Wow; this 99 that Roshake found in Budapest looks almost as fresh as the day it rolled off the lines in Trollhattan. It’s nice to see someone preserving a regular 99, and not just a Turbo. This one looks just like the very first ones that were first built in 1968; a genuine Ür-99.
Roger Carr gave us the full story on the 99 here, so I won’t go into detail. It was of course the first all-new Saab after the 92-93-95-96; a major undertaking for such a relatively small company at the time. In order to reduce costs on developing a new engine, Saab used the new Triumph 1.7 L SOHC four as also used in the Triumph Dolomite and later in the TR7. In 1971, displacement was increased to 1854 cc. Due to durability issues with the Triumph engine, Saab eventually took up building its own version starting in 1972.
The power train arrangement was rather different, with the longitudinal engine mounted “backwards”, with the clutch in front, which ten fed the transaxle mounted under engine via a chain. It made for the easiest clutch jobs ever, but generally speaking, all the early 99s weren’t exactly paragons of durability and reliability.
All the more reason to appreciate this Saab survivor.