aar
mick van aar
7 years ago

as a first year apprentice diesel mechanic i was working on my housemate’s bmw 2002, it needed a new master cylinder and she hadn’t bought any brake fluid, i asked her to grab my 1988 900 16v 2door to grab some, when she came she asked me how long i had been driving a car with only first and fourth gear…..thta was the end of number one…well
i new where there was a 900 aero for sale but it needed a new gearbox, i also knew one of them for instead of buying a gearbox alone a bought a 1987 ( that sight one year older ) aero and a gearbox. at the time i was only 4 months into my apprenticeship but i figured i had the manual !it toke me four full days but i got it done !
i had so much fun in that car, i could sleep in it with all doors closed and im 6ft3, i was opened her up a bitt on the freeway with a subaru imprezza next to me, at 160 km an hour i found out it was an unmarked police car, he put his alarm on, i het the brakes and he kept going (-:
i know drive a 9-3 td wagon but one day i would like to get a 900 again for sure!!

7 years ago

My first experience with Saab was when my dad bought a used 2001 9-5 Turbo. I loved every part of that car up until he traded it in for his current wheels. Had to be careful in winter when you rolled the window down, or the guides would crack, and he overheated it on his way to work once and blew the head gasket. It was never quite the same after that, but it was still a great car.

Jonathan Hoonigan Stahl
Jonathan Hoonigan Stahl(@fb_100007116038609)
7 years ago

My wonderful 88 C900 Turbo.

Terrence Cox
Terrence Cox(@bdkr)
8 years ago

I always thought these looked like Aardvarks. And I don’t mean that in a bad way either. The truth is I think they are gorgeous. And being a fan of turbo cars from the period, I always desired one.

Thanx Petro for posting this and thanx to the owner for keeping the car running. 🙂

Adrian Butterworth
Adrian Butterworth(@t16s)
8 years ago

Saabs are built to last – and they do unless they are victims of crash damage or live in particularly bad climates. A lot of the 900’s we see now need some remedial rust work – but the youngest one is now 20 years old! There is simply no other car’s of that vintage around that have done hundreds of thousands of miles like a Saab can do. Saabs soldier on for many miles without even basic maintenance meaning that most of the (admittedly cheap) cars I’ve ever bought have needed a fair amount of work to bring them back up again – but once that’s done they are fantastic cars that with a couple of tweaks can embarrass many modern performance cars…

Believe it or not Saab actually commissioned British firm Ricardo Engineering to design the engine – they then ran out of money and Triumph manufactured it and Saab put it into the 99 for a couple of years before completely redesigning it. There are no common parts and most of the engineering is entirely different only the basic layout remains the same which was always part of Saabs original design brief. People often forget that the Saab 99 was designed in the 1960’s – the end of production 1993 SPG shared the majority of its design – and formidable crash protection…

I got into Saabs when I was young as they were relatively cheap – were the fastest things you could buy and you could get five guys and their wetsuits and boards in easily or put the back seat down and convert the car into a double bed for weekends away… Now I’m a little bit older I have a tuned convertible that people completely ignore with the roof up (until it leaves them behind) or if the roof’s down there’s always someone looking at it when I come back to it!

Kurt Uzbay
Kurt Uzbay(@kurt)
8 years ago

Very nice video,.. I owned a ’91 9000 CSE Turbo. What a great car it was. Hunter Green w calfskin int. The only prob was the climate control. You put it on and a gorilla monsoon would flow thrrough the vents .. anyway.. One of the cars in my collection is the Dutch Spyker (C8 Spyder); [b]Spyker actually to bought Saab from GM[/b]; then GM went essentially bankrupt and re-negged on the deal. Spyker sued and the case was/is currently thrown out of court (governing law/and the case were in Detroit, good luck Spyker)…. Kurt

Steijn Uijttewaal
Steijn Uijttewaal(@fb_100005297830000)
8 years ago

A really nice example of a end of series original 900.

The later model 900 was in fact really a dull Opel Vectra underneath, although the Swedish enigineers did improve the Vectra chassis to comply with their safety standards.
The Triumph engine was in fact only used in the 99 series, later on Saab engineered their own engines.

As a student I drove a 90, later on I owned a 900 2,1 16 valve and a 9000 16 valve full turbo.

I never got to terms with the Opel engineered Saabs, I just didn’t like them. Saab originally has always had that “out of the box thinking” which I never found back in their Opel SAAB’s

I started driving BMW’s and now I own an 2013 A6, however I still crave for that full Turbo I once had.

8 years ago

thank you petrol and Jordan … really can relate about the silhouette of the c900 .. my first venture into the saab world was a base (I mean BASE) 1990 c900 4dr at that moment in time I thought it was the ugliest car I had ever seen, the porters could not get the key out of the ignition so they asked me to have a look. well now i’m sitting behind the wheel, and like the rest of us any manual trans is worth a drive, I got back from my “test drive” bought the car on the spot and have driven them since. currently have 4 of them .. (1973-1984-2000-2005) .. really could not imagine driving anything else (I’ve owned a lot of pretty cool cars but the saab’s seem to do everything asked of them really well)

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange(@365daytonafan)
8 years ago

I guess the overcast conditions were not your ideal day for shooting but they somehow add to the Scandinavian cool of this car. Looks like it should be in an episode of The Killing (original Danish version)!
Is the SPG spec the US equivalent of the Aero in the UK?

Xander Cesari
Xander Cesari(@xander18)
8 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Lange

Yep, the SPG = Aero in the US. Though it doesn’t say SPG anywhere on the car, actually.

Ian Lomax
Ian Lomax(@autoarcheologist)
8 years ago

My first Saab was a 1991 Saab 9000 Aero, red over black leather. She had a ton of miles but was a highway star, easily scooting past slow traffic once the turbo spooled up. Still had a nice tight suspension after all those years.

Later we had a 9-3SE Turbo Convertible. Another great Saab with gobs of power, but we sold it because we never used the convertible. We’ll get another again.

[url=””]Ian Jewel or Jalopy[/url]

Leucea Alexandru
Leucea Alexandru(@leuceaalexandru)
8 years ago

I am looking forward to see SAAB rise again.

Kristaps Brass
Kristaps Brass(@m3lancholy)
8 years ago

As much as I love Saab, especially the 900, the title is a bit misleading. “Built to last”? And he talks about how the car was all rusted out and he had to rebuild the engine.

Xander Cesari
Xander Cesari(@xander18)
8 years ago
Reply to  Kristaps Brass

I pulled mine out of a field after sitting for 3 years and drove it home. If you’ve ever worked on or driven these cars they have the same level of build quality as older Mercedes. They feel like they’d take a bullet. After 25 years the door’s still close like a steel trap, my seats feel as firm as new, and of course the drivetrain just keeps on rolling. My ’83 Alfa Romeo had a much gentler life and feels like it’s falling apart at the seams.

And ‘built to last’ doesn’t mean indestructible. I live in the Northeast and there are plenty of rusted out Saabs around. But poorer quality cars from the same era that were used the same aren’t around because they just feel apart long ago.

Josh Clason
Josh Clason(@joshclason)
8 years ago
Reply to  Kristaps Brass

Here at Petrolicious we run across a lot of cars that weren’t taken care of by their previous owners and this particular Saab was one of those cars. The title isn’t trying to infer that all Saabs are built to last but that the owner, Jordan, has built this SPG to last. The bond a lot of owners feel with Saab is one that lasts a long time and a lot of owners seem to own them for a long time.

Xander Cesari
Xander Cesari(@xander18)
8 years ago

About a month ago I needed a new winter car and I had a hard time thinking of something that would be an acceptable follow up to my GTV6. I have a lot of Saab fan friends and though I respected their cars I hadn’t been bitten yet. One had an SPG that I had driven with great delight but for some reason owning one just hadn’t become a serious consideration yet.

Then I found this ’88 SPG for short money just a few miles away from my house. I decided to go “look at it”… but I knew I was driving it home. By the time I rolled back up my driveway I had fallen head over heels for it (details, for those who care about these things: 143k miles, shockingly rust free, great interior, Eduardian gray). Immediately gone was my blanket distaste for FWD, replaced with a giddy excitement for turbos and that rock solid, micro-tank, Swedish feel. Clearly, I appreciate cars that are just different and no one does different better than Saab. I was soon doggedly hunting down APC tuning tips and dreaming of Super Aero rims.

The fact that this video was shot at right around the same time is just fate!

Niklaus Gingro
Niklaus Gingro(@kingcrowing)
8 years ago

My first performance car was an ’89 Saab 900 Turbo, what a fun car it was!