Staxman has posted pictures of this terrific find in Seattle: A 1968 Saab 96 V4 wearing donor body parts from some of its deceased brethren. We haven’t seen one of these on our pages for some time. In fact, my CC of a very similar ’68 96 V4, also wearing a donated non-matching fender, goes back to 2011 and for some reason, has never been rerun. So I’m going to be spare with my words at this late hour, having just gotten in from a four day trip, and let you peruse the pictures, make your comments, and click on that CC for more details.
Its wearing some nice driving lights regalia, which suits it so well, given the 92/93/96’s illustrious career as a rally racer, and often winner. And of course very closely behind that grille sits the little 60° V4 that Saab bought from Ford of Germany. It had 1498 cc and 73 hp, enough to make the lightweight 96 quite lively for the times. And its four speed transmission was shifted from the column, which worked deceptively well.
A pea green door on the driver’s side, and a red one on the passenger side, to go along with the white front fenders. A do like those Saab hub caps. Somehow the expression “dog dish” doesn’t quite come to mind when I see them on European cars.
As I wrote about in my CC, a very good friend had one just like this—all in white—that I used to ride in a lot and drove a couple of times. It made a nice counterpoint to my ’68 Peugeot 404 sedan at the time; quite different on so many accounts; about the only thing they had in common was that column-mounted shifter.
The Saab was raspier, rode stiffer, but also was sportier in an overt way. Its steering was also a bit heavier, not surprising, given the weight on the front. But not unpleasant. And one could feel the workings of the front wheels; not sure if the term “torque steer” applies, but there was the sensation of power running through them. Nowadays, one can’t hardly tell. It’s remarkably difficult to tell that our TSX wagon actually has FWD.
FWD has come a long way, and then the Saab might well have been the first FWD car I drove. I liked it, and could very easily have seen myself owning one.
It’s heart-warming to see one still out and about. There used to be several in Eugene, but it’s down to one very immaculately restores/kept one, and it doesn’t come out to play much anymore.
The first car I bought with my own $ was a ’67 96 stroke, bought August ’71 from Schwing Motors in Baltimore. Flat out on the Beltway was about 60 mph, scary! The v4 would have been better. Couple years later bought a new 99 and have had a SAAB of some kind ever since, still have an ’87 900!
My dad loved SAABs and many of his friends had them, along with Volvos, DAFs, VWs, Porsches and our neighborhood was filled with imported cars like these. Consequently, most of us kids in the neighborhood knew all about the uniqueness of these cars, along with the Ramblers, Pontiacs, Buicks, Chevrolets and Fords. Guys worked on their own cars each weekend and had to do that to keep them running. So, having an imported car in Chicago wasn’t all that difficult. The MGs, Renaults and Triumphs weren’t prized, but certainly the other brands were. My father hung around the Flikkema Saab dealer when it was a tiny shop in downtown Lansing. He bought two cars from them, but never took the splurge on a SAAB. Later, when SAAB became a major import during the 1980s, Flikkema opened an enormous dealership at Torrence and the Tri-State.
I really like these cars as a result. My brother has had one and they hold a cherished spot in our hearts.
I remember these cars new .
Pops bought a SAAB wagon in…1966 (?) and it was troublesome but a good driver when operational .
My family had a 67 95 (wagon) 2-stroke. I spent many hours and many miles in the back seat and the “way back” as my family drove between the Philly area and the Providence area and then on to Maine for vacations.
“Sonja” was the right car for my family …. except when it was humid and rainy, at which point she wouldn’t run. I have a pretty vivid memory of my dad opening the hood in the dark and seeing several blue arcs around the engine compartment.
Yes, the wagon had a third, rear-facing seat, for a seating capacity of 7. Was this the smallest 3-seat wagon ever?
I’ve seen one or two 96s where the rubber molding ahead of the rear fender was body color. That tells me the body shop couldn’t be bothered to remove the molding before spraying.
I’m sure Daniel Stern can tell us what kind of driving lights those are.
My father’s 2 stroke Saab had the same wet weather problem. Something about the distributor that wasn’t easily fixed
Yes ~ the wet weather stalling out problem wasn’t able to be fixed by the Boston SAAB Dealer, Gaston Andre’ IIRC , their mechanic was driving it way to fast and totalled it out , pops took me to see it as the design was to absorb impact by crumpling and ejecting the engine _underneath_ the car, it worked very well, the mechanic walked away from a really bad frontal crash, the car was totally destroyed .
Sobering to look at as a child who was car crazy but didn’t yet have a driver’s license .
Flikkema – watched this business grow over the past 50 years.
At least the entire “rear fender” is the same color, rather than the actual rear fender(s) being from a donor car, which helps to blend in the orphaned shutline that I can never unsee on these Saabs. Studebaker and Austin also did this in the early ’50s to use a common rear fender between 2- and 4-door models but Saab never made a 4-door 92/3/5/6. Still, there’s the rear fender line exactly where the rear door shutline would be.
I owned 3 V4’s: a ’68 95 (my first car), a ’69 96, and a ’68 96. Regarding the heavy steering, IIRC the steering was 2.25 turns lock to lock. Presumably the steering ratio was inherited from the 2-stroke cars. Starting with MY 1969 the steering was 2.75 turns lock to lock. I’m sure Pit Stop Bruce will know whether I have my facts right. 🙂
As it happens, when I was researching my first car purchase, the Peugeot 404 was also on the shortlist.
Too bad they weren’t able to get the red & green doors on the opposite sides…. (aka port & starboard)
In the late ’60s there was a SAAB dealer in McHenry IL that took two 96’s and cut them in half and welded them together to create a prehistoric 4WD rally car. Yes, engine in the trunk as well as the front. I never saw it run but I did look it over while it was parked behind the shop.
Probably inspired by the Hurst Hairy Oldsmobile drag car created from two Toronado drivetrain packages.
I believe that was Europa Motors. My Dad bought a SAAB 99 there, and I later bought a ’68 Sonett from there as well. As much as you enjoyed the 96, when you put the same brakes and drive train in the lighter bodied Sonett, you’d have loved the Sonett.
Years ago I recall finding a Saab 93(?) with the 3 cylinder out in the woods. The engine was actually in front of the front axle. I also recall hearing them in the 60s, the 2-stroke 3 cylinder engine certainly had a distinctive sound.
I’ve heard the V4s weren’t balanced that well and at idle the vibration was prevalent. Probably worse than the 1966 Buick Special with the 231 unbalanced V6 I test drove back in the 70s.
I had a 1979 Saab 99 GL, 4 speed manual. No overdrive, wish it had one. No tachometer, but I’d guess approaching 3,000 or so rpm at highway speeds. which was 55 mph at the time.