Can’t Beat Free: Saab 900 Turbo


Few things are better than a free car. The only problem is, free usually means you have to remove the tree growing through the engine bay, or scramble across an overgrown field full of bees and snakes to get to said car. However, there’s a Swedish bucket that just got posted – for free – and it seems to suffer from none of the usual ailments of a cheap car. Find it here on craigslist for…free!


Now, it does have issues (of course it does) which the seller claims is primarily limited to a worn timing chain tensioner. This is a common issue on Saabs of this era and the repair is pretty straightforward – which is why it’s unusual to see this 900 Turbo listed for free. Plus, the body looks pretty straight and un-messed with and the seller claims it comes with records! So what’s the deal here – is this an uninformed seller or is he hiding a bigger flaw not mentioned here?

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  1. 68custom

    Wow what’s better than free? Oh wait it’s black and comes with a sunroof! I wish it was on the left coast of Florida! Nice car and thanks for the heads up!

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  2. Mr. TKD

    It has been sitting for two years. That’s not a deal-breaker, but this car has to have some kind of major bugaboo for the owner to be so generous. Is the title clean? Shoot, does it even have a title at all?

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  3. Earl

    I think if a car is not tabbed for 1 or 2 years in CA, it is a big deal $$$ to get it back on the road. I think…

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  4. Tony S

    Wife caught the owner cheating?

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  5. david

    Learned my lesson! Free is not cheap. I received a 1960 Wolseley 6/99 a few years ago. Turns out to be a good car with only a couple grand or so of difficult to find parts and new interior. Still needs paint. I was lucky. David

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  6. Steven C

    I really wish this was near me, it is in better looking shape then the one i bought a month ago. At the very least i could use a bunch of parts from it.

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  7. whippeteer

    NC car in CA. I would think the real reason is easy. Probably couldn’t pass emissions testing in California. Wants it gone asap.

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  8. Birdman

    You couldn’t pay me to take a Saab…. Parts are stupid to find( I know…I work for a major auto parts chain),I’ve heard horror story after horror story about them… At best, if it’s a running driving car, I MIGHT consider taking it, driving it until it died and then use it for target practice, or maybe donate it to feed the tires of a monster truck….

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  9. Steven C

    My 86 900 has 237,000 miles on it, runs like a champ, engine has never been apart beyond the valve cover. Sorry, no horror stories here.

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  10. Alan (Michigan)

    If it were close to me, I’d have already trailered it away. A couple of my oldest friends own a Saab repair shop. They’d have it running fine in no time.

    Free is a bargain I would not be able to pass up!

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  11. Eric_10cars Eric Dashman Member

    The turbo could be the real issue. My ex had an 85 special edition with the turbo which she had replaced sometime before I met her. When they’re right, those 900s were excellent cars…plenty of arcane engineering (ever tried replacing the ignition switch or the rack & pinion steering rack?) but well made with lot of features. I bought my son his first car and it was a 1989 900 that he drove the hell out of for years. It had power windows and locks, heated seats, sun roof, and other cool features with that enormous hatch in the back. Never did get those gas shocks on the hatch right…many a clunked head involved. He sold it for $900 to someone who was glad to get it.

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  12. cyclemikey

    My sister/BIL had two of these. Finally had them hauled off for scrap when they got tired of hunting/waiting/paying for parts and then having to go through it all again a week later.

    There’s not a lot of real support for these. Sometimes free is the most expensive way to acquire a car.

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  13. Fogline

    Three hours from me. Wonder if wife would notice another non-running Saab in the yard

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  14. Clinton

    If it was in NC this ad would be gone. I’d be ON DE WAY!

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  15. David J

    Wow! The ad is still up!

    Cool free cars should really be donated to a charity, vocational school, a friend or similar.

    CL callers are such a PITA, even when your items are free. “Has it been smoked in?” “Is that dog hair on the front seat?” “Hold it for me. I’ll be there at 2AM.”

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  16. charlie

    Front strut towers rot out, not an easy fix, otherwise a great car – put over 230,000 miles on one when rust killed it, engine never apart, original clutch still gripped well, but at its limit, was one of the best of the cars I have owned (over 30 in 60 years -bought a lot of used “beaters” when younger and poorer.)

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  17. NOZOOM4U

    Bought an 89 SPG off a family member for $100, sold it years and thousands of miles later for $300. Saw it a year after at a gas station. Fun car for that kind of money!!

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  18. ken

    maybe the owner is just a generous guy. dont exclude that……… its better to give than receive isnt it ?

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  19. Micheal young

    I would love to have another 900,I had 5,with my favorite being a 1986,2 door sedan,the dealership gave me $240 dollars to drive away, and I drove it wide open every were I went,I messed up and traded it on a Nissan Frontier, went back the same night to get it back,they had sent it to the Auction!

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  20. Jeff Nowling

    Thought Id update this listing. I picked this car up last month in Watsonville, Ca.
    The story is a bit more involved than what was showing on the craigslist ad. Essentially, the car in the photos was not the real car being offered for free. Upon my phone call to the elderly owner (3rd owner from new), he explained the car and I actually was able to see it by looking at google earth. Anyway, he had someone help him post a generic Saab 900 turbo and told me about the real car available which was a 1984 900 turbo in Walnut Brown with burgandy leather. With a soft spot for these cars, and wanting to give my daughter, who also has a soft spot for saab 900s, a graduation gift. I dove in and drove down from Sacramento with truck and trailer. Im just now getting into it, and it looks like it had multiple issues related to vacuum leaks, fuel distributor boot, but im not convinced yet of the timing chain issue based upon my initial tear down. We will soon see. I attached some pictures of the car and saving it from the scrap yard. It needed some convincing to leave as the front brakes were locked up. Special thanks to your reader Scott who shared the listing on the SAABnet website. Its at a great home and shares a spot next to another classic 900 convertible.

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    • Jamie Jamie Staff

      Thank you so much for the update! Hope you can keep us informed!

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    • David J

      Right on! I hope she works out for you. Thanks for your follow up.

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  21. Jeff Nowling

    forgot to add that the car came with all of the books and records for over 200k miles and full history. a very nice car purchased in Norcal and it never left the area.

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