1989 Saab 900 Turbo 5-Speed Convertible

I apologize if the reference is too obscure, as Lost in America was a well-received movie, but I don’t believe an overly-popular one – every time I see a Saab 900 I can’t help but picture Albert Brooks’ character, David Howard, behind the wheel. This 1989 Saab 900 convertible was sent in by a Barn Finds reader who found it here on eBay in Knoxville, Tennessee. After 11 bids the current high bid is $5,600 and the reserve appears to have been met.

The Saab 900 was introduced for the 1979 model year. It was originally offered as a 2 and 4-door sedan as well as 3 and 5-door hatchbacks. The convertible made its debut for the 1986 model year in an effort to increase sales. The convertible was so well received that it stayed in production throughout the “Classic” run through 1993 and was again offered on the “New” 900 (1994-1998).

This Saab is painted in a non-metallic dark red. The finish still looks great, the body appears to be in excellent condition, and the black convertible top still looks nice after being replaced 5-years ago. There’s some fading on the bumpers, but that’s really the only knock on the exterior – I don’t even spot any curb rash on the wheels. The seller says it is garage-kept under a dust cover and has been babied by both of its owners. It shows.

The tan leather interior has been well cared for and only shows minor surface wear and cracking. The black dash, console, and accents are easy on the eyes and make this interior feel a bit more modern. The front bucket seats are divided by a full-length console. Two minor knocks on the interior and they make me feel like I’m picking nits – the shifter boot is worn and can someone explain what’s going on with that glovebox door?

Since there’s no photo of the engine I’ll share a picture of the hood so you can use your imagination. Under that hood is a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder engine. Power is sent to the front wheels by a console shifted manual 5-speed transmission. The seller says it runs great and is a blast to drive.

So, if you’re like David Howard in Lost in America, maybe the Saab is a good steppingstone to that Mercedes-Benz you dream of. Even if not a steppingstone, it looks like this would make a fun, out-of-the-ordinary driver for years to come.

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  1. Bryan

    Beautiful car. The glovebox door puckering is very common, mine when it was 3-4 years old.

    Like 1
  2. Superdessucke

    John Cusak’s girlfriend Laura also drove one of these in the 2000 film Hgh Fidelity.

    Like 4
  3. alphasud Member

    Nice example for this car and well cared for. Leather and dash caps really suffered in these and this one is cherry. Glove box door like stated was common. I used to replace these under warranty. 89 is a good year has the manual with the larger pinion bearings so these are more robust than early ones. Just make sure you select another gear before engaging reverse. The fastest way to destroy a gearbox in these.

    Like 4
  4. Jim Motavalli Staff

    The movie that really made this car famous is Sideways. Paul Giamatti drives one identical to this. Every glove box door I’ve ever seen has those dimples–except my wood-paneled example. The ’89 also benefits from NOT having ABS or airbags, both problem areas in these cars.

    Like 3
  5. BTG88

    The Classic 900 convertible continued until 1994. The last year for the hard tops was 1993.

    Like 3
  6. dab

    Good friend of mine had the same car. I was shocked how well it stood the test of time.

    Like 1
  7. charlie Member

    Wonderful car. Comfortable, fast, and, you might have to wait a week for a part or two, but you won’t have to wait often. And this looks like a great example. Rust in the strut towers killed a lot of them, so check that out!.

    Like 1
  8. KLH

    Worked on Saab, for my customers+ other shops..Loved to do clutches on these guys.. Used a drive belt,while the pressure plate was compressed, to remove and install all.. That was my specialty tool….

  9. fogline

    89 is definitely a good year in these and as far as the paint goes – I think there was something with the earlier versus later versions where there isn’t an issue with clear coat pealing. A mechanic I used had a 9000 that was in the process of polishing it back up and said the red was the one they kept from a 2 stage paint process that jacked up later hoods when they got hot from the turbo engine (?). Looks like a good example and they are very comfortable cars cruising down the freeway or even on twisty roads. Not the fastest but still fun.

  10. MikrH

    Great cars and this is the last year before GM began to ruin them.

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