A few years ago, I attended an impromptu Cars & Coffee event where a well-preserved Saab 99 EMS showed up. The owner was quite passionate, and clearly understood the value of keeping his rare Swede as OEM as possible. Aside from the hood stripe, this example here on eBay follows a similar formula, but with those big Hella 500 fog lights on the front bumper, it’s tempting to keep this car slightly tatty and use it where it belongs: grassroots rally events!
Although I always defer to preservation over modifying, these old Saabs had an impressive track record on the rally circuit. This is one of my favorite racing videos ever, taken at a vintage hillclimb event where the Swedish driver had to drive flat-out due to the 99 he was piloting running too rich to stay running. Running issues aside, there’s a reason why 99s like this one came with a tasty three-spoke steering wheel, extra gauges and sport seats – they were clearly designed to appeal to the hotshoe in the family.
Consider the EMS the best thing that happened to the 99 before the Turbo years began. Two liters and eight valves gives off just under 110 b.h.p., and the cleanliness of the engine bay gives you some confidence that this EMS has been lovingly maintained. The lack of oil stains and other signs of wear and tear don’t seem to exist under this hood, but more details on the 99’s maintenance file would be a welcome addition to the eBay listing. The seller notes it wears an uprated suspension and recently received new brakes and tires.
Not surprisingly, this 99 is in Washington State, which seems to be wear weird cars go to retire (or never left to begin with). I dig the big rally lights on the front bumper, but based on this Saab’s condition, I suspect they are just there for extra lighting and not for eating up a nighttime special stage. Bidding is already quite active but the reserve remains unmet. Having options with a hobby car is always nice, and this 99 could be compelling both as a preserved specimen or an entrant into vintage rally events. Which would you choose?