1968 Saab 96
1973 Saab 95 Wagon
Ack! Darn it, Brendan! I love these, and I don’t want to get into a situation where I want to buy one! 🙂
Wait a minute…how many times a day do I say that? Carry on. 🙂
Quite possibly my favorite car of all time. The Saab 96 is just about the most fun you can have on four wheels. Not the fastest fun, but the most all around rorty fun.
Definitely not fast. I was stuck behind it for a few miles, while if puttered along in front of me. Not that I minded though 🙂 I had to laugh at how out of place the dash-mounted GPS unit looked too!
Must have been a Ford powered one, or you’d have minded being stuck behind it. The ones with reverse-engineered DKW engines smoked and stank. This is the only shiny one I’ve ever seen, and I’m old enough to remember when they were all over the college town I grew up in.
It could have been a DKW. I don’t remember smoke, but it sure stank worse than other pre-catalytic converter cars I’ve driven behind. I had to put all my windows up.
If that had been a two-stroke, the smoke would be visible in the shot. And you absolutely would have noticed when it took off.
The Saab two-stroke wasn’t a DKW engine; it was just designed along the same lines; meaning they were looking closely at it.
This appears to be a pretty-late model 96, Ford powered. The two-stroke was replaced by the Ford in the US in 1967, with some final two-strokes sold in 1968. This car looks to be from around 1970-1971 or so.
Were the 96 and Sonnett the only vehicles ever to use the Ford V4 engine in the American market? I can’t think of any others, as it wasn’t used in any Ford models over here.
I have very fond memories of the ’67 96 wagon my dad had way back when. Had the so-called Monte Carlo engine in it and as I recall the little thing scooted right nicely.
Nice catch indeed and I think my family has owned more Saabs than any other car since moving to this country. My grandparents have always owned Saabs since the 1960s except for a 2000 Volvo V40T. I only have memories of the lost 900 Saabs.
I can’t remember the last time I saw a Saab 96, outside of the Venture Brothers cartoon. Good catch!
Gotta love the real SAABs. It is so evident they were penned by engineers, not designers.
These were interesting cars to say the least ~ .
Pops bought two of them , a brandy new ’66 Wagon in red , the Dealer Mechanic wrecked it trying to discover why it would suddenly die occasionally .
Some years later he bought another exactly like it but didn’t keep it long .
Two Cycle engines do smoke and stink yes however , to – day there are very good synthetic oils one can choose that eliminate the smoke and sharply reduce the stink *if* you mix it properly or the oil injection pump (IIRC SAABS didn’t have an oil injection pump) is correctly set up and adjusted , few ever bother .
The free wheeling feature (Pops was scared of it and kept it locked out) allowed clutchless up shifts as the cost of engine braking .
Early Saab two-strokes didn’t have oil injection, later ones did. I think they introduced oil injection in the mid-60s.
I grew riding in these – my mom and dad had -matching- 96’s, white with red interiors. You had to put the oil into the gas tank when you filled up the car. There was even a holder for a can of SAAB 2-stroke oil in the engine compartment although we sometimes used whatever oil the gas station sold. One of my fondest memories is of my mom buying gasoline one Sunday morning on our way to Church; she was dressed elegantly in Jackie Kennedy fashion, down to the white gloves. Gas Stations were ALL full service in those days, and for 26 cents a gallon, it darn well better be!
“Young man, fill the gas, and put a quart of oil in the tank too”
“Uhm, Lady, you don’t put oil in the gas tank – it goes in the engine separate. It’ll wreck your engine.”
“Young man, are you going to do what I told you or do I have to get out of this car and do it myself?”
He did it -very unhappily: I watched him through the rear window, shaking his head sadly, as we drove away with the exhaust smoking like Hell.
I always thought the freewheeling feature would be a good addition to increase MPG on any vehicle, not just to save a two-stroke from lack of lubricant. What would be the downside..no engine braking? Wouldn’t it save wear& tear on the drivetrain?
Freewheeling was a big thing in the 1920’s , then it was noticed that lack of engine braking was causing many accidents & deaths in hill country .
The Saab’s we’re talking about here , all had single circuit brakes so maybe that’s a valid safety concern ~ once you’re going downhill in ‘ Georgia overdrive ‘ and realize you’re going too fast to slow down , you can’t re engage the engine for braking .
Agreed , in a two smoker it’d prolly reduce engine wear appreciably , these engines were not noted for longevity .
There’s a local Saab Sonnet Club that often takes weekend jaunts up the Angeles Crest Highway to a nice remote watering hole called ‘ Newcomb’s Ranch for breakfast early in the morning before the Motos begin clogging up the road .
Five of them I think , each in a different bright primary color , always parked in a group
Loki ~ that’s for reminding me ~ I remember Pops bouncing the car by the rear bumper after adding the oil….gotta mix it or it’ll settle to the bottom of the tank
I had a 1967 Yamaha YL2-C Moto , it had the ‘ Yamalube’ oil injection , that worked fine for me , in the 1960’s no one trusted the Japanese to make a good oil injection system and so would add oil to the gas tank and leave the injection tank run dry… too much oil in a two smoker means oily nasty stinky exhaust smoke , poor overall performance and often fouled spark plugs plus that annoying oil drip out the exhaust pipe .
When I lived in Guatemala City , C.A. , there were few four stroke Motos owned by the working class , _NO_ONE_ went anywhere without a spark plug wrench and a couple of old , ready to go used spark plugs as the engine would often come to a halt when the plugs fouled .
Trying to get them to use the injection tank or decent quality two stroke oil , was a waste of time although I never stopped trying .
Wonder if that’s the same one I’ve seen around here several times?
Rare car around here theres only one on the road locally recently carrying a sign for a mayoral campaign, The mechanic who does my WOF checks has a 900 ragtop that has electrical issues making it a static feature of his workshop,
My grandfather was killed in one of these death traps. Who would imagine that they crumple up into a little ball when crashed. He fell asleep at the wheel in the desert and veered off the road and almost flew across a 70 ft wide dry wash falling shorr and hitting the other side..
It must have been quite an impact. The 96 was generally acknowledged as the subcompact with the best passive safety. In 1972 my ’68 95 was T-boned from the right by a Plymouth Duster at maybe 30 mph and landed on the roof. The right door was somewhat pushed in, but the cabin was basically intact. My passenger and I, who had been belted in, climbed out without a scratch on us.
I’m sorry about your grandfather’s experience.
Noting was safe then. Ever see the modern Malibu vs. big ole honkin’ ’59 Chevy crash test?
Yes and no ~
Saabs were well known for their designed in safety , a rare thing indeed then (1960’s) .
Pops made a point of taking me to the Dealer who’s Mechanic had wrecked his new Saab to look at it , it had hit (IIRC) a wall or something large & stationary at speed , the car was demolished , he (a Doctor) pointed out how it has absorbed the impact and ejected the engine _underneath_ the vehicle instead of collapsing the passenger compartment .
Massachusetts license! I’ll guarantee this car didn’t spend its life there, or else it was kept in a museum until the day when the picture was taken.
In 1978 I had a ’70 Saab that had spent most of its life in Maine. It was only 8 years old, but it was about 60% swiss cheese and 40% steel. Terrible car except for the freewheeling.
Just saw a later model 96 last month. Not common around here (as if they ever were 😀 ) as the rust mite ate them up rather rapidly. It was a noisy ratty looking flat black beater but the damn thing was still going good 🙂 .
~30 years ago i had occasion to hitch a 96 about 15 feet forward from one parking space to another. It had spent much of its life in Wisconsin, and the way the structure flexed was spooky. Especially compared to my own 96’s, which were California cars.
I just saw this car at a gas station today.
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