Vintage R&T Review: 1974 Saab 99 Wagonback – The First Hatchback Saab

It’s almost hard to imagine a time before there was a Saab hatchback, as that body style became so deeply enmeshed with that brand for so long. But prior to 1974, the Saab 99 was just a trunked sedan. And the new hatchback was a big deal, as in a big cargo area. They were right to call it a “wagonback”, as the Saab’s deep floor and tall body made a cavernous space.

My sister had one just like this, in Anchorage, Alaska, and she used to rave about it, especially coming from an air-cooled VW Beetle. It was her first nice new car, and it suited her, her big dog, and her environs perfectly. just how reliable it was may well be another story.


The test car suffered numerous quality issues, from loose trim to ugly sounds from the front suspension. But other than that, R&T was quite impressed.